Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/24

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14
A STUDY OF MEXICO.

United States or of Europe could at once, and without reference to an encyclopædia, locate and name the twenty-nine States or political divisions into which the Republic of Mexico is divided, or so many of its towns and cities as have a population in excess of fifteen or twenty thousand.

The explanation of this is, that prior to the construction and opening of the Mexican "Central" and Mexican "National" Railroads, or virtually prior to the year 1883, the exploration of Mexico—owing to the almost total absence of roads and of comfortable hospicia for man and beast, the utter insecurity for life and property, the intervention of vast sterile and waterless tracts, and the inhospitality and almost savagery of no small proportion of its people—was so difficult and dangerous that exploration has rarely been attempted; and those who have attempted it have greatly imperiled their lives, to say nothing of their health and property.

Mexico, furthermore, is not fully known even to the Mexicans themselves. Thus, a large part of the country on the Pacific coast has scarcely been penetrated outside of the roads or "trails" which lead from the seaports to the interior. There are hundreds of square miles in Southern Mexico, especially in the States of Michoacan and Guerrero, and also in Sonora, that have never been explored, and are merely marked on the maps as "terreno