Page:A Study of Mexico.djvu/48

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CHAPTER II.


Popular fallacies concerning Mexico—Its geographical position and physical characteristics—Elevation of the "Mexican Central Railroad"—The valley of the city of Mexico—The "City of Mexico and Vera Cruz Railroad"—The "Tierras Calientes"—No navigable rivers in Mexico—Population—Character of the Aztec civilization—A development of the "Stone Age"—The romance of Prescott's History—The predecessors of the Aztecs—Counterparts of the mounds of the United States in Mexico—Possible explanation of their origin.


The popular opinion concerning Mexico is that it is a country of marvelous and unbounded natural resources. Every geography invites attention to the admirable location of its territory, between and in close proximity to the two great oceans; to the great variety, abundance, and richness of its tropical products—sugar, coffee, tobacco, dye and ornamental woods, vanilla, indigo, cacao, cochineal, fruits, fibers, and the like; and to the number of its mines, which for more than two centuries have furnished the world with its chief supply of silver, and are still productive. The result is, that with a majority of well-informed people, and more especially with those who have read about Mexico