Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/58

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Strictly speaking, the Lake of Chapala, in the State of Jalisco, is the largest in the country. Lake Patzcuaro and Lake Cuitzeo are next in importance among the inland bodies of fresh water.

Islands.—Mexico owns many islands on the west coast, the principal of which are San Ignacio, Angel de la Guarda, Salsipuedes, Tibaron, Carmen, and Cerralvo, in the Gulf of California; Cerros, Santa Margarita, and Las Tres Marias, in the Pacific Ocean. There are also several islands belonging to the Republic in the Gulf of Mexico, and off the coast of Yucatan, of which the most important are Carmen, in the former, and Mugeres, Cancun, and Cozumel, adjoining the latter.

Guano islands abound in the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico, some of them being claimed by citizens of the United States.

Climate.—No country on the globe has a greater variety of climate than Mexico. The mean temperature of the three zones is as follows: for the tierra caliente, 77°; for the tierra templada, from 68° to 70°; and in the tierra fria, 62° Fahr. Extremes of temperature are comparatively rare in the latter, and unknown in the tierra templada, but they are frequent in the former zone. In Vera Cruz, the mercury often stands at 90° in the warm season, but, if the wind suddenly changes to the northward, it will sink to 65° Fahr. in a few hours.

The rainy season varies slightly in different parts of Mexico, but always occurs in summer. In Yucatan, Campeche. Tabasco, and Chiapas, it lasts from May to October, while the season begins a little later in the States of Oaxaca and Guerrero. In the latitude of the national capital, the rains fall between June 1st and October 1st, with occasional showers during the winter, especially in February, when the weather is very changeable. The Mexicans have a proverb which runs thus: