Page:EB1911 - Volume 06.djvu/155

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

book-shop, and two years later organized the publishing house of Childs & Peterson. In 1864, with Anthony J. Drexel, he purchased the Public Ledger, at that time a little known newspaper; he completely changed its policy and methods, and made it one of the most influential journals in the country. He died at Philadelphia on the 3rd of February 1894. Childs was widely known for his public spirit and philanthropy. In addition to numerous private benefactions in educational and charitable fields, he erected memorial windows to William Cowper and George Herbert in Westminster Abbey (1877), and to Milton in St Margaret’s, Westminster (1888), a monument to Leigh Hunt at Kensal Green, a Shakespeare memorial fountain at Stratford-on-Avon (1887), and monuments to Edgar Allan Poe and to Richard A. Proctor. He gave Woodland Cemetery to the Typographical Society of Philadelphia for a printers’ burial-ground, and with Anthony J. Drexel founded in 1892 a home for Union printers at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

His Recollections were published at Philadelphia in 1890.

CHILE, or Chili (derived, it is said, from the Quichua chiri, cold, or tchili, snow), a republic of South America, occupying the narrow western slope of the continent between Peru and its southern extremity. (For map see Argentina.) It extends from the northern boundary of the province of Tacna, about 17° 25′ S., to Cape Horn at the extreme southern point of the Fuegian archipelago in 55° 58′ 40″ S., with an extreme meridian length of 2661 m., and with a coast line considerably exceeding that figure owing to a westward curve of about 3½° and an eastward trend south of 50° S. of nearly 8°. Its mainland width ranges from about 46 to 228 m., and its area, including the islands of the southern coast, is officially computed to be 307,774 sq. m., though the Gotha computation (1904) places it at 293,062 sq. m. Chile is thus a ribbon-like strip of territory between the Andes and the Pacific, comparatively regular north of the 42nd parallel, but with an extremely ragged outline south of that line. It is bounded N. by Peru, E. by Bolivia and Argentina, S. and W. by the Pacific. Its eastern boundary lines are described under Argentina and Bolivia. The war of 1879–81 with Peru and Bolivia gave to Chile 73,993 sq. m. of territory, or one-fourth her total area. By subsequent agreements the Bolivian department of the Literal, or Atacama, and the Peruvian department of Tarapacá, were formally ceded to Chile, and the northern frontier was removed to the river Camarones, which enters the Pacific at 19° 12′ S. Under the treaty of Ancon (20th October 1883) Chile was to retain possession of the provinces of Tacna and Arica belonging to the Peruvian department of Moquegua for a period of ten years, and then submit “to popular vote whether those territories are to belong to Chile or Peru.” At the expiration of the period (1893) Chile evaded compliance with the agreement, and under various pretexts retained forcible possession of the territory. This arbitrary retention of Tacna and Arica, which became the province of Tacna under Chilean administration, removed the frontier still farther north, to the river Sama, which separates that province from the remaining part of the Peruvian department of Moquegua. Starting from the mouth of that river, in 17° 57′ S., the disputed boundary follows its course in an irregular N.E. direction to its source in the Alto do Toledo range, thence S. and E. along the water parting to the Bolivian boundary line in the Cordillera Silillica.

Physiography.—For purposes of general topographical description Chile may be divided into three regions: the desert region of the north, the central agricultural region between the provinces of Coquimbo and Llanquihue, and the heavily-forested rainy region south of lat. 41° S. The desert region is an elevated arid plateau descending gradually from the Andes towards the coast, where it breaks down abruptly from elevations of 800 to 1500 ft. From the sea this plateau escarpment has the appearance of a range of flat topped hills closely following the coast line. The surface is made up of extensive plains covered with sand and deposits of alkaline salts, broken by ranges of barren hills having the appearance of spurs from the Andes, and by irregular lateral ranges in the vicinity of the main cordillera enclosing elevated saline plateaus. This region is rainless, barren and inhospitable, absolutely destitute of vegetation except in some small river valleys where irrigation is possible, and on the slopes of some of the snow-covered peaks where the water from the melting snows nourishes a scanty and coarse vegetation before it disappears in the thirsty sands. It is very rich in mineral and saline deposits, however. The eastern parts of this region lie within the higher ranges of the Andes and include a large district awarded to Chile in 1899 (see Argentina and Atacama). This arid, bleak area is apparently a continuation southward of the great Bolivian altaplanicie, and is known as the Puna de Atacama. Its average elevation is estimated at 11,000 to 12,000 ft. A line of volcanoes crosses it from north to south, and extensive lava beds cover a considerable part of its surface. Large shallow saline lakes are also characteristic features of this region. From 28° S. the spurs from the cordillera toward the coast are more sharply defined and enclose deeper valleys, where the cultivation of the soil becomes possible, at first through irrigation and then with the aid of light periodical rains. The slopes of the Andes are precipitous, the general surface is rough, and in the north the higher ground and coast are still barren. Beginning with the province of Aconcagua the coast elevations crystallize into a range of mountains, the Cordillera Maritima, which follows the shore line south to the province of Llanquihue, and is continued still farther south by the mountain range of Chiloé and the islands of the western coast, which are the peaks of a submerged mountain chain. Lying between this coast range and the Andes is a broad valley, or plain, extending from the Aconcagua river south to the Gulf of Ancud, a distance slightly over 620 m. with an average width of about 60 m. It is sometimes called the “Vale of Chile,” and is the richest and most thickly-populated part of the republic. It is a highly fertile region, is well watered by numerous streams from the Andes, has a moderate rainfall, and forms an agricultural and grazing region of great productiveness. It slopes toward the south, and its lower levels are filled with lakes and with depressions where lakes formerly existed. It is an alluvial plain for the greater part, but contains some sandy tracts, as in Ñuble and Arauco; in the north very little natural forest is found except in the valleys and on the slopes of the enclosing mountain ranges, but in the south, where the rainfall is heavier, the plain is well covered with forest. South of 41° S. the country is mountainous, heavily-forested and inhospitable. There are only a few scattered settlements within its borders, and a few nomadic tribes of savages eke out a miserable existence on the coast. The deeply-indented coast line is filled with islands which preserve the general outline of the continent southward to the Fuegian archipelago, the outside groups forming a continuation of the Cordillera Maritima. The heavy and continuous rainfall throughout this region, especially in the latitude of Chiloé, gives rise to a large number of rivers and lakes. Farther south this excessive precipitation is in the form of snow in the Cordilleras, forming glaciers at a comparatively low level which in places discharge into the inlets and bays of the sea. The extreme southern part of this region extends eastward to the Atlantic entrance to the Straits of Magellan, and includes the greater part of the large island of Tierra del Fuego with all the islands lying south and west of it. There are some comparatively level stretches of country immediately north of the Straits, partly forested and partly grassy plains, where sheep farming has been established with some degree of success, but the greater part of this extreme southern territory is mountainous, cold, wet and inhospitable. The perpetual snow-line here descends to 3500 to 4000 ft. above sea-level, and the forest growth does not rise above an altitude of 1000 to 1500 ft.

It has been officially estimated that the arable lands of Chile comprise about twenty-five millions of acres (slightly over 39,000 sq. m.), or very nearly one-eighth of its total area. The desert regions ofMountains. the north include comparatively large areas of plains and gently sloping surfaces, traversed by ranges of barren hills. The remainder of the republic, probably more than three-fifths of its surface, is extremely mountainous. The western slopes of the Andes, with its spurs and lateral ranges, cover a broad zone on the eastern side of the republic, and the Cordillera Maritima covers another broad zone on its western side from about lat. 33° to the southern extremity of Chiloé, or below lat. 43°. This maritime range is traversed by several river valleys, some of which, like the Bio-Bio, are broad and have so gentle a slope as to be navigable. The Andes, however, present an unbroken barrier on the east, except at a few points in the south where the general elevation is not over 5000 to 6000 ft., and where some of the Chilean rivers, as the Palena and Las Heras, have their sources on its eastern side. From the 52nd to about the 31st parallel this great mountain system, known locally as the Cordillera de los Andes, apparently consists of a single chain, though in reality it includes short lateral ranges at several points; continuing northward several parallel ranges appear on the Argentine side and one on the Chilean side which are ultimately merged in the great Bolivian plateau. The Chilean lateral range, which extends from the 29th to the 19th parallels, traverses an elevated desert region and possesses several noteworthy peaks, among which are Cerro Bolson, 16,017 ft., and Cerro Dona Ines, 16,706 ft. It is broken to some extent in crossing the province of Antofagasta, the southern division being known as the Sierra de Huatacondo. At the southern frontier of Bolivia the main chain, which has served as the boundary line between Argentina and Chile, divides into two great ranges, the principal one continuing almost due north along the eastern side of the great Bolivian alta-planicie, and the other forming its western rim, where