Page:EB1911 - Volume 24.djvu/212

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

San Vicente is situated in a volcanic region abounding in hot springs and geysers. The volcano of San Vicente, the highest in the department, reaches an altitude of more than 7000 ft. The city is surrounded by indigo and tobacco plantations, and has considerable commerce, a large portion of which is transacted at the All Saints' fair, held annually on the 1st of November. Shoes, hats, cloth, silk, spirits and cigars are manufactured here. San Vicente was founded in 1634 on the site of Tehuacan, an ancient Indian city. For one year (1839-1840) it was the capital of the republic.

SÃO FRANCISCO, a river of eastern Brazil rising in the S.W. part of the state of Minas Geraes, about 20° 30′ S., 46° 40′ W., near the narrow valley of the Rio Grande, a tributary of the Parana, and within 240 m. of the coast W. of Rio de Janeiro. It Hows in a general N.N.E. direction across the great central plateau of Brazil to about lat. 9° 30′ S., long. 42° W., where it turns N.E. and then S.E. in a great bend, entering the Atlantic in lat. 10° 29′ S. It has a total length of about 1800 m. and a fall of 2700-2800 ft. It is navigable from the Atlantic to Piranhas (148 m.) and is nearly 1 m. wide at Penedo, 22 m. from the sea. Above Piranhas, about 193 m. from its mouth, are the falls of Paulo Aiionso where the river plunges through a narrow gorge—in one place only 51 ft. wide—and over three successive falls, all together 265 ft. The obstructed part of the river is about 190 m. long and consists of a series of rapids above the falls and a deep canon with whirlpools for some distance below. The Brazilian government has built a railway around these falls from Piranhas (151 ft. elevation) to Jatobá (978 ft.) with an extension of 71 m. Above Jatobá there is another series of rapids called the Sobradinho nearly 90 m. above the lower rapids, which are navigable at high water, and above these an unobstructed channel for light-draught river boats up to Pirapora a little above the mouth of the Rio das Velhas, a distance of 984 m. Here the river runs through a barren, semi-arid region, sparsely settled. There are no tributaries of consequence along a large part of this region, and the few people living beside the river are dependent on its annual floods for the fertilization of its sandy shores on which their scanty plantations of Indian corn and beans are made. The rapids of Pirapora are 17 m. above the mouth of the Rio das -Velhas, and this point, the head of navigation on the river, and 1742 ft. above sea-level, is the objective point of the Central do Brazil railway, the purpose being to create by rail and river a central route from Rio de laneiro to the northern ports of Bahia and Recife. The principal tributaries of the Sao Francisco are: on the right, the Para, Paraopeba, Velhas, and Verde-Grande; on the left, the Indaya, Abaeté, Paracatu, Urucuya, Carinhanha, Corrente and Grande. Several of these tributaries are navigable for long distances by small boats-the aggregate being a little over 1000 m. Some authorities give the aggregate navigable channels of the Sao Francisco as 43 50 m. The upper valley of the Sao Francisco is partly forested, has a temperate climate, with a mean annual temperature of 85° and a rainfall of 1637 millimetres. The rainy season is from December to March, but on the lower river the rainfall is light and the season much shorter, sometimes varied by, droughts covering several years.

An admirable description of this great river is given by Richard Burton in The Highlands of Brazil (2 vols., London), and a more technical description by E. Liais in H ydrographie du Haut San-Francisco et du Rio das Velhas (Rio de Janeiro, 1865).

SÃO LEOPOLDO, a city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on the left bank of the Rio dos Sinos, 20% m. by rail N. of Porto Alegre. It is the chief town of a municipio (commune) of the same name, having an area of about 347 sq. m. and inhabited chiefly by German colonists. Pop. (1900) of the city, II, OI5; of the municipio, 32,600. Sao Leopoldo has river and railway communication with Porto Alegre. It is a prosperous industrial town, with broad straight streets and substantial buildings. It has good schools, and its Jesuits' college ranks high throughout northern Rio Grande. Among its manufactures are matches, hats, boots and shoes, soap, liqueurs and artificial drinks, leather and leather-work and earthenware. In the surrounding districts cattle and hogs are raised, and jerked beef, hides, pork, lard, potatoes, beans, farinha de mandioca (cassava flour), Indian corn, tobacco and a great variety of vegetables and fruits are produced. »

The city was originally a German colony founded by the emperor Pedro I. in 1824 and established at a place known as the Feitoria Real de Canhamo (Royal Hair factory). The first colonists (26 families and 17 unmarried persons, or 126 souls) arrived on the 2 5th of June 182 5, and were followed a few months later by another party of 909 colonists. These were the first German colonists in Rio Grande do Sul. Up to 1830 the arrivals numbered 3701, but the civil war which broke out in 1835 checked further arrivals and nearly ruined the colony, its inhabitants being forced to serve in the contending forces and their property being seized. Sao Leopoldo was occupied by the revolutionists for some years and was practically ruined at the termination of the war in 1844. The introduction of colonists was immediately resumed, however, and the colony was soon as prosperous as ever. The early colonists were engaged in Germany by a representative of the Brazilian government, and were given free transportation, 130 acres of land each, farming implements, seeds, and a subsidy of 320 reis a day for the first year and half that for the second year. Subsequent settlers received less, but the system of assisting colonists and making contracts with companies and individuals for their introduction became the settled policy of the national and provincial governments.

SÃO LUIZ, or in full, São Luiz de Maranhão (also spelt Maranham), a seaport of northern Brazil, capital of the state of Maranhão, on the W. side of an island of the same name, in 2° 30′ S., 44° 17′ W., about 300 m. E.S.E. of Belem (Pará). Pop. of the whole island (1890) 29,308; (1908, estimate) 32,000. An important part of the population is made up of the planters of the state, who live in town and leave their estates to the care of overseers. The island of Maranhão lies off the mouths of the rivers Mearim and Itapicurú, between the Bay of São Marcos on the W. and the Bay of São José on the E., and is separated from the mainland by a small channel called the Canal do Mosquito. It is irregular in outline, its greatest length from N.E. to S.W. being 34 m., and its greatest breadth 19 m. Its surface is broken by a number of low hills and short valleys. The city is built upon a tongue of land between two small estuaries, Anil and Bacanga, which unite and open upon the Bay of São Marcos. It covers two low hills and the intervening valley, the transverse streets sloping sharply to the estuary on either side. These slopes make it difficult to use vehicles in the streets, but they afford a natural surface drainage which makes São Luiz cleaner and more healthy than the coast towns of tropical Brazil usually are. The city is regularly laid out with comparatively wide longitudinal, and steep, narrow transverse streets, roughly paved and provided with sidewalks. The buildings are of the old Portuguese type, with massive walls of broken stone and mortar, having an outside finish of plaster or glazed tiles and roofs of red tiles. The principal public buildings are the cathedral, a large and severely plain structure, the episcopal palace, the Carmelite church, the government palace, town hall, custom-house, hospital, and a number of asylums, convents and charitable schools. An excellent lyceum and a church seminary are the most important educational institutions, and São Luiz long enjoyed a high reputation in Brazil for the culture of its inhabitants. The trade of São Luiz was once very important, but the commercial activity of Pará and Fortaleza, the decay of agricultural industry in the state, and the silting up of its harbour, have occasioned a decline in its commerce. Its exports comprise cotton, sugar and rice. Communication with the mainland and interior towns is by means of small steamers.

São Luiz was founded in 1612 by La Rivardière, a French officer commissioned by Henri IV. to establish a colony in this vicinity. The French colony was expelled in 1615 by the Portuguese, who, in turn, surrendered to the Dutch in 1641. In 1644 the Dutch abandoned the island, when the Portuguese resumed possession, and held the city to the end of their colonial rule in Brazil. The city became the seat of a bishopric in 1679.