Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/361

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

M. de Quatrefages sets down the proportion of mixed blood in Mexico and South America at one fifth of the whole population. The "Statesman's Year-Book" for 1886 makes it much larger. In Mexico, with a population of over ten million, it is calculated that not more than twenty per cent are of pure European descent, while those classified as Indian number above three million and three quarters. In Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, San Salvador, and Costa Rica, the vast majority of the people are Indians and mestizos, so that, if the scheme of Barrios had succeeded, he would have practically ruled over a federation of half-breeds. In the society of the cities only a mere sprinkling pretends to pure Spanish descent. In South America the mixed races are still more numerous in comparison with the rest of the population. In Brazil the colored slave or freedman element has mixed with both Creoles and Indians. In Hayti and San Domingo the blacks are the ruling race. In Venezuela whites and blacks have coalesced with Indians to such an extent that, with the exception of about a thirtieth part of the population made up of savage aborigines, the great bulk of the nation is mixed. In Peru it is expected that before long the country will have reverted to the aboriginal condition, only about two per cent of the inhabitants remaining unaffected by Indian or negro admixture. Though in some South American states, such as Chili and the Argentine Confederation, immigration tends to keep up the supply of European blood, in no case is it in the ascendant.

M. d'Omalius has reckoned the number of half-breeds in the world at eighteen million, his computation taking account only of the products of crossing of the European and colored races. But, if what has been said of the proportion of half-breeds to the entire inhabitants of the New "World alone be correct, it comes far short of the reality. For obvious reasons it would be difficult to obtain trustworthy statistics concerning the distribution of pure and mixed blood in a community where mixture is a mark of inferiority. Half-breeds, fair enough to pass for whites, would not be likely to volunteer the correction of misconception as to their origin. The degree of dark admixture is, therefore, more likely to be understated than overstated.

While this continent offers to the inquirer the most interesting and numerous examples of new ethnic varieties created by intercourse between different races, others to be found elsewhere are well worthy of attention. In the Sandwich Islands there are the offspring of natives and foreigners of almost every nationality from English to Chinese. Some of the Hawaiian-British half-castes are intelligent, well-conducted, and industrious. The ruler of the kingdom, who recently traveled through Europe, is an accomplished gentleman, as well as a statesman-like and progressive prince. When it is recalled that little more than half a century ago the Hawaiian group was peopled by savages, meet descendants of Captain Cook's murderers, the present condition of the kingdom, with its educated and law-abiding citizens, is