Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1210

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854

PARAGUAY

Defence.

The army, comprising infantry, cavalry, and artillery, maintained chiefly to preserve internal order, consists of 82 officers and 1,345 men. Every citizen from 20 to 35 years of age is liable to military service. There is a screw steamer of 440 tons and 4 guns, and 2 small steamers on the river.

Production and Industry.

The number of horned cattle in Paraguay in 1896 was 2,102,680 ; horses 214,916, mules and asses 31,644, sheep 130,352, goats 33,514, pigs 39,513. The most important industry is the growing of yerba maU, or Paraguay tea, the yerbales, formerly the property of the State, being now in the hands of capitalists and companies. The total quantity of the leaf exported in 1896 was 5,141 tons ; in 1897, 6,548 tons. Other industries are timber, tobacco, and fruit-growing, while maize, manoic, beans, &c., are also cultivated. A large sugar factory is being established on the Tebicuary River. Hides (nearly 100,000 annually) are exported to Buenos Ayres. The immense forests contain valuable timber both hard and soft, which now finds a market in neighbouring countries and in Europe. Immigration is encouraged and there are ten agricultural settlements or 'colonies,' with, in all, 3,219 colonists. The Government, through the Agricultural Bank, gives to each settler 300 dollars paper (equal to 35 or 40 dollars gold) in the form of a loan on his property. In 1893 a settlement of Australian immigrants was made on lands conceded by Government ; the colony was unsuccessful, and was broken up in 1896 ; but a number of its members (93) have formed a new settlement, called the Cosme colony, which is well conducted and prosperous.

In the neighbourhood of Asuncion are several breweries, tanneries, match factories, flour mills, and factories for soap, bricks, earthenware palm-leaf hats, &c., and all over the country there are distilleries for cana, a pure sort of rum. Though the sugar-cane grows freely, no sugar is produced.

Paraguay contains valuable minerals which are now unworkcd. Iron abounds in the south, and marble in the north, and pyrites, copper, kaolin, are found.

The following is the value (paper dollars) for five years : —

Commerce.

of the imports (gold

dollars) and exports

1893

1894

1895

189G

1897

Imports Exports

2,533,298 7,994,845

2,222,202 11,100,597

2,460,050 12,728,627

2,786,335 12,292,000

2,203,459 12,908,299

The chief imports are textiles — 85 per cent, from Great Britain ; wines, rice. About 48 per cent, of the total imports come from Britain,

The chief exports are i/cr&f^ mfl^^d, or Paraguay tea, 6,547,642 kilogrammes, valued at 5,475,633 dollars currency in 1897 ; tobacco, 1,064,593 kilo- grammes, value 595,609 dollars ; hides, 169,490 in number value 1,959,293 dollars ; timber, value 1,164,162 dollars ; oranges, value 146,485 dollars.

The British trade passes almost entirely through the territories of Brazil and the Argentine Republic. There are no direct imports into the United Kingdom from Paraguay, and the British exports (mostly cottons) direct to Paraguay amounted to only 15,514Z. in 189f,