Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/829

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The revenue is mainly derived from customs duties, estimated for 1897-98 at 24,000,000 pesos. The largest items of expenditure are war, 9,129,500 pesos ; internal development, 4,016,300 ; justice, 4,683,600 ; debt, 3,659,300 ; hnance, 3,378,900.

The internal debt on June 30, 1896, was: consolidated, 5,633,046 pesos ; floating, 1,892, 110 pesos ; total, 7,525,156 pesos. This is exclusive of paper currency amountinjj to 30,862,352 pesos. The floating debt should be paid off" by means of sinking funds assigned by Congress for the purpose in 1888. The fund at present amounts to 604,000 pesos per annum.

The external debt, mostly due to British creditors, in 1896 amounted, with arrears, to 3,514,442^. An agreement for a settlement was arrived at by the Colombian Government and the bondholders in January, 1897, new bonds being issued for 2,700,000/. at 1^ per cent, interest, increasing by ^ per cent, every three years till the rate is 3 per cent.


The strength of the national army is determined by Act of Congress each session. The peace footing was fixed at 1,000 in 1898. In case of war the Executive can raise the army to the strength which circumstances may require. Every able-bodied Colombian is liable to military service.

There is one river gunboat and two other small vessels.


Columbia is rich in minerals, and gold is found in all the departments. From Antioquia alone gold valued at 40,000Z. is exported annually. The gold mines at Cara in Darien, the only mines in full activity in 1897, average "94 oz. of gold per ton of ore. The average annual output of gold and silver is about 823,000/. in value. The number of mines of all sorts on which the legal imposts were paid in 1891 was 4,961, nearly all of which were gold mines either alluvial or in veins. Of the total number, 3,398 (all of them gold) were in Antioquia, 794 in Tolima, 571 in Cauca. In Tolima and Cauca there are many silver mines, either alone or in association with gold or other metals. Other minerals, more or less worked, are copper, platinum, lead, mercury, cinnabar (14 mines), manganese (7 mines), emeralds (32 mines). The emerald mines of Muzo on the river Minero are said to yield to the value of about 20,000Z. yearly. The Pradera iron works north-east of Bogota have a capacity of 30 tons of pig iron daily, and manufacture wrought iron, rails, sugar mills, castings, &c. In the immediate neighbourhood of the works are coal, iron, limestone, sand, manganese, and fireclay deposits, which render the locality highly favourable for the development of metallurgical industries. The salt mines at Zipaquira, north of Bogota, are a government monopoly and a greatsource of revenue, supplying nearly the whole of Colombia with salt. In several of the departments there are extensive deposits of coal and petroleum.

Only a small section of the country is under cultivation. Much of the soil is fertile, but of no present value, from want of means of communication and transport. Coffee cultivation is extending rapidly ; cocoa, tobacco, sugar, vegetable ivory, and dyewoods are produced, besides wheat, maize, plantains, &c. The rubber tree grows wild, and is tapped, but is not cultivated. Tolu balsam is cultivated, and copaiba trees are tapped but are not cultivated. In Tolima are wide grazing districts, the total number of cattle, horses, mules and asses in the department being 390,000. In Colombia the numlDer of these animals is estimated at 3,465,000, besides 3,487,000 goats, sheep, and swine.