Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/857

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DEFENCE — COMMERCE oOl

an arraugeiiicuL was made tor the payment ol' interest and lui- amortization. In 1895 another arrangement was made, but, on March 14, 1896, the President (then Supreme Chief) decreed the suspension of payments to the bondholders until a still more advantageous arrangement should be concluded. The bonds in circulation (1898) amounted to 693,160/. In 1897 and 1898 con- tracts were made for the purchase of the foreign debt by the Guayaquil and Quito Railway Company. [Details are given in the Appendix to the Report of the Council of the Corporation of Foreign Bondholders, August, 1898. J The internal debt amounted to 7,500,000 sucres at the end of 1896.

Defence.

The Ecuadorian army numbers 3,341 officers and men. This force is com- posed of 1 brigade of fortress and 1 of field artillery, 4 battalions of infantrj' 2 columns of light infantry, and a regiment of cavalry. The national guard is said to consist of 30,000 men.

The navy consists of a torpedo launch, and a transport, which vessels are manned by about 128 men.

Commerce.

The staple produce of Ecuador is cocoa, of which the receipts at Guayaquil in 1895 amounted to 16,122 tons ; in 1896, 15,327 tons, and in 1897, 14,800 tons ; but cottee, sugar, and rice are successfully cultivated. The rubber in- dustry is also important, and as the accessible supply from wild trees is being rapidly exhausted, attention is now turned to the planting of trees. Ecuador is eminently auriferous. At Zarama, in the province of Oro, quartz crushings by an English company yield from 1 oz. to l^oz. per ton ; at Esmeralda an American company extracts gold by hydraulic methods from gravel beds to the value of about 50 cents per cubic yard ; in many auriferous streams the Indians, by washings, find considerable quantities of gold ; and at Pillzhum in Caiian rich silver ore is found. Petroleum is abundant but is hardly worked. The country is known to be also rich in copper, iron, lead and coal.

According to the President's message, August, 1898, the imports in the year 1897 amounted to 18,004,048 sucres, and the exports to 31,025,382 sucres ; the exports in 1896 having been of the value of 21,862,324 sucres. The value of the trade at Guayaquil in four years, so far as published, has been : —

1894

1895

1896

Sucres

10,889,190

■ 1897

Imports Exports .

Sucres 12,000,000 13,933,750

Sucres

8,520,000

11,562,740

Sucres 12,176,280

The chief imports are cotton and other tissues and provisions. The exports from Guayaquil comprised cocoa, 787,192/. in 1896; 960,031/. in 1897 ; cotfee, 94,105/. in 1896 ; 49,640/. in 1897 ; rubber, 34,096/. in 1896 ; 47,232/. in 1897; hides, 15,414/. in 1896; 20,848/. in 1897; straw hats, 13.102 in 1896; 15,000/. in 1897; specie, 29,762/. in 1896; 30,000/. in 1897.

The total value of the imports from Ecuador into Great Britain, and of the exports of British produce to Ecuador, was as follows in eacdi of the last five years, according to the Board of Trade returns : —