Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/915

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COMMERCE — SHIPPING AND COMMUNICATIONS. 559

officers. Of the men, 1,220 are natives, and 560 are Al<::!jerians. For 1899 tlie French budget allows 18,381,000 francs for military expenditure in Madagascar.

Production and Industry.

Of minerals, gold, copper, iron, lead (galena), sul})lmr, graphite, and a lignite have been found. It seems probable that many parts of the island are very rich in valuable ores. Cattle breeding and agriculture are the chief occupa- tions of the people ; rice, sugar, coffee, cotton, cacao, vanilla, and sweet pota- toes being cultivated. The forests abound with many valuable woods, while tropical and sub-tropical products are plentiful. Concessions of land are being made to French subjects free, while foreigners have to buy them. The princii)al article at present produced in the island is caoutchouc, which is ex- ported to London or Hamburg. Silk and cotton weaving are carried on, and the manufacture of textures from the rofia palm fibre, and of mstal work. At present, however, no machinery is used for the making of textile fabrics. All are literally mcunc- hctnies, and carried on by the simple sjundle and loom in use from a very remote period. And so with the manufacture ami working of iron and other metals.

Commerce.

The chief exports are cattle, india-rubber, hides, horns, coffee, lard, sugar, vanilla, wax, gum, copal, rice, and seeds. The chief imports are cotton goods, rum, crockery, and metal goods. In 1896 the imports amounted to 13,493,100 francs; exports, 3,605,900 francs. Of the imports 3,280,700 francs in value came from France ; 6,749,816 francs from England ; 2,486,761 francs from the United States ; 687,859 francs from Germany. The chief im- ports were cotton goods from England. Of the exports France took 736,670 francs ; England 1,550,000 francs, imports into France from Madagascar in 1897, general, 2,038,677 francs; special, 1,389,042 francs; exports to Madagascar, general, 16,796,399 francs ; special, 12,302,756 francs. In 1897 the value of the imports into Great Britain (Board of Trade Returns) from Madagascar was 67,859Z. (in 1895, 139,005/.) ; and exports from Great Britain to Madagascar 158,610Z. (in 1895, 66,400^.) The imports from Madagascar were, in 1897, caoutchouc, 12,137^. ; vegetable fibres, 14,372?. ; wax, 17,704/. ; raw hides, 10,052/, ; the exports to Madagascar, cottons, 111,857/, ; iron, wrought, and unwrought, 6,061/. ; machinery, 6,737/. in 1897.

Shipping and Communications.

Tamatave, the principal seaport of the island, has a commodious harbour, safe during seven or eight months of the year, visited regularly by the steamers of several shipping comjianies. There are as yet no roads in Madagascar in the European sense of the word, and no wheeled vehicles aie employed. All passengers and goods are carried on the shoulders of bearers, except where the rivers or coast lagoons allow the use of canoes. A waggon road is being made from Tamatave to Antananarivo, and the canali- sation of the lagoons between Tamatave and the capital has l)ecn begun. Negotiations are in progress for the construction of a railway which, with the canal, will connect Antananarivo and Tamatave, in return for which the con- tracting French Company will receive concessions of lands, mining rights, and other privileges.

There is postal communication throughout the island. An electric telegraph, 180 miles in length, connects Tamatave and the capital, and another connects the capital with Majunga which, by a cable laid in 1895, is in communication with ^Iozambi<jue and the Eastern Telegraph Company.