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THE BANANA INDUSTRY.
) THE WRITER and no doubt to many others, it has often seemed to others, lt has often seemed strange that the southern conti nent of this hemisphere has so little interest for the average cit izen of the United States. Oc casionally articles have appeared In the newspapers and magazines which have caused a little flutter of interest in some quarters, but the interest seems to have been fleeting. There has been much talk of Darkest Africa, and explorers galore have followed the famous Stan ley and Livingstone into the dark recesses of that continent until I think I am safe in saying that the continent of Africa is, today better known than our own South America. I feel sure that there is no quarter of the globe that presents to the imagination so much of ro mantic and sentimental interest and I might add commercial interest, as well as food for specula tion in regard to the mysterious and unknown. Tales of the Spanish Main are still, and no doubt will be for many years to come, full of Interest to all who read or hear of them. The exploits of (the early Spanish explorers and settlers and the 'depredations of the buccaneers certainly furnish enough of romance and tragedy to satisfy the most exacting. One surely cannot read of the magnificent Span ish dream of a great empire in the New World without a thrill of admiration mixed with a good deal of horror at their methods of founding it Their ruthless destruction of a civilization, which was, in some respects at least, even superior to their own, always rouses more or less indignation. Still, after all, there is a tinge of sadness min gled with our indignation when we think of the rapid decadence of the dream, which has perhaps only been equaled by the decadence of the power and influence of the mother country Itself. Of the origin and history of the early civiliza tion, existing when the Spaniards came, we know little or nothing and there seems to be very little prospect of learning more. Even of the actual present inhabitants of many parts of the continent we know almost as little. We are familiar to some extent with a narrow belt along the coast and a little of the territory along the navigable rivers, but I think few realize how narrow this belt is. It was the writer's privilege to spend a few weeks along the coast of Colombia just at the close mm__) i_-_B_C_PW-B-B-s---B-Bp-r--8 _T_%*^V^__E-B *^^.! x_L^\ s_t*'^' tAjEct t9" '^3ya T-*ffsT^KSß*i_lM^jVillo>Jwi7V ■»-OK Jl-K-M-I-S"flk ■ H I__*__H_i!Rm'^__&*'lJbubbV!^ Ht4fl Hi' vNAfflnj e^eMeVM_li Rlvß ■?jC'.jnt,l-_^MPJby ■^wF^^JßPtJ^^' /fry!? ~-ffj^ynnrTßsTsM^i mmr ' * *"TKt. ?rfJyM_ffft slfffil-sißw. iMmK vtilwmt "'i^'ittimtKSmw Hfc- * "4f_SH__ WSitifl I^*___'»|lt^* p^^^ ' ■ . an v^eJBKPRI'VF ■• 'c4tfffiftdHfi>*lr I 1 -^^^^■WsFsJPVeti.-' *■*** - ■ , -^. >Si ' X '^fSH *%iM^^" MMg rf JBfflK^^ ' _. ■ *■** '^i ■ «T'_^_v ,-.', <*>3^v': i%3* _ZB«s3i HHL MAGAZINE SECTION 5 Howard N. Howland. of the late civil war in that country, and there is very little here that we are famil iar with as twentieth century civilization and culture. Even in the neighborhood of Santa Marta, one of the oldest of the Spanish American set tlements, one may find with in an hour's walk or ride, al most primeval forests where there is no sign of human Inhabitants, much less, civi lization, and the villages of mud and thatch whose in habitants are almost pure Indians, although they speak the Spanish language. A few hours' ride up the Sierra mountains takes one into a practically uninhabit ed wilderness where the trop ical jungle is so dense that the path must be cut most of the way even for a mule train. In reaching this wilderness one travels most of the way over a wild trail cut along the sides of the mountains, passing at long intervals, lonely coffee plantations. These are soon passed and the only signs of human life, past or present, are the old Indian Aztec roads made by laying boulders in rows with their flat sides up, usually two rows of large ones with a row of smaller ones on either side. And all of this within a day's laborious ride up the moun tain. Then what lies within the vast stretches beyond? Of course, the country, on all sides has been penetrated to some distance in a desultory way, but how does the world at large know of it? Scientists from the great museums have made some long trips up the Magdalena, the Orinoco and the Amazon rivers and of the country along the latter considerable has been written. • The report comes from the upper stretches of the Orinoco of the vast table land having great fertility and a flne climate, teeming with a wealth of plant and animal life, but this is a report made from a bare look at the edge of the mysterious unknown country beyond, through which probobly Port Limon Park. - ■&** *•* _h_H_u - .iJ______\ __WL. • -_t_9r_b_fi_-_ $&%: -.--;-i ■ -***" -. ■ _B_K y^h*eM-^Bet*Bn_C-BB^^-s^gl-BP^*e»!P^^A-fci'L I ,j—tt\W~. '-*£*■---.-, -''\^_j_. _JB^S3K_lV_w^' p^s.-„c-i.: ■"'ftr ■■■ jfpjT'^^** j_fiJF _ffVi-W1"/^*^ r jSf^^-^fr* *MirW-J-t^»-B--W ■*«, . \y.mf*^mmmßQmw^3m^^* i# ■ -«* IJrT-W>Adf-_T^^^lff!^^^i^-jß_y* **^' J^'rjM *■ m—mmmW'^ tSm^A^^^^^^'^mtmmmW ** __h_h fi? _Tjß^^__Xs_^_te__kii Sktff w_«_k • * *'iT*** r*» 8 _mi^_^3_BJ( •*=•* Tac^^yy^■ 3fl^y*|i, ,_^B^m>)Be?»^_ *' *%_i fe^JH fa_B E^SniSir 'T-fc^dflßfc'iKsV^Jl W?«;3fflP^ftM^'Ter'Ti- jg '*.. ."jf ■■ <''je-: " mr Jmf" SBB *"■ ■[ no white man has passed and emerged alive. Savage beasts, savage men, and deadly fevers have all conspired to curtail the knowledge that has come to the outer world. As the population of the world Increases, these great garden spots must sooner or later be opened up and connected with the rest of the world by modern methods of transportation. This the United Fruit Company has been quietly doing along the coast of the Caribbean Sea for a number of years and a system has been developed whose magnitude few understand. Stations have been established from San Marta, Colombia to Blueflelds, Nicaragua and there are important shipping points at Santa Marta, Colon, Bocas del Toro, Port Limon, Greytown, and Blue flelds and I do not know how many more places. Whatever may have been said of the United Fruit Company as a trust and an oppressor of smaller concerns, it has certainly done great things for the places where its stations have been established and I have yet to hear of a case in these places where unjust discrimination or opres sion has been practiced, while many who are in their employ and are doing business with them, speak of them only in the highest terms. Perhaps Limon, Costa Rica is a good example and this has been changed from a little adobe and thatch tropical mudhole, with awful health con ditions to a clean, modern flourishing town, with a small park which is the most beautiful I have ever seen. The United Fruit Company's principal Industry is of course, raising and shipping bananas, al though they handle some other fruit and I think that this industry which is destined for many years to come, to be the leading one in that climate. The market for this fruit in the United States seems to be almost unlimited, and the amount of the fruit consumed is only limited by the sup ply and price. Some years ago while going from New York to . Colombia. I made the acquaintance of Don Qulros, a wealthy Spaniard from San Jose, Costa Rica, who had very large interests in that city and the surrounding country. Among other things, he owned a banana plantation from which he was shipping about five thousand bunches of ba nanas a week to New York upon the boats of the United Fruit Company. '; ;Xl He told me that some years he had cleared above all expenses, as high as seventy per cent, of the original investment. A proflt of from thirty to fifty per cent, is not at all uncommon. ;\ .; Large proflts are made along the coast of Col ombia where irrigation is depended upon, but the Isthmian and Central American climate, where there Is sufficient rain fall, is better. The amount of this fruit that is shipped to the United States is almost inconceiveable. Ships car-