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Mindoro

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MINDORO, mdn-db'ro, Philippines, an island lying south of Luzon, a little north of the centre of the archipelago; length, north west to southeast, 110 miles; width, northeast to southwest 56 miles; area, 3,851 square miles, with dependent islands, 4,024. The island, which is oval in outline, is mountainous, the general topographical features consisting of several high broken ranges, forming an elevated plain in the interior; and from this plain sierras extend in different directions toward the coast, which is mostly low and marshy, especially on the north and east; on the west coast along Mindoro Strait is prairie land. The culminating point of the mountain system is Halton Mountain in the north (8,800 feet). There are numerous small rivers, but no 'en eral river system of main stream and tribu taries. The climate is variable; the rainfall heavy and monsoons frequent; the western coast is temperate and healthful, but the north ern and eastern coasts are hot.

At one time, before the decay of the Spanish monarchy, the rice yield was so abundant that Mindoro was called ethe granary of the Philip pines"; but the frequent attacks of Moro pirates destroyed the prosperity of the island, and the agricultural products are now unim portant, being almost entirely for home con sumption. Sugarcane is being profitably ex ploited; rice, cocoa, tobacco, hemp, cotton, etc., are raised; the cultivation of hemp is increas ing and a small amount of cotton is exported to the island of Ipil. In the time of the early Spanish explorers reports of great mineral wealth, especially gold, were circulated; the real mineral resources are but little known, though as far as modern exploration has gone copper, gold and coal have been found. The

island is heavily wooded and its chief commer cial wealth is in forest products; the trees in clude cedar, ebony, mahogany, gum trees, gutta percha, palms and dye woods. Near the prin apal towns woodcutting and rattan splitting for the Manila market is the chief industry; rattan, bun, honey, forest gums balao oil, pitch and other forest products are the chief articles of export; tortoiseshell, obtained from the small neighboring islands, and canoes cut from a single piece of wood are also exported; and there is a considerable production of sago. There are only a few roads, access to inland villages being by mountain trails or by river canoes; the local trade between coast towns is carried, on mostly by native sailing craft; all exports for Manlla and other islands are con centrated at ports of call for steamers.

In June 1902 civil government was extended to Mindoro and adjacent islands, and it was detached from the province of Cavite and made a subprovince of Marinduque (q.v.). The in habitants of the interior are wild tribes, among whom the Manguianes (about 15,000 in numbe predominate; the .people of the north coast are mostly Tagfilogs, those of the south coast Visayans. Pop., estimated to include wild tribes of the interior, 28,361.