GENERAL VIEW 291. Brazil a country of great is hard for us to understand what a big country Brazil is. It is actually larger than the United States and France together. But it has fewer people than France, and less than a fourth as many as the United States.
We know that there are not many people in the Amazon Valley of Brazil. In much of the highland of interior Brazil so few people live that there is not a railroad or a city for hundreds of miles. The popula tion map (Fig. 291) and the railroad map (Fig. 295) show that most of the people of Brazil live on the highland in the south ern part of the country, where the great export, coffee, help supply them with money to buy flour from Argentina; coal, cotton, and wooldns from England; ma chinery, oil, and lumber from the United States; and other manufactured things from many other countries. Rubber from the lowlands brings in the rest of the money they need for this trade.
292. The Portuguese language.—The people along the coast and the railroads speak Portuguese, for this country was settled by people from Portugal, while Spaniards settled all the rest of South America and gave it the Spanish language.
293. Large cities.—Rio de Janeiro is a large, beautiful city. Only three cities in the United States are larger. It has a harbor made beautiful by high, steep hills, with bare rocks and green forests. Many of the wealthy people, both native and foreign, have their homes in a suburb two thousand feet up on the edge of the plateau, to which they go by trolley cars driven by water-power.
Sao Paulo, the coffee center (Sec. 281), is a prosperous city, hating about as many people as San Francisco.
Along the coast, between Para and Rio de Janeiro, there are several cities with farming districts near them. Most of the people along this coast are negroes or mulattoes, whose ancestors were brought over from Africa as slaves to work in the sugar and coffee plantations. Bahia and Pernambuco are the two largest of these east coast cities. Steamers from the United States and England call there for sugar, cotton, tobacco, and hides.
Hides are an important export from most of the Brazilian ports, as there are many cattle ranches on the plateaus of the interior. For a long time, hides were the
only goods that could be 'carried out on carts and pack muleS. But now that meat is so valuable, some railroads have been built to the interior to bring the cattle to the coast. There the animals are slaugh tered and the meat is made ready to be put into cans as is done at Chicago or Kansas City. Meat from the Brazilian plateau, packed in American tin cans, went to France for the Allied Army during the World War.
The easiest way to get from Rio de Janeiro to some of these cattle ranches is to go by ocean steamer the thousand miles to Buenos Aires, and then to take a river steamer, which will, in about a week, land you at Asuncion the capital of Paraguay. From there a smaller steamer will carry you in another week up to the cattle ranches of interior Brazil, a region of great open spaces and broad grazing lands. The cattle industry is increasing there and is now the main industry.
294. The Plata countries.—Three coun tries, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay have most of their trade with the other countries of the world by way of the Plata River.
We have already heard much about Argentina when we were reading about wheat (Sec. 81), corn (Sec. 74), meat (Sec. 87), and wool (Sec. 114). You remember that Argentina is nearly one third as large as the United States, but you understand that the map of South America is on a smaller scale than are the maps of the United States.
Argentina and Uruguay are very, very different from the other countries of South America. They are in the land of frost, where white men can be strong and healthy. Though western Argentina is a dry country, there is rain enough for farming in eastern Argentina and Uruguay. Large areas of land like those of Iow,a and western Canada, rich, level, and without trees, are ready to plow up and plant to a crop. Here we find Italian and Spanish immi grants using American farming machinery and cultivating large fields of wheat, corn, and alfalfa. In other places there are great of sheep and herds of cattle. Big meat packing plants are in the cities.