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General View of the Island Pos Sessions of the United States 256

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GENERAL VIEW OF THE ISLAND POS SESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES 256. Green tropic isles.—If we should set out to visit all the islands belonging to the United States, we should have to go sailing about for rather a long time. We should have to go in many directions, too, because the islands are scattered about the world. Most of them are in the hot regions where there is no frost, but where there is enough rain to make trees grow and stay green all the time. Besides oranges, bana nas, and pineapples on the islands, there are many fruits strange to us. There are also coconuts, sugar cane, and chocolate.

257. Porto Of our island possessions the one nearest to us is Porto Rico, in the West Indies. Porto Rico is near enough to send early vegetables to New York in the winter season. She also exports sugar, some coffee, and tobacco. In return for these things, we send to the stores of Porto Rico clothes, flour and other food, tools, and many other things.

A railroad goes nearly all the way around the island, and connects Ponce and San Juan, the chief towns. About two fifths of the people are negroes. The others are white, chiefly of Spanish race. Most of the people are farmers, and there are many more people on this small island than there are in all Alaska.

Near Porto Rico, to the eastward, are three small islands, St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. They are part of the group called the Virgin Islands. In 1916 the United States bought them from Denmark. Many passing vessels stop at St. Thomas to buy coal, which has been brought there from the United States.

258. Hawaii.—From San Juan, the capi tal of Porto Rico, it would take a steamer two weeks to sail through the Panama Canal and out into the Pacific Ocean to the beautiful harbor of Honolulu. Hawaii is two thousand miles southwest of Cali fornia. The volcanoes have made the Hawaiian Islands very steep and rough, so that, though the soil is rich, only a part of the island can be cultivated. The islands are larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Sailing from Hawaii to the westward, a steamer would come in about two weeks to a little island only thirty-two miles long. It is Guam. On it are only a few thousand brown men. But Guam is an important little island, because there our government has a naval station. A naval station is a place where coal and other supplies for the ships of our navy are kept. Often when ships cannot carry enough coal and supplies for the whole of a long journey, they stop to get more at Guam, for there our govern ment keeps a huge pile of coal beside the harbor.

259. • Guam and the telegraph stations. —On the shore at Guam a visitor would see several young white men walking around. They are telegraph operators from the ocean cable station. Guam is one of the stops on the cable line that goes from San Francisco to Asia. An ocean

cable is a bundle of telegraph wires, bound together in water-tight rubber and laid on the bottom of the sea. Over this line news is sent from one part of the world to another in just a very few minutes. It takes several men to operate one of these cable stations, for someone must be on duty every minute, night and day. There are many of these little groups of men stuck about the world on lonesome islands and barren shores, with no other people of their kind anywhere to be seen for weeks or months. They all help to pass on the news that we read in our papers.

On the shore of this little island of Guam are the tall towers of a wireless station. It sends messages through the air to the captains of ships at sea. Regularly it sends air messages to Japan and Hawaii. From the naval station at Hawaii the messages are sent on to the station at San Francisco (Mare Island), and then on to Washington, Newfoundland, Ireland, Nor way, Germany, and Russia.

260. The Philippines.—To the westward, five or six days by steamer from Guam, the green forests of Luzon come in sight. (Sec.

249.) One more day of sailing would bring the traveler to Manila, the capital of the Philippine Islands. It is in the Philippine Islands that Emilio, the coconut grower, and his neighbor, the hemp grower, live. (Secs. 244 and 245.) Thick forests and many bushes and climbing vines cover most of the land in these islands. Back in the forests are many black men, who live in little hidden villages of grass huts, and have little to do with the brown men or the white men. To get things to eat, thdy hunt with bows and arrows, spear fish, and gather wild fruits and nuts in the forest. Some of them have no gardens or crops. Some of these people are smaller than white men. We do not know how many of these wild men of the forest there are, but the Amer ican governor of the Philippines thinks that there are as many of them as there are people in the state of Maine.

Most of the Filipinos live in the lowlands as Emilio does, and raise copra and hemp. Others work on sugar plantations, and in the oil mills and tobacco factories of Manila and other towns. There are schools and colleges in Manila and some of the other large towns, and some of the Filipinos come to American colleges to continue their education. Alto gether, the Philippine Islands have as many people as New England, and are twice as large.

261. Samoa.—To go from Manila to Samoa, the southernmost of our island pos sessions, would take nearly a month of sail ing. The Samoan Islands are in the South Pacific. They, too, are small like Guam. They are of little value except as naval stations, where ships can get coal and repairs. The native brown people are very much like those of our other Pacific islands.