GENERAL VIEW OF THE NORTHERN COUNTRIES OF SOUTH AMERICA • 289. Colombia and Venezuela.—We have already seen that Colombia and Venezuela, two of the three countries of northern South America, have their capital cities and most of their people on the high plateau of the northern Andes, where the scenery is beautiful and the climate is comfortable. Each. of these countries is larger than the Middle Atlantic and South Atlantic States together, and each has a large part of its land in the wide, open valley of the Orinoco River. Most of this valley has a rainy season and a dry season. In the rainy season much of it is flooded swamp. Then the grass quickly. In the dry season the grass turns brown and the leaves in the forest dry out, so that grass fires and forest fires will run for great distances. These kill most of the trees, so that most of the Orinoco, Valley is a treeless, grassy plain.
There are many herds of cattle here, but not nearly so many as there would be if the climate were more healthful, and there were not so many mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects. Only a few people
live here, and the little trade they have is carried on by small steamers that run up the Orinoco from Port of Spain in the island of Trinidad.
290. Guiana.—Guiana is the only part of South America that is not independent. England, France, and Holland each has a colony there. Guiana has very few white people, and they all live near the seashore, because the northeast wind blowing in from the ocean makes the shore cooler and more healthful than the interior. The chief exports are cane sugar, gold and balata, a Courtesy of University Museum, Philadelphia Fig. 296. Native Indians in southern British Guiana starting a fire.
gum that the natives gather from trees in the forests. It is used in water-proofing electric wires.