Home >> Human Geography >> A Great Trading City to India 687 >> Hawaiian Islands Porto Rico_P1

Hawaiian Islands Porto Rico

sugar, cane, juice, sail, mill and ship

Page: 1 2

(PORTO RICO, HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, PHIL IPPINES) 248. The sugar ship.—Let us go aboard a ship at New York and sail away to the southward. In about four days we see land, and sail into the harbor of the city of San Juan, in the island of Porto Rico.

We go ashore. The people in the streets are speaking a language we do not under stand. It is Spanish, for the island was settled by the Spanish soon after Columbus discovered America. But when we see the American flag flying from the buildings, we know the island is American territory.

We go into the country. Most of the trees along the road are strange to us, but some of them are palms like those we found in Florida, which grow only in a land where there is little or no frost. As we enter a village, we see a small boy come out of a little shop sucking one end of a long green and purple stick as thick as a man's thumb. It is a queer kind of candy—a piece of sugar cane stalk, which he sucks to get the sweet juice.

249. The sugar plantation.—At one edge of the village is a huge sugar mill with a high smoke-stack. All around are fields of sugar cane. Sugar cane looks some thing like corn without any ears, and it grows nearly twice as high as a man's head.

Tractors and plows from the factories in the United States' are often used to prepare the Porto Rican cane fields for planting. Instead of planting seed, the cane grower plants pieces of sugar cane stalk about a foot long. After these sprout, everyone is busy keeping the weeds from getting ahead of the canes while they are little. Growing sugar cane is much like growing cotton. (Sec. 157.) Like cotton, the cane plant requires warm weather and plenty of rain.

In about a year, the stalks are tall, full of sweet juice, and ready to harvest. Men cut down the big stalks, and send them to the sugar factory or mill. Sometimes the cane goes to the mill in ox carts, some times in little railroad cars pulled by a locomotive about as large as a very small auto mobile. The locomotive and railroad cars run on a track that is laid down in the fields, and after wards taken up and moved to another place where it is needed for hauling another part of the same crop.

250. The sugar mill and the sugar the sugar mill the juice is squeezed out of the cane between heavy rollers. The juice is then boiled and boiled until it gets so thick that most of the sugar settles to the bottom of the big kettles. The sweet juice that remains is molasses. .

The sugar that settles in the bottom of the kettles is brown sugar.. It is dried, nut into sacks, and sent up to San Juan, where we see it being loaded into our steamer, when we return from the country. All day long, sack after sack passes over the ship's side in an end less stream. The next day and the next the loading keeps on. Will it never end? It would take sixty Porto Ricos to make a Texas, but this one little island, about half as large as New Jersey or Massachusetts, sends to the United States every day in the year enough sugar to fill about seventy freight cars.

At the end of a week our ship is full of sacks of sugar, six thousand tons of it. The sailors fasten up the hatches (holes in the deck, see Fig. 207) and we sail northward. On the morning of the sixth day, we wake to find the ship lying still. We are outside the port of New York, waiting for the pilot to take us into the harbor.

251. Getting into the har every port there are men called pilots, whose business it is to sail out in small boats, meet incoming steamers, and steer them safely into the harbor. On the map (Fig. 211) New York Bay looks big enough for any ship to sail into, but men have had to dig narrow channels to make it deep enough for big vessels to enter, and a pilot must know the channels well before he tries to take a ship in, or he may run aground. Great dredges, used to deepen channels, are at work most of the time in the harbors of New York, Phila delphia, London, and many other cities.

Page: 1 2