Home >> Human Geography >> Italy 362 to The Continents The Globe >> South Africa and the

South Africa and the African Islands

people, white, united, cattle, world, land, dry, goats and ostrich

SOUTH AFRICA AND THE AFRICAN ISLANDS hunted the many wild animals that he tells about in his book, "African Game Trails". The country is so high. and cool that white men can live there, and some are now settling in the region. Most of them are ranchers, with flocks of cattle, sheep, and goats. Two railroads have been built up to this plateau from the unhealthy eastern coast with its swampy forests. There are steamboats now on the large lakes of Central Africa.

445. White man's Africa.

—You see by the map (Fig. 404) that the 'southern part of Africa belongs to Eng land. Four English colonies —Natal, Cape of Good Hope, Transvaal, and Orange Free State—have been united under one government, called the Union of South Africa. It is much like the government of the Dominion of Canada, which, you remember, has several prov inces in a union which is very much like that of the United States.

South Africa is not hot like Central Africa. It is cool enough for white people, but there are more black men than white men there. White people settled there before they settled in the United States. They did this so that they might grow food and export it on the ships that stopped there on the way out to India.

446. Agriculture and ranching.--The winds in this part of Africa come from the southeast. This makes heavy rain in the colony of Natal, but a high mountain range (Fig. 400) shuts most of the rain off from the interior. Here a high plain stretches away from the eastern mountains, getting drier and drier, until it becomes the Kala hari Desert. A little wheat is grown, but most of the land is too dry for farms. It is a country much like our own Great Basin in Nevada, and the plateaus of New Mexico. The English and Dutch settlers have large ranches, with herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and Angora goats. These Angora goats are from the province of that name in the dry interior of Asia Minor. They do well on the dry plains of South Africa, and their fleeces of long, soft hair, called mohair, are used to make cloth.

The South African farmers have started a new industry— ostrich farming. Men tamed horses and cows, sheep and goats, long, long ago; but it has been only a few years since the people of South Africa tamed the ostrich, which is the largest bird in the world. Its wings are so small that it cannot fly, but it 'has long legs and can run very swiftly. It fights by kicking. One blow from its hard foot will break a man's leg. Ostriches can be kept in fields with wire fences, just as men keep cattle, and the big birds eat grain or grass as cattle do. South African farmers now send millions of dollars' worth of fine ostrich plumes to the United States and to Europe. We have a few ostrich farms in southern California where the climate is like that of parts of South Africa.

447. Mining.—Diamonds and gold are the chief exports of South Africa. Those colonies produce nearly all the diamonds in the world, and much more gold than all North America. At Johannesburg there are many deep gold mines.

Kimberley is the greatest diamond pro ducing center in the world. There men dig the blue clay from many big holes, and find in it the diamonds that are sent all over the world. White men own these mines, plan them, and run them; but native black men do nearly all of the work. The people who work in the diamond mines are kept inside a high fence near the mines for weeks and months at a time, and when they go out are very carefully searched. Such care is necessary because the diamonds are so small that it is easy to carry them away by putting them in the mouth, or the hair, or up the nose, or even by sticking them under the skin, or by swallowing them.

Ships from the United States and Eng land call regularly at Cape Town and Delagoa Bay. They carry to the people of Si:111th Africa the many kinds of factory goods that are sold in South African stores. It is interesting to know that these stores are much like those in the United States.

448. The African Africa have as many islands near it as Europe? The largest African island is Madagascar, which is about as large as California and Oregon together. Madagascar belongs to France, but there are very few white people on it. Much of it is forest, where some rubber is gathered. There are also regions of grass lands like the Sudan. Cattle and hides are the chief exports. From Mada gascar comes a kind of grass, called raffia, which is useful for many things besides making baskets.

Off the west coast of northern Africa, are the Canary Islands, belonging to Spain, and the Madeira and Cape Verde Islands, belonging to Portugal. These islands are steep volcanic peaks. They have a warm climate, with no frost, and are in the path way of ships going from Africa and South America to Europe. Many vessels stop to get' coal, and the people export early vegetables and bananas to England.

These islands, being very rough, do not have much good farming land. They are very densely peopled, so the people must work very hard to make a living. The little terraced fields are often held up by stone walls. The northeast sides of the islands have much rain. The southwest sides have less? why? To carry water to the dry southwest . side of Madeira, cement-lined ditches havp been built clear around the east end of the island to irrigate the hillsides.

The women there make beautiful em broidery. Most of the people are of Spanish or Portuguese stock. Many of them have gone to Massachusetts.