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The Argentine Semi-Arid Region 834

sheep, andes, patagonia and south

THE ARGENTINE SEMI-ARID REGION 834. A South American New Mexico and remember (Sec. 102) that in the United States, to the west of the land of cotton, corn, and wheat, are the Great Plains, a land of little rain, few people, and large sheep and cattle ranches. South America also has such a region in Argentina, between the farming lands and the western mountains (the Andes), which wall it off from the Pacific. Much of this country is so much like our own western lands, shut off from the Pacific by the Rockies, that if a man from Arizona or New Mexico were dropped from a balloon, he might easily say he was at home; for he would see exactly the same varieties of cactus, the same bunch grass, the same wide-stretching, treeless plains, the same flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, the same simple house of the ranch man. The ranchman, however, would speak Spanish, and most of his workers would be Indians or half-breeds called gauchos, the Argentine word for cowboys.

835. the foot of the Andes, snow-fed streams are used to irrigate large orchards in which peaches, pears, plums, grapes, and other fruits are grown and shipped from Mendoza and San Juan to eastern markets. (Fig. 593.) Tell of something like this in Arizona.

836. or three railroads cross this plain to carry cattle, sheep, wool, and fruits to the markets of Buenos Aires and other eastern cities. (Fig. 610.) One railroad connects Buenos Aires with San tiago, the capital of Chile, and Valparaiso, its chief port. It was very difficult and

expensive work to build this road, with its many tunnels, across the high Andes.

837. A South American southern part of this semi-arid region is called Patagonia. Name a place in North Amer ica, the same distance from the equator and at the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains. (Fig. 94.) Only recently have white men had ranches in Patagonia. Many of the settlers in this new district are Englishmen and Scotch men, who came over from the Falkland Islands to the east of Patagonia. Find places on the coast of Britain and of western North America that are the same distance as the Falkland Islands from the equator. Falk land, a British colony, has plenty of rain, - and, like the highlands of Scotland and Wales, is cov ered with grass. The one great business is sheep and wool, so that the young men of the Falkland Islands know the sheep business well, before they go over to settle the new ranch coun try at the foot of the Andes. The best known trade cen ter for this district is Punta Arenas. Can you find another city as far south? 838. Future. American oil searchers have found some oil fields in Patagonia. If the deposits are rich, tell what may happen. Will the future of this semi-arid region be like that of our own Great Plains? (Sec. 113.)