THE CONTINENT 785. Location and climates.—If continents in the same latitude have the same climate belts, what African belts would you expect to find repeated in South America south of the equator? north of the equator? If South America reached as far north as Africa, what climate belts would it then have that it does not now have? How many miles farther south does South America go than South Africa? This southern region is the only part of South America hav ing a kind of climate not found in Africa.
786. A little-used continent.-South Amer ica was settled by Europeans before North America was settled, but, because of its surface and climate, most of the continent is yet almost unused. Much of this conti nent is difficult of access.
Back of the jungle swamp that lies along much of the Brazilian coast, there is a steep mountain much like the Allegheny front at Cumberland, Maryland. (Fig. 241.) Along the entire west side of South America, nature has raised an immense barrier, the longest and least broken mountain wall in the whole world. The Amazon River offers a good ship road far into the continent, but this river valley does not invite settlers because it is a hot, wet jungle of enormous size.
It is no wonder that the settlement of South America, except along some coasts and the plains of Argentina, has been slow.
Large areas in South America have almost no people at all. In the wild places of the interior there are many tribes that have never seen a white man. At least one tribe has the habit of using the dried heads of enemies for ornaments, although these same Indians have been very kind to travelers.
How many railroads can you find on the line between the easternmost and western most points of South America (Fig. 566), and between the western point of Para guay and the northern point of Guiana? How many miles between these points? It is said that South America has more unexplored land than Africa. It certainly has more unused land than Africa. Compare the population of the two. (Appendix.) 787. The. natives of South America.— Europe, Asia, and North Africa were settled by many different migrating peoples, so that now they have many races. The natives of South America and those of North America were all much alike when Columbus came. They are supposed to have been of stock that, in the days before history began, came from Asia by way of Alaska.
When South America was discovered, most of the natives lived in villages and tribes, much as did the Indians of the United States. But in the plateau of the central Andes there was a real empire—the Empire of the Incas. Unluckily for the Incas, they had great stores of gold and silver, and this fact changed the whole history of South America.
788. The coming of the white man.— Soon after the time of Magellan, stories of Inca gold and silver at tracted bands of Spanish and Portuguese adven turers, — half conquerors, half pirates,—and the struggle to possess the riches began. The Pqrtuguese
took Brazil, and the Span iards took all the rest of the continent except Guiana. Few Spanish women came, and many Spanish men married Indian wives. The Indian mothers raised their children in the Indian way. These people of mixed In dian and Spanish blood are called "mestizo". Even to this day most of the people of Colombia,Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia are pure Indians or mestizo.
Very diffc rent was the settlement of the United States and Canada nearly a hundred years later. The stories that early explorers took back to Europe from North America told of a land good for farmers. Groups of European people, who had learned to govern themselves, came to North America to make new homes in a land where they could raise their children in their own way.
We can now understand the differences that we shall find between the people of the United States and Canada and those living in South America.
789. Coming of the negro.—After the Portuguese had settled on the east coast, and had found that the natives would not make good slaves to work on their sugar planta tions, they bought negroes from the slave traders on the coast of Africa. To this day most of the people of eastern Brazil between 20° south latitude and the Amazon River are partly or wholly negroes, with here and there a little Indian blood. Most of those from the east point south to Rio de Janeiro are mulattoes. There is no color line among the common people of Brazil.
790. The climates for the white man.—In one part of South America the races of Europe have taken posses sion of the country. In Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil up to Rio de Jan eiro, the people are nearly all white, and here are found the best governments in all South America. This region has railroads, large cities, heavy trade, and the same kind of crops and living that we find in the cooler parts of the United States.
Spanish is the official language in all of South America except Guiana and in Brazil, which was settled by the Portuguese.
791. The new immigra tion.—Since 1890 there has been heavy emigration from Italy to Southern Brazil and Argentina, so that the white population south of the tropic of Capricorn is nearly equally divided among.Spanish,Portuguese, and Italians.
792. The • population of the continent.— A good census has never been taken over much of South America, but accordingto estimatesthe continent has about half as many people as the United States, and about as many as the United Kingdom. They are estimated to be: 8 to 9 million pure Indians.
13 million mestizos.
15 million whites.
12 million negroes and mulattoes: 10 mil lion of these in Brazil; the rest in Guiana, Venezuela, and Colombia. The continent therefore has a very mixed population. Whites and mestizos often scorn the other classes.