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11. " The lake itself covers an area of nearly a hundred acres.
Three or four islands, some twenty yards wide, are scattered about the middle of it. The surface of the asphalt is nearly everywhere strong enough to bear your weight, and the whole lake is intersected by channels of clear water."
12. “On one side of the lake are the so-called 'pitch volcanoes '— little hillocks, generally not more than half a' yard high, with an opening in the centre about six inches across. In these craters the pitch is still in a fluid state.”
13. This island is traversed by three ranges of hills, but consists for the most part of fertile plains and valleys covered with luxuriant forest trees, many of them bearing the most gorgeous flowers.
1. The only island of the Greater Antilles group which belongs to Great Britain is Jamaica, “the land of wood and water.” This is the largest of the British West India Islands, and covers an area equal to about half the size of Wales. It was one of the earliest of the islands of America discovered by Columbus. He called it St. Iago, and under this name it was taken possession of by Spain. In 1665 it was captured by the English, and finally ceded to us in 1670.
2. Jamaica was at one time the richest and most prosperous of the English colonies. Its land is still among the most fertile on the earth, but its people have fallen away from their former prosperity, and the country is not now in a flourishing condition. This state of things was partially brought about when the planters were deprived of forced labour by the emancipation of the slaves, and hastened by the revolt of the negroes in 3. The island is flat along the coast, and on the south side there are many shoals and reefs which render navigation difficult, but there are some good harbours. The interior is hilly, and intersected by several ranges of mountains, and deep densely-wooded valleys. The mountains,* which rise in places to between seven and eight thousand feet, extend generally from east to west, and roughly divide the island into two halves, known as the north side and the south side.
4. The south side is characterised by extensive plains, lagoons, and marshes. The north side is distinguished by the great number of rivers and streams, and by the wild grandeur of its mountain torrents, rugged cliffs, and lovely bays. “The north coast is incomparably beautiful. Bold bluffs, charming inlets, everywhere an abundance of rushing and roaring waters, green meadow lands soft as velvet, dark groves, songsters and butterflies, all combine to render this coast a veritable garden of Eden.”
5. Jamaica is well supplied with water; besides several small lakes, there are some 200 rivers, large and small, swarming with fish and alligators, but none of them—except the Black river-navigable even for small craft. The hill slopes and alluvial plains in the north are the most fertile portions of the island, and produce sugar, coffee, allspice, and ginger.
6. The climate, on account of the varied altitude of the surface, is not the same in every part of the island. The north is more salubrious than the south, while in the mountain districts, such as at the military station of Newcastle on the Blue Mountains, the temperature occasionally sinks to 60o. or 70°. There is, however, very little variation between one season and another, unless, indeed, it is during the spring and autumn rains in May and October. Many of the rivers are almost empty in the dry season, but during the rains they become fierce mountain torrents, and sometimes overflow their banks and do great damage.
* The chief range is the Blue Mountains, and West Peak (7,335 feet) is the highest point.
7. Kingston is the port and largest town, and is now the seat of Government. It contains a population of about 36,000. Spanish Town was for a long time the capital of the island, and in the prosperous times of the colony was the seat of a gay court, and the home of wealth, learning, and wisdom. Now it is a stranger to all these things. “Long-tailed pigs wander about the streets ; carrion crows pick up garbage in its once thronged thoroughfares, and at the back of the handsome square, where King's House is situated, the negroes have built their shingled huts.”
8. The population is estimated at about half a million, of whom only about 13,000 are whites, and even these are gradually diminishing in number. The chief articles of export are sugar, rum, tobacco, and fruit. In 1879 the value of these articles exported was nearly a million, pounds.
1. AFRICAN WEST COAST SETTLEMENTS. - The British settlements along the Guinea coast have been established for the purposes of trade—they are trading stations rather than colonies. The development of commerce is much hindered by the unhealthy climate and by the indolence and dishonesty of the natives ; but still very large quantities of palm-oil, nuts, ginger, pepper, and other products of the interior, are brought down for sale or barter on the coast.
2. As early as the year 1588 the British settled, for trading and slave-dealing purposes, on the River Gambia. The principal station is Bathurst, on the island of St. Mary, at its mouth ; but there are several other trading stations along the banks of the river farther inland. In 1871 the population was 14,000, of which only fifty-five were whites. These were either officials or traders, who, for the sake of the bees-wax, hides, ivory, gold-dust, rice,
palm-oil, timber, and ground nuts, which are to be bought, dared the pestilential climate of this region.
3. SIERRA LEONE.—the Lion Mountain—three days? run by steamer from Bathurst, is under the same colonial governor as the Gambia territory. Sierra Leone was used as a refuge for slaves captured by British vessels along the coast, and the descendants of these slaves form the bulk of the population of some 38,000. Freetown is the capital. Like the station on the Gambia, the place is very unhealthy for Europeans, but the exports-of the same kind--are more extensive.
4. The GOLD COAST SETTLEMENTS are about 700 miles east of Sierra Leone. They are so called from the fact that in olden times the chief supply of “gold-dust was brought from this region. To this day gold is washed out of the alluvial soil by the negroes, and forms an important article of trade. Palm-oil brought from the interior is the chief article of export. The climate is about as unhealthy for Europeans as a climate could possibly be. Cattle and horses cannot live on account of the Tsetse fly, the poisonous bite of which is fatal to them. Cape Coast Castle, Elmina, and Accra, the capital, are the chief settlements. The population-chiefly blacksnumbers about half a million.
5. In 1874 a portion of the “slave coast” lying to the east of the Gold Coast was taken possession of by the English and placed under the Gold Coast Government. Lagos, at the mouth of the Lagos River, is the principal settlement, and a town of considerable commercial importance. It has a population of about 50,000, and its chief article of trade here, as elsewhere on the West African coasts, is palm-oil.
6. ST. HELENA is a small mountainous island of volcanic origin, measuring about 47 square miles, situated in the middle of the South Atlantic. It was discovered by a Portuguese in 1501, but the Dutch were the first colonists. It was taken from the Dutch in 1673. When the road to India was round the Cape, and when steam ships were less numerous than at present, St. Helena was a place of call for water and fresh stores, but now there