Natural Advanced Geography
Cover and Preface
The Climate is purely tropical, with three seasons: the cold, with a
temperature of 77° to 80°, from November to March; the hot, from March to July,
reaching a temperature of 100°; and the wet, from July to November,
during which torrents of rain fall.
Violent hurricanes, or typhoons, visit the northern islands.
The Mineral Resources are but little developed. Gold, lignite coal, and iron
are widely distributed. Copper is found chiefly in northern Luzon.
Petroleum, mercury, lead, sulphur, marble, gypsum, salt, platinum, and borax have been found.
The Forests are extensive and contain many valuable trees, among which are cedar, teak, dyewoods, ebony, and other beautiful cabinet woods. The forests also supply resins, rubber, gutta percha, and other gums. Cocoanut palms, and bamboos, rattan, mangoes, and all Malayan fruits grow in abundance.
Agriculture is the prevailing pursuit, and its chief products are sugar cane, rice, tobacco, copra, and the famous Manila hemp, a fiber obtained from a species of banana. The annual export of sugar amounts to about 100,000 tons.
Coffee grows in all the islands, and rice is the common food of the natives. The cacao bean, brought from Mexico, and Indian corn, introduced from America, with cotton, pepper, ginger, and vanilla, are other products of importance.
The Wild Animals include the white monkey, deer, wild cat, alligator, turtle,
boa, python, and various kinds of snakes, of which only one is poisonous.
Of birds there are 200 species, and there are numerous beautiful butterflies and destructive ants. The wild buffalo is tamed and is the beast of all work. Horses, cattle, sheep, and goats are raised in large numbers.
Manufacturing by machinery is not largely developed. The women weave by hand many beautiful textiles. Cigars and cigarettes are manufactured extensively, and carriages, furniture, pottery, hats, and metal work are produced for home use.
Commerce within the islands has suffered from the want of roads, but many good
wagon roads and about 500 miles of railroads have been constructed.
Foreign commerce centers in the main ports where export products are gathered, Manila ranking first.
Most of the population is of Malay descent, embracing the Tagals of Luzon and the Visayans occupying several islands south of Luzon. Both of these classes adhere to the Roman Catholic Church. Another class of Malays is the piratical Moros, who are Mohammedans. A few woolly-haired Negritos, descended from the original inhabitants; very many distinct and nearly savage tribes inhabiting different islands; over 30,000 Chinese, with numerous mestizos; and about 20,000 pure Spanish, mostly Manila - all together make up a population estimated at 7,650,000. The number of dialects spoken is said to be about 500.
The discovery of the Philippines is due to Magellan, who on the first voyage by white men across the Pacific, in 1521, landed at Cebu. Here he joined the friendly ruler in an attack upon his enemies, and was killed.
For nearly 400 years the Philippines were subject to Spain. Growing discontent under the tyranny and oppressive taxation of Spanish rule incited the more civilized natives to insurrection, which broke out in 1896. During the war between Spain and the United States, in 1898, Admiral Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, and upon the conclusion of the war the entire group of islands was ceded to the United States.
Manila, the capital, is a walled city of 220,000 inhabitants, situated on a
large bay of the same name. It is the main port for foreign commere, and has
many modern improvements, including paved streets and electric lights.
Cavite, 15 miles from Manila, is a naval and military station. Iloilo, in the island of Panay, is the second city of importance, and has a large trade in sugar. Cebu, capital of the island Cebu, is a well-built city of 18,000 people. Several other cities and towns have populations ranging from 1000 to 20,000 each.
GUAM (see reference map XXIII) is the largest and most populous of the Ladrones,
discovered by Magellan on his famous voyage and so named on account of the
thieving habits of the natives (ladrones is Spanish for "thieves").
These natives, enslaved and oppressed by the Spaniards, were finally exterminated, and were succeeded by immigrants from Mexico and the Philippines.
Guam is important only as a naval and coaling station, and cable landing.
WAKE ISLAND (see reference map XXI) is an atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, between Guam and the Hawaiian Islands. It has no inhabitants, and was seized by the United States in 1899.
TUTUILA (see reference map XXIII) is one of the three largest if a group known
as the Samoa Islands; it is about 18 miles long, and 6 miles wide, and lies
about 14° south of the equator and nearly 3000 miles east of northern Australia.
The natives are noted for their strength, bravery, and intelligence.
For several years the Samoa Islands were governed by their own king, under the joint control of Great Britain, Germany, and the United States.
By a recent treaty Great Britain relinquished her claim, and Tutuila and several other islands were ceded to the United States. The excellent harbor of Pago Pago is occupied as a naval and coaling station.