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Among the five theaters, the most notable is the Solis, a large and beautiful building with seating capacity for 3,000 spectators.
Among the many banking institutions, may be mentioned the London and River Plate Bank, the English Bank of the River Plate, the Italian Bank, the Bank of Spain, and the French Bank.
About a league distant from the city, is a magnificent park, belonging to the municipality, called El Prado. It is adorned with beautiful groves and embellished with fountains and statues. It is much frequented by the populace of the capital, and is the favorite place for the festivities and celebrations of the local clubs and societies.
Mention should not be omitted of the three great dry docks, which admit the largest vessels for repairs.
At Villa del Cerro, reached by steamer or rowboat, some of the saladeros, where animals are slaughtered and meat packed for exportation, and the coaling stations can be visited.
Villa Colon, 6 miles from Montevideo, has a meteorological observatory, and Pocitos, a fashionable bathing place, is reached by tram cars running at intervals of ten minutes.
The Department possessed, in 1886, 11,382 landed properties, and an area of 61,587 acres of land under cultivation, and 38,513 uncultivated, the value of both being estimated at 94,510,882 pesos. During the year 1891, the sales of landed property in this Department exceeded three times the amount of those in the whole Republic in 1886. It may be remarked that two-thirds of said property is in the hands of foreigners. Twelve thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven taxpayers contributed to the municipal revenues, in 1886–87, 494,107 pesos.
On the north lies the Department of Canelones, which, next to Montevideo, is the most important, as well as the most densely populated of the Departments. It covers an area of 1,834 square miles. It is crossed from east to west by a low chain of hills, but the rest of its surface is rolling. The soil is fertile, but the land
is poor in minerals; though in certain localities granite, slate, and other building stones are quarried. All the grains adapted to the latitude are successfully grown, and the production is greater than in any other
part of the country. The raising of cattle has fallen off greatly from its former importance, when it was the almost exclusive occupation of the people. In 1887 it sent to the capital 18,775 head of cattle and 237 horses.
Villa Guadalupe, is the capital of the Department and the seat of its government. It is a town of about 3,500 inhabitants, 30 miles from Montevideo, on the Central Uruguay Railroad. Several flour mills are located at this place, and the town boasts of some fine buildings and a spacious public square.
About 5 miles off the coast is the island of Flores, belonging to this Department, where a quarantine hospital, or lazaretto has been established, connected by cable with Montevideo.
Pando and La Paz are commercial and manufacturing towns of some importance, and eleven other small centers of population have each its church and free schools.
Las Piedras, noted for the victory gained by the patriots over the royalists in 1811, has an ostrich farm.
Santa Lucía, a bathing resort on the river of the same name, possesses many fine residences, a public library, and an establishment for pork-packing.
The Department of Maldonado, east of Canelones and lying on the Plata, has an area of 15,850 square miles, and a population of 15,757 inhabitants. It is crossed in different directions by several mountain chains, whose highest peaks measure no more than 1,575 feet in altitude, and by valleys well watered by numerous streams bordered with forest growth. The climate is temperate and salubrious, and the soil is fertile and well suited to agriculture. The capital, Maldonado, founded in 1763, is a naval station, and possesses some good buildings and a public school, Escuela Ramirez, which is considered as one of the best in the country. It has a considerable coasting trade, and among other things supplies limestone to the capital, from which it is 60 miles distant.
In 1888, the entries of vessels in the harbor of Maldonado were 154, of which 34 were foreign, with a total tonnage of 16,916
There are four other towns in this Department, of which Villa de San Carlos is the largest.
The latest accessible statistics give the value of the real estate of the Department as 11,821,113 pesos, held by 4,693 proprietors. The municipal revenues for 1886–’87 amounted to 44,039 pesos.
There are several well-organized agricultural establishments, supplied with modern machinery, which have extensive tracts under cultivation. A large vineyard has been planted near Pan de Azúcar, and the Government and private enterprise have planted a few agricultural colonies, but by far the greater part of the land is uncultivated, tillage being confined to the vicinity of the towns.
In 1888, the number of neat cattle in the Department was estimated as 108,123; horses, 7,615; mules, 4.300; sheep, 277,372, and other domestic animals, 2,027.
The only indication of the business transactions is the number of licenses granted, which in 1888 were issued for 118 commercial houses and 206 other industries and branches of business. In the there were entered at the
port of Maldonado 2,211 tons of merchandise, and the exports were estimated at 6,995 tons.
Back of the town of Pan de Azúcar, on the coast, lies the mining district, in which several mines have been opened, the principal one of which, the “Oriental,” has been extensively worked.
San José, another of the Departments of the southern group, lies on the Plata, between Canelones and Colonia. It has an area square
miles. A chain of hills traverses it from northwest to southeast. The
soil is fertile and well adapted to the raising of grain. Scattered over its surface, are the estancias for the raising of cattle, in the midst of the grass-covered prairies, where their herds find pasture.
. The capital of the Department is San José, situated on a hill overlooking the river of the same name, and at about 57 miles from Montevideo, with which it has railroad connection. It
possesses a historic interest derived from the victories of the patriots under Artigas, and during the war with Brazil in 1825, and 1826 it was the capital of the nation. Its population is about 7,000, and it
possesses some fine buildings, among which is one of the most notable church edifices in the country. There are three small towns and three colonies in the Department.
Several mineral deposits of various kinds have been discovered, but have been but slightly worked. Among the minerals found there are iron, manganese, gold, copper, agate, and porphyry.
The low price of cereals and lack of means of transportation are chiefly responsible for the backward agricultural condition of this Department. The annual production of the leading crops is 116,700 bushels of wheat, 264,520 of corn, 6,224 of potatoes, and 20,000 watermelons.
The planting of several colonies in the Department has given a certain stimulus to agricultural development. The Paullier Brothers’ Colony, two hours and a half journey from San José, occupies an area of 4,700 hectares, where about 400 cows are milked daily and cheese of the Gruyère kind is made. The milk is churned by machinery and the entire process and management are of the most improved sort. Flax, the vine, potatoes, tobacco, and the palma-christi are successfully cultivated by the colonists. The land is divided into 72 lots of 40 to 80 hectares each. This Department has 15 public and 32 private schools, with an attendance of about 2,000 pupils.
The Department of Colonia lies to the west of San José, on the Plata and the lower part of the river Uruguay, which sep