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THE RESOURCES OF URUGUAY.
To no other country in the world has nature been more lavish of her favors than to the Eastern Republic of the Uruguay; nowhere has she gathered or distributed more favorable conditions of life or national prosperity than in the comparatively small Republic to which she has appointed as boundaries three fair rivers and a sunny sea.
On her fertile plains grows the pasture for the countless herds that up to the present constitute the chief national wealth; in her valleys and on her hills are mingled the vegetations of the tropics and the temperate zones, and in the bosom of her mountains lie the stores of mineral wealth which are to contribute to the greatness and activity of her future. The luxuriance of the vegetation is rivaled only by its variety, and the only limit for centuries to the production of the soil is the amount of labor that can be devoted to its cultivation, and the scarcity of which hitherto has been the chief obstacle to the development of the boundless resources of the country.
Unfortunately, too little attention was given in former times to the gathering and publishing of statistics, so that any comparative exhibit of agricultural, commercial, or industrial operations must be unsatisfactory. In 1889, 1,725 tons of grain and 74 tons of flour, total value, $151,000, and in 1890, 16,302 tons of grain and 50 tons of flour, total value, $1,025,000, were exported.
In 1893 (June 25), the following table of crop production was published officially:
It is only during recent years that attention has been turned to the improvement of the breeds of animals in Uruguay, but already considerable progress has been made in this direction, through the importation of thoroughbred cattle from Europe.
Not only do the grazing lands support the herds raised in the Republic, but hundreds of thousands of young cattle are brought across the Uruguay from the Argentine to fatten on the rich pastures of the country. The Departments of Salto and Paysandú receive many animals froin this source. Immense quantities of charque, or jerked beef, are shipped to Brazil and to Europe, and since the abolition of export duties, the trade in this article has greatly increased.
There were estimated to exist in 1891 in the Republic about 8,690,000 neat cattle, about 23,000,000 sheep, 599,000 horses, 11,000 mules, 24,000 goats, and 23,000 swine. From 1878 to 1888, there were slaughtered in Uruguay 7,423,725 cattle. In 1888, the number was 740,000; in 1889, 708,923; in 1890, 642,000; in 1891 (estimated) 667,100. The total exportation of jerked beef in 1888 was 92,962,976 pounds. The average price of this article for the five years ending with 1888 was $3.25 per hundredweight. In 1889, the number of cattle in the country was estimated to be 5,281,522.
The Liebig works for the preparation of extract of meat have been mentioned in the description of the Department of Rio Negro. There are also other establishments of a similar kind in the country, one called “Cibils,” at Salto, and a large one at Trinidad, but no information of their production is accessible.
Sheep farming is receiving increased attention latterly, and, apart from the value of the wool, it is becoming as important as the cattle industry. Frozen carcasses are shipped by steamer in large quantities to Europe. The improvement of the breeds of sheep will increase largely the value of the wool clip in the future. In 1889, the exports of wool amounted to 98,863,469 pounds, and in 1890, to 47,740,390 pounds. For the first quarter of the fiscal year 1891, the exportation of live stock, slaughter-house products, rural products, other products and provisions for vessels, amounted to $3,592,783; same period 1892, $3,520,447. But for the first quarter of the calendar year 1892, the exportation of these articles amounted to $8,398,302; for same period 1893, $8,234,594.
The exports of sheepskins increased from 7,964,361 pounds in 1881 to 15,129,974 in 1887. In 1889, the number of hides exported was 1,810,000 and in 1890, 2,506,202.
Of agricultural development in Uruguay, it may be said that the hopes of the future are not built upon the experience of the past; for up to the present time, growth in this branch has been quite unsatisfactory. There has been progress, but it has been feeble. The establishment of agricultural colonies, however, which is being pushed with much activity, promises better results, and the consequent influx of labor to be devoted to the tillage of the fertile soil can not fail to change the present unsatisfactory condition.
In this branch particularly, statistical data are wanting or are so few and imperfect as to be of little value. Up to 1877, flour and wheat were imported into the country, and as since that time no importations have been made, enough grain has been raised for home consumption, and from 1885 to 1888, about 78,000,000 pounds of flour have been exported. The number of grist mills is given as 71, of which 60 are operated by steam and 11 by
The cultivation of the vine is increasing satisfactorily, and sufficient wine is already made to diminish sensibly the demand for foreign importation. The Department of Salto is pushing this industry with energy. An official report gives 756 acres planted in vineyards. One of the wine-growers already produces about 1,000 casks of red wine annually, its value being $50 per cask. A company with a capital of $100,000 has been formed in Montevideo for the development of this industry. A list of wine-growers, confessedly incomplete, gives the number of 78 for the whole country.
The Republịc of Uruguay is becoming famous for the abundance, excellence, and variety of its fruit, and of late years, the exportation of pears and apples to Buenos Aires and Brazil has become of great importance. The fine strawberries of the country are to be seen in the markets of Rio de Janeiro, together with peaches and plums from the same source. Apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums, lemons, limes, pomegranates, and grapes thrive throughout the entire territory, while in the northern part, near the Brazilian border, grow the banana, the cocoanut, the pineapple, the orange, and many other tropical and semitropical fruits. Quinces are so abundant as to form forests, and the making of preserves from this fruit constitutes a valuable industry.
The flora of the country is abundant and various. The flowers