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south-west. At that time, and even in September and October, the ports of San Blas and Acapulco are of very difficult access. Even in the fine season, from the month of October to the month of May (verano de la mar del Sur), the tranquillity of the Pacific Ocean is interrupted on this coast by impetuous winds from the north-east and the north-north-east, known by the names of papagallo and tehuantepec. Having myself experienced one of these tempests, I shall in another place proceed to examine whether these purely local winds are the effect of . the neighbouring volcanos, as some navigators seem to think, or whether they proceed from the narrowness of the Mexican isthmus. We might be led to believe that the equilibrium of the atmosphere being disturbed in the months of January and February on the coast of the Atlantic, the agitated air flows back with impetuosity towards the Great Ocean. According to this supposition, the Tehuantepec is merely the effect, or rather the continuation of the north wind of the Mexican gulf and the brisottes of St. Martha. It renders the coast of Solinas and la Ventosa almost as inaccessible as that of Nicaragua and Guatimala, where violent south-west winds prewail during the months of August and September, known by the name of tapayaguas. These south-west winds are accompanied with

thunder and excessive rains, while the tehuantepec and papagallos” exert their violence during a clear and azure sky. Thus at certain periods almost all the coasts of New Spain are dangerous for navigators.

* The papagallos blow particularly from Cape Blanc de Nicoya (latitude 9°30') to l'Ensenada de S. Catharina (latitude 10° 45').

BOOK II.

GENERAL POPULATION OF NEW SPAIN. DIVISION OF THE INHABITANTS INTO CASTS.

CHAPTER IV.

General enumeration in 1793. Progress of the population in the ten following years. Proportion of births to burials.

The physical view which we have been rapidly sketching proves, that in Mexico, as elsewhere, nature has very unequally distributed her benefits. But men, unable to appreciate the wisdom of this distribution, neglect the riches which are within their reach. Collected together on a small extent of territory, in the centre of the kingdom, on the very ridge of the Cordillera, they have allowed the regions of the greatest fertility and the nearest to the coast to remain waste and uninhabited. \

. The population of the United States is concentrated in the Atlantic division, that is to say, the long and narrow district between the sea and the Alleghany mountains. In the capitania general of Caraccas, the only inhabited and well cultivated

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districts are those of the maritime regions:—in
Mexico improvement and civilization are banished
into the interior of the country. In this the
Spanish conquerors have merely trod in the steps
of the conquered nations. The Aztecs, origin-
ally from a country to the north of the Rio Gila,
perhaps even emigrants from the most northern
parts of Asia, in their progress towards the south
never quitted the ridge of the Cordillera, preferring
these cold regions to the excessive heat of the
CO2St.
That part of Anahuac which composed the
kingdom of Montezuma on the arrival of Cortez
did not equal in surface the eighth part of the
present kingdom of New Spain. The kings of
Acolhuacan, Tlacopan, and Michuacan, were in-
dependent princes. The great cities of the Az-
tecs, and the best cultivated territories were in
the environs of the capital of Mexico, particularly
in the fine valley of Tenochtitlan. This alone
was a sufficient reason to induce the Spaniards to
establish there the centre of their new empire; but
they loved also to inhabit plains whose climate re-
sembled that of their own country, and where they

could cultivate the wheat and fruit trees of Europe.

Indigo, cotton, sugar and coffee, the four great objects of West Indian commerce, were to the conquerors of the sixteenth century of very inferior interest; they sought after the precious metals

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