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Fifty Principal Nations of the World

(Actual Size: 6-7/8" x 11-1/8" - shown approx. 1/2 scale)
CLICK on any map to see the corresponding card as it was originally issued.

France, Central America, Greenland, Switzerland

(facing page)


       FRANCE, one of the largest and most important countries of Europe, is bounded N. by the English Channel and the Strait of Dover; W. by the Bay of Biscay; S. by the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea.
Since September 4, 1870, France has been under a Republican form of government. The legislative power is vested in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and the executive in the President (elected for seven years) and the Ministry.
       The surface of France is on the whole a somewhat monotonous plain, inclining gently downwards from the Alps and the Pyrenees in a north-westerly direction to the Atlantic. The climate is remarkably fine.
       Area 204,080 square miles; population 37, 672,000. The country is essentially agricultural, the South rich in vines and fruits, the North in wheat and other cereals. The French have long been esteemed the first of wine-makers. France has many industries, the principal being the production of silks and velvets. Paris, the capital (and by far the most beautiful of the large cities of Europe, singularly rich in public buildings, and especially palaces), is noted for the variety and extent of its manufactures, including machinery, chemicals, porcelain, mirrors, clocks, watches, gloves, hosiery, modes, and above all in jewelry; Sèvres has great manufactures of porcelain and glass ware; Rheims, of merinoes; Gobelins, of tapestry and cashmeres.
       France has productive coast fisheries. The Normandy breed of horses is famous.
       The colonial possessions and protectorates of France (including Algeria), dispersed over Asia, Africa, America and Polynesia, embrace a total area of 2,814,000 square miles with a population of 30,520,293.


      CENTRAL AMERICA forms the connecting link between the two greater divisions of the continent, and comprises the Republics of Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and the British Colony of Balize or British Honduras.
      Area, 179,742 square miles. Population, 2,417,300.
      The executive government of the republics is vested in Governors, and the legislative in National Assemblies, Councils, or Congress of Deputies.
      GUATEMALA has an exceedinly fertile soil, and minerals exist, but are little worked. Sixty per cent. of population are pure Indians.
      HONDURAS has forests or mahogany and other cabinet woods, and is rich in gold, silver, copper and coal, which are, however, little wrought.
      NICARAGUA has left her magnificent resources almost wholly undeveloped, and the chief occupation is the rearing of cattle, carried on in a rude fashion.
      SALVADOR is the smallest but most densely populated, and next to Costa Rica, most advanced of the Republics of Central America. San Salvador, the capital, has been repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes.
      In COSTA RICA almost anything can be grown, but in 1889 the principal agricultural products were coffee and bananas.
      BALIZE is noted for its production of mahogany and logwood. The transit trade greatly increases the traffic of her ports.
      The principal exports from Central America are coffee and indigo; others are hides, skins, cocoanuts, bananas, pineapples, sugar, gums and drugs, Peruvian balsam," mahogany and other woods.


      GREENLAND, a polar region belonging to Denmark, being a large island or cluster of islands of unknown size, N.E. of the N. American continent. Its area is about 46,740 square miles, and the population in 1880 was 9,780, composed of native Eskimos and some Danes. The east coast is quite desolate and almost inaccessible, being beset by immense ice fields, from which great floes constantly pass around Cape Farewell to the west coast, the only part of Greenland hitherto at all explored. For about 100 miles this west part presents first an outward sea-board strip from 15 to 150 miles broad, cut with bays, and skirted with islands. This strip hides an "underland" less bleak, yet well nigh barren of plant life, but farther inland the vegetation becomes less stinted, though still restricted to the valleys and lower slopes where are found grass and shrubbery plants yelding "ling-fuel," also whortleberries, bilberries and crake-berries, which are universally used as food. Corn cannot be ripened. For fuel; turf, drift timber, and train-oil are chiefly used. Of animals, the natives have only the dog. Hares, foxes, bears, penguins and other sea birds are hunted. But it is the capture of seals (90,000 to 100,000 are taken yearly) that supports the life of the Greenlanders and makes Greenland of any importance. As early as the 9th century the Norwegian prosecuted the whale fishery in Greenland. Owing to the scarcity of whales, the fishery has decreased rapidly. America at present leads the van in the matter of fishing enterprise. At Godhaven (Herrnhut) the sun is six, and at Upernavik eleven and a half weeks below the horizon, but there always remain two or three hours clear enough for reading the smallest print.


      SWITZERLAND is a united confederacy of 22 Cantons. The present Constitution came into force on May 29, 1874, having received the national sanction by a general vote of the people, given April 19, 1874. It vests the supreme legislative and executive authority in a parliament of two chambers, a State Council and a Nationl Council. Both chambers united are called the Federal Assem bly, and as such represent the supreme Government of the Republic. The chief executive authority is deputed to a 'Bundesrath,' or Federal Council, consisting of seven members, elected for three years by the Federal Assembly.
      The area of Switzerland is 15,910 square miles, and the soil of the country is very equally divided among the population, which in 1880 was 2,846,000. Berne is the political capital.
      Switzerland is in the main an agricultural country, though with a strong tendency to manufacturing industries. The dairy products, especially cheese and condensed milk, are of the most commercial importance. About 22 millions of gallons of wine are produced annually. Amongst the chief exports are cottons, silk, lace, wools, clocks and watches, wood-carvings and machinery. Rye, oats and potatoes are the chief crops.
      The physical features of Switzerland are very remarkable, affording greater contrasts than those of any other country in Europe; offering to the eye sublime snow capped mountains and glaciers, alternating with the most beautiful vally, river, lake and woodland scenery. Mont Blanc towers to a height of 15,781 feet and the Matterhorn, a famous needle-shaped peak, to 14,780 feet.
      The characteristic animals are the chamois, steinbock, the lammergeyer (a large species of vulture) and the marmot.