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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.

Ireland, Japan, Central Africa, India

(facing page)


      IRELAND, known to the Greeks by the name Ierne (Erin) and to the Romans by the name Hibernia, is the second largest of the British Isles, and is washed on the N. W. and S. sides by the Atlantic Oceand and separated from Great Britain by the N. Channel, the Irish Sea and St. George's Channel. Dublin, the capital, first mentioned by Ptolemy, is one of the finest cities in the Empire, and is situated at the head of Dublin Bay. A Lord Lieutenant is head of the executive government, and is assisted by a Privy Council and Chief Secretary.
      Area, 32,531 square miles; population 1881, 5,174,836. Between 1853 and 1889 2,289,735 Irish emigrants landed in the United States.
      The great central portion of Ireland is flat, and not less than 2,830,000 acres is bog, but much of the soil is of singular fertility. The climate is milder and moister than that of Great Britain, and clothes the plains and valleys with the richest pasture, procuring for Ireland the name of the Emerald Isle.
      The coast inlets, called Loughs, are many and of great extent. The lakes of Killarney, three in number, in Kerry, and under shadow of the loftiest mountains in the island, are widely famed for their romantic beauty.
      The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, beans, peas. The live stock comprises horses, cattle, sheep and pigs. The most important manufacture is that of linen. Other industries are muslin sewing, lace making and woolen and worsted goods. There is a considerable amount of whisky distilling and porter brewing. The Shamrock (trefoil) is the national badge of Ireland.


      JAPAN (Niphon, "land of the rising sun") is an insular empire in the E. of Asia, comprising the four large islands of Niphon (the Japanese mainland), Sikok, Kiusiu and Yesso, and as many as 3,500 smaller ones, including the Kurile Islands.
      The system of government of the Japanese Empire was that of an absolute monarchy. A Constitution was, however, promulgated on February 11, 1889. By it the Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in himself the rights of sovereignty and exercising the whole of the executive powers, with the advice and assistance of the Cabinet Ministers. There is also a Privy Council. The Emperor exercises the legislative power, with the consent of the Imperial Diet, consisting of two Houses.
      Area, 146,544 square miles; population, 33,623,379.
      The climate varies greatly, but in the central part is generally mild and agreeable. The land is cultivated chiefly by peasant proprietors, tenancy being rare. The Japanese are good agriculturists and pay great attention to irrigation, manures and the rotation of crops, and their soil, a fertile friable loam, is chiefly under tea and rice, but other products are cotton, tobacco, wheat, maize, potatoes and vegetables. Fruits are abundant. The mineral wealth is great, and the waters abound in fish, which, in addition to rice, forms the staple food of the people.
      The Japanese are singularly skillful in the manufacture of silks and cottons, and are unsurpassed for the exquisite beauty of their porcelain, lacquer work and bronzes. The Japanese are an agreeable, sprightly, polished people; ingenious, clean and frugal.


      CENTRAL AFRICA contains several semi-barbarous independent States, the Sultans of which are, in principle, absolute monarchs. These States are, the CENTRAL SOUDAN STATES, Bornu and Wadai; RUANDA, in the equatorial lake region, and LUNDA, to the east of the Portugese African Colonies. Under this head may also be included the old Egyptian Soudan.
      Bornu is the most populous Mohammedan State in Central Soudan, and occupies the western and southern sides of Lake Tsad. Wadai is at present the most powerful State in Central Soudan, and has several vassal States. The Arabs have been settled in the country for over 500 years. Their traders send caravans south and west bartering salt and manufactured goods for ivory, slaves, ostrich feathers and copper; but the political power is in the hands of the Mohammedan Mabas, a negro people.
      DAHOMEY has in recent years been greatly reduced in size and strength, and will probably soon be annexed to France. The natives are of pure negro stock, and fetish worshippers, and are industrious agriculturists.
      The LUNDA EMPIRE is still the largest and most populous in the whole of the Congo basin. Its ruler is suzerain of about 300 vassal chiefs and kinglets, who pay tribute in kind-ivory, lion and leopard skins, corn and salt. The chief exports are ivory and slaves.
      The CONGO FREE STATE was placed under the sovereignty of the King of the Belgians by the International Congo Conference, and declared neutral and free to the trade of all nations.
      The principal exports of CENTRAL AFRICA are palm oils, India rubber, gum copal, ground nuts, ivory, coffee and cam-wood.


      INDIA is the geographical term applied to the central peninsula of Southern Asia, which is bounded on its landward base by the Himalaya Mountains and the rivers Indus and Brahmaputra.
      Here, the word India will be understood in its modern political signification, as comprehending the entire region over which Queen Victoria exercises supremacy as Empress of India; excluding Ceylon and the Straits settlements of Singapore, &c., the administration of which is in the hands of governors, under control of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and not of the Indian Government.
      The executive authority is vested in a Governor-General (appointed by the Crown, and acting under order of the Secretary of State for India), and assisted by a Council of not less than 10 members.
      The total area is 1,425,700 square miles. The population 255,000,000.
      The physical aspect is extremely varied, and represents the grandeur of tropical phenomena on a most impressive scale. The Himalaya Mountains exhibit both the loftiest peaks and the highest level of elevation in the world. The delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, is perhaps the most fertile spot in the world.
      The climate is thoroughly tropical, except in the most favored hill stations.
      The chief industry has always been agriculture. Rice, millets, barley, wheat, grain and maize form the staple food-grains. Fruit trees, vegetables and spices abound. The commerce and trade is very large and annually increasing. Exports include raw cotton, yarn, opium, wheat, rice, jute, tea, coffee and indigo.
      Calcutta, the city of palaces, is the residence of the Governor-General, and the greatest Eastern commercial centre.