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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.

The Netherlands, Arabia, China, Afghanistan

(facing page)


      THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS (low lands) or Holland, lies to the north of Belgium and to the east of the North Sea. In many parts the surface is below the level of the adjacent canal, or river, and even of the sea. A great part of the coast is defended by sand hills, which the natives protect by sowing them with binding grasses, and in other places enormous dykes have been built.
      By the Constitution the Netherlands forms a Constitutional and hereditary monarchy. The executive power belongs exclusively to the Sovereign, while the whole legislative authority rests conjointly in the Sovereign and Parliament, the latter, called the States-General, consisting of two chambers.
      The area of the Netherlands is 12,740 square miles, and estimated population 4,114,000. The Colonial possession, situated in the East and West Indies, embrace an area of 76,137 square miles, with a total population of 29,550,000.
      Holland is chiefly a grazing country. The cheese of Gouda, Leyden & Edam is famous. There are valuable fisheries along the coast and, in various parts of the North Sea. The diamond-cutting trade of Amsterdam is the largest in the world. Among the chief manufactures are the linens known as "Hollands," the gin which goes by the same name, Delft pottery and Utrect carpets. Chief among the exports are butter, cheese, live animals (principally cows and sheep). Other leading exports (mainly the produce of the Dutch colonies) are coffee, mostly exported to the United States, sugar, raw cotton, tobacco, spices and dried fruits. THE HAGUE, the capital, is a handsome, fashionable, healthy city, intersected by numerous canals.


      ARABIA, the great peninsula of south western Asia, connected with Africa by the Isthmus of Suez, and with the Asiatic Continent by the Syrian Desert, has an area estimated at 968,000 square miles, of which one-third is irreclaimable desert.
      The population is estimated at 3,700,000. The whole of the West maritime region of Arabia belongs to the Ottoman Empire, other regions being under the Dominion of the Sultans of Shomer, of Wahhabi and of Oman or Muscat; while Hadramant, the strip of coast region extending along the Indian Ocean from Aden to Dofar, is occupied by independent tribes. Aden, on the S. coast, belongs to England and is occupied as a military station.
      In the lowlands and upon the strips of desert the heat is intense. In the central highlands the climate is delightful, and here corn, vegetables, and most of the sub-tropical products are grown with success.
      In Arabia the best coffee and dates are produced and exported, besides gums, myrrh, and various spices, senna and other drugs, and pearls from the Persian Gulf. Cotton, indigo and tobacco are also cultivated. The principal domestic animals are the camel, the celebrated breed of horses, oxen, sheep and goats.
      The Koran is the basis of Arabian theology and jurisprudence. "The Arabian Nights Entertainments" still rank as perhaps the most graceful and interesting collection of fabulous and romantic lore in existence.


      THE CHINESE EMPIRE, the oldest, most populous and, after the Russian and British Empires, the greatest in territorial extent in the world, may be said to occupy the whole of the eastern division of the Asiatic continent south of Asiatic Russia and east of British Burmah.
      There is no law of hereditary succession to the throne, but it is left to each sovereign to appoint his successor from among the members of his family of a younger generation than his own. The supreme direction of the Empire is vested in the Privy Council. The administration is under the supreme direction of the Cabinet, comprising four members, besides two assistants from the Great College.
      Area, 4,455,000 square miles. Population, 380,000,000. The capital is Pekin.
      China is singularly compact. The surface of the country presents every variety from Alpine regions to far extending tracts, flat, alluvial and fertile. It contains innumerable lakes and rivers, all abundantly stored with fish. The climate varies in the different quarters of the country, and the soil is as various as the climate. The richest soil is formed by the detritus of the rivers.
      China is essentially an agricultural country. The cultivation of rice (the staple food of the Chinese), tea, cotton, hemp, sugar and grain, and the manufacture of silk, opium, paper, porcelain and lacquerware are the principal industries.
      China is one of the first coal counties in the world. The most renowned of the great national works of China is the Great Wall, 1,400 miles long. Great Britain has, by treaty, right of access to twenty-three Chinese ports.


      AFGHANISTAN, a country of Asia, is bounded N. by Turkestan, E. by the Punjab, S. by Beloochistan, and W. by Persia. Its mountainous character makes it a valuable barrier for the protection of India. The Hindoo Koosh mountains extend along the northern frontier, rising in alpine grandeur to heights of more than 20,000 feet.
      The government of Afghanistan is monarchical, under one hereditary prince, entitled the Ameer, whose power varies with his own character and fortune.
      The estimated area is 278,000 square miles, and the Ameer's subjects number about 4,000,000. Some independent mountain tribes are scattered along the northwest frontier of India. The Afghans are a brave race, strongly influenced by national sentiment, but addicted to predatory strife, and treacherous beyond even Asiatic bounds.
      In the winter of 1841, during the retreat of the British by the Khyber Pass from Cabul, the severity of the weather and cruelty of the enemy spared neither woman nor child, and, of a host numbering 15,000, only one man (Dr. Brydon) reached Jelalabad.
      Owing to the inequality of surface and irregular distribution of water, the climate of Afghanistan varies greatly.
      On the high table-lands of the north, the fruits of Europe grow wild; the fertile terraces produce aromatic herbs, tobacco, rhubarb and assafoetida; luxuriant Indian vegetation covers the deep valleys; and in the southern plains cotton and sugar are cultivated. The country is rich in copper and in other metals. The production of silks and the manufacture of felts, carpets and rosaries are some of the principal industries.