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a deepwater harbor. The Papaloapan River which empties into the Gulf of Mexico, near Vera Cruz, has been dredged and made navigable. Its principal tributary, the Santo Domingo, has been treated in a like manner. The opening of these rivers for boat traffic has proved of great benefit to the many towns and plantations which are situated in the interior. A direct outlet for their products is now afforded. The Coatzacoalcos River, on the isthmus of Tehuantepec, is a stream of considerable importance from a traffic standpoint.
Far down in the tropics and emptying into the Gulf of Campeche at Frontera is the Grijalva River. It is one of the broadest and most imposing streams in Mexico. Large boats ply regularly up this stream to San Juan Bautista, a distance of about seventy-five miles. The smaller boats go much farther, the boat traffic extending into the mountains where the stream has its source. The Usumacinta River is the principal tributary of the Grijalva. It is navigable far beyond the Guatemala line in which country it has its source.
On the Pacific' side of Mexico are several rivers which are of navigable the ports of Manzanillo and Mazatlan size. The Balsas is a large stream, but is navigable for some distance from its rapids along its upper course interfere mouth and affords an outlet for an exwith the operation of larger boats. The tensive territory that is without railroad Rio Grande de Santiago which empties transportation facilities. The Mayo and into the Pacific about midway between Yaqui rivers are navigable streams, but
on account of the undeveloped state of at the mouth of the Tuxpan River their rich valleys and tributary country makes it impossible for the larger boats they are used but little by boats.
to enter that port, and these adverse As an adjunct to the navigable streams conditions were a constant menace to and deepwater ports of the eastern the traffic between the two ports. The region of Mexico the government is greatest incentive, however, that led to building an intercoastal canal. This the determination on the part of the waterway is of the same character that government to build the intercoastal is proposed along the gulf coast of canal was the fact that the country exLouisiana and Mexico to connect with tending back from the coast is teeming the Mississippi and Rio Grande rivers, in natural richness and was only awaitthe importance of an intercoastal canal ing an outlet for its product to start it system was recognized by the Mexican on the road to wonderful development. government and the first step towards Although the first section of sixty-six constructing the waterway was taken ten miles of the canal has been opened but years ago. The canal now under con- a short time an enormous traffic through tract will be one hundred and four miles it has been developed and the tributary long. It will connect the ports of country has taken on new life and is Tampico and Tuxpan. The first section pouring its tropical and other products of sixty-six miles is finished and in into the market at Tampico. A large operation. The canal will not be finished number of Americans have gone into the until about 1914. It took five years to region and have acquired plantations build the first sixty-six miles, and the which they are working by modern amount of dredging and excavation to methods with splendid results. Pinebe done on the second section is greater apples, bananas, coffee, corn, sugar cane than on the portion already completed. and many other products are grown with This intercoastal waterway has a width wonderful success. of seventy-five feet and a uniform depth It is claimed that when the canal of ten and one-half feet. It connects reaches Tuxpan a country of still with the Panuco River about four miles greater richness and possibilities will be below the city of Tampico. At the point opened up. The valley of the Tuxpan where it joins the Panuco the water in River is one of the choicest agricultural the latter stream is fifty feet deep. On parts of Mexico. It has no railroad the opposite bank of the river are gov- outlet and the little traffic that is done is ernment wharves and the docks of large through the undeveloped port of Tuxprivate concerns where the ocean-going pan. No market is available for the vessels load and discharge their cargoes. tropical fruits which grow abundantly The canal is of a width and depth suffi- there, and the territory with its great cient for the ordinary lake boats and natural resources is literally bottled up. river craft. The natives use long and The intercoastal canal will remove the narrow boats which are made with the barrier that has always existed to the view of carrying the largest possible car- development of the region, and it is exgoes. These boats are propelled by pected that a marvelous change will means of long poles, unless the wind quickly follow the completion of the should be favorable, in which case sails waterway. There are good indications are hoisted. The opening of the first of oil at many places in the territory section of the canal quickly developed adjacent to the route of the canal. One a great traffic and hundreds of these American company has developed its oil sınall boats are now constantly travers- land holdings on a considerable scale, ing the new waterway, bringing the having a number of producing wells and products of the plantations and ranches an oil refinery which is in regular operato market and taking back with them tion. Many hundreds of thousands of supplies of various kinds.
acres of prospective oil land have been A trip by small boat between Tampico acquired by Americans in that region and and Tuxpan by way of the gulf is dan- prospect wells are being bored at many gerous on account of the gales that fre- points. Several producing wells have quently come up unexpectedly. The bar been brought in at Furbero, fifty miles from Tuxpan. Oil has been struck in excavation work on the Tampico end paying quantities at other places in that on March 12, 1903. He has the contract territory.
for building the second division. A. B. No great engineering difficulties are Hitchman is the chief engineer. to be encountered in the building of the Lying about midway between Tampico Tampico - Tuxpan intercoastal canal. and Tuxpan is Lake Tamiahua. This Captain Charles Shillaber of Chicago has lake is seventy-nine miles long and from been connected with the enterprise since five to twenty miles wide. It has a conits inception. In fact, he suggested the nection with the Gulf of Mexico through idea for building the waterway to the the Tanguijo River which flows from its government. This was in 1898. He extreme lower end and runs parallel with spent nearly five years in making surveys the coast for about eighteen miles, and perfecting the plans for the work emptying into the gulf a few miles north He was given the contract for the first of Tuxpan. This is a sluggish stream, division of sixty-six miles and began the and the salt water from the gulf enters through it and makes the water of the of the water. The formation at this lake or lagoon briny. The project of point was rock and the material had to damming this river at the point where be loosened by blasting. It is estimated it leaves the lake is under consideration, that the removal of about 2,300,000 cubic By doing this the current of the stream meters of material is involved in the would be thrown into the canal and construction of the second division of diverted into the Tuxpan River. The thirty-four miles. The hardest work will lake is fed by five rivers which have be in solid sand and oyster shell reefs. their source in the adjacent mountains. The canal will traverse the length of
There is a chain of small lakes or Lake Tampamachoco, just to the north lagoons connecting with Lake Tamiahua of the Tuxpan River. This lake is on the north for several miles. The about three miles long and two miles water in Lake Tamiahua has a depth wide. It is only two and one-half to ranging from three to fifteen feet. The three feet deep. To reach the Tuxpan channel through the lake was opened by River from this lake a channel will have means of dredges. The bottom of the to be cut through a strip of land about lake is a shell bank and the hard material one and one-half miles wide. The cut when thrown upon the sides of the through this strip will be from five to waterway rises above the surface of the fifteen feet above the water level. water in places. Wherever banks are The dredges used in the construction formed in this manner wild tule plants of this canal were all built at Tampico have been set out and are growing under the direction of Captain Shillaber. nicely. These aquatic plants make a Four dredges are now in use. Three of beautiful border to the canal. It is also them are small orange-peel dipper maplanned to line the banks of the water- chines, each having a capacity of 8,000 way with trees, and a start in this direc- cubic meters of earth per month, includtion has been made already by the plant- ing hard and soft work. The average ing of young cork trees at regular in- cost of the work done by the small tervals along the banks of the canal. dredges is about twenty cents, Mexicani
The excavation on the upper end of money, per cubic yard, which is equivathe canal was heavy. At one place, lent to ten cents gold. The large dredge known as Medano cut, the banks rise now in use has a capacity of about 20,000 fifteen or twenty feet above the surface cubic meters of earth per month at the rate of fifteen hours per day. This carry their cooking utensils with them dredge is used in the heaviest stretches and make their homes on board the frail of work. It can handle any material craft day and night. There are places except the solid rock. The cost of ex- where the shore is lined with tropical cavation per cubic meter by this dredge forests, and in the waning hours of the is much greater than by the smaller afternoon flocks of brilliant-hued parrots dredges. Another large dredge is being fly from place to place and awaken the constructed for work on the lower end echoes with their cries. of the canal.
The building of this intercoastal canal It is estimated that the canal will have between Tampico and Tuxpan will be cost when completed about $5,000,000 followed by the construction of a similar Mexican money, or $2,500,000 gold. waterway to connect Tampico with the
The completed portion of the canal has Rio Grande, where connection will also had one beneficial effect which was not be made with the proposed intero expected when the plans for its con- canal that the United States government struction were under consideration. It is to construct through the lagoons borhas served as a drainage way for a large dering the Louisiana and Texas coasts. territory which was formerly covered The distance between Tampico and the with a few inches of water, making the mouth of the Rio Grande is about three land unavailable for agricultural pur- hundred miles. A series of salt water poses. This land is now perfectly drained lagoons lie along the coast for a part of and is being placed in cultivation in the distance, but much more excavation many places. It is believed that when work will have to be done on the upper the canal is finished through to the Tux- canal than is encountered on the Tampan River it will serve to carry off the pico-Tuxpan waterway. The territory surplus water from a still greater terri- extending back from the coast for 150 tory and that many thousands of acres miles, between Tampico and the Rio of land will be in this manner reclaimed. Grande, is susceptible of high agricul
There are many beautiful vistas along tural development. Like the Tampicothe canal. The shores of the lagoons Tuxpan region it is attracting many and lakes are lined with plantations of Americans who have purchased large pineapples, bananas and other products. bodies of land and are doing a successful Pretty homes, with expanse of verdant business in farming and raising live lawns, slope down to the water's edge. stock. They are handicapped, however, An endless stream of boats, each manned by the lack of transportation facilities. with a picturesque crew, pass up and The building of the canal will secure down the canal. Whole families of for them a direct outlet for their natives occupy some of these boats. They products.
PEARL DIVING PROHIBITED
THE steamship Maraposa, recently ar
rived at San Francisco from the far away island of Tahiti, under French dominion, in the South Pacific, brings the first news that the French government has lately prohibited the use of diving apparatus in carrying on the valuable pearl fishing industry.
This action was taken to save one of the most profitable enterprises of the colonies from destruction.
The commission which investigated the matter, found that the native divers who plied their trade without any diving ap
paratus and gathered up these valuable shells only as fast as they naturally increased had been supplanted by Europeans in diving gear who were in the employ of large corporations, and who gathered these shells in such quantities that a great many of the pearl shell beds had been exhausted.
To keep temptation out of the way of the pearl hunters, all of the diving outfits, gear, etc., were gathered together by the French authorities and shipped away from Tahiti and the other islands.