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Mexico; West Indies; central and South America.

America; Australasia.
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In 1823, after a rebellion against Spanish tyranny begun in 1810 under the leadership of a priest, and long guerilla-warfare, Mexico was established as a republic. For more than half a century the chronic state of anarchy and civil war was such that, in the 53 years between 1823 and 1876, there were 52 presidents or dictators, one emperor, and a regency, the change of rule being nearly always attended by violence, and a large number of the men dispossessed of power being ultimately executed by their opponents. The loss of Texas and of other territory has been recorded. Great confusion prevailed from the fall of Santa Anna, the President, in 1855, down to 1867, including civil war, beginning in 1858, between President Benito Juarez, an honest and able man of Indian parentage, and General Miramon, leader of the clerical or reactionary party. In January, 1861, after being forced to retire to Vera Cruz, Juarez was able to occupy the capital, and then came the intervention of some European Powers on behalf of foreigners resident in the country, and of foreign bondholders whose payments of interest had been repudiated by the government. In December, 1861, troops from Great Britain, France, and Spain occupied Vera Cruz. In April, 1862, the withdrawal of British and Spanish ships and soldiers left the French in possession, and then Louis Napoleon declared |war against Juarez, and undertook the conquest of the country. In the course of this foolish and unprincipled enterprise the French forces, after some severe defeats, stormed the strong defences of Puebla, and in June, 1863, entered the city of Mexico. Puebla had been defended with the utmost tenacity and courage, during a siege of 62 days, by the Mexican general Ortega, who won thereby great honour for his country. The people did not welcome the French invaders, and Louis Napoleon committed one of the worst, as well as most foolish, acts of his career when he set up an empire under Maximilian, an Austrian archduke, a man of high abilities and culture, but devoid of any claim to the position which he assumed. He found himself at war with a large part of his subjects, and his throne rested only on French bayonets. In 1867, when the conclusion of the great civil war enabled the United States to pay heed to the flagrant violation, by the French emperor, of the accepted Monroe ideas concerning foreign intervention in American affairs, the French army was withdrawn. The helpless Maximilian was taken prisoner and shot, after trial by court-martial, and Juarez resumed rule as a four-years President, being practically possessed of dictatorial power. In 1871 he was re-elected for the same period, but died suddenly in 1872. Then came more revolution and civil war, but the hapless country enjoyed peace at last, after so many troubles, when Porfirio Diaz, one of the ablest men that ever held sway in Mexico, became President in 1876. A new era of progress and prosperity began. Railways and other public works, trade, and education, made conspicuous progress, and the people, recognising the worth of their new ruler, have repeatedly re-elected Diaz to the position which, in 1898, as President for the fourth term, he still holds to the great advantage of the country.

The West Indies, meaning the groups of islands so-called, were discovered and colonised, chiefly by Spaniards at the outset in the age of Columbus or in the 16th century. The original inhabitants, named Caribs, a race of American Indians, were soon, to a large extent, exterminated by Spanish cruelty, and their place, as forced labourers on the sugar-plantations, was taken by negroes, first imported from Africa in 1505. In the 16th and 17th centuries the British, French, and Dutch began to dispute possession with the Spaniards, and in the 17th, 18th, and early in the 19th centuries much warfare between European Powers took place in that region, ending in the present tenure of different large islands and groups. A detailed history would include an account of the lawless deeds, on the "Spanish Main," or the Caribbean Sea, its islands and coasts, of the adventurers known as "buccaneers," who, from the earlier part of the 16th century to the end of the 17th, made war on the Spanish monopoly of trade. These men, deadly foes of Spaniards, displayed in their actions courage, cruelty, and warlike skill to a high degree, under leaders of various European nations, among whom the most famous were the terrible Frenchmen Montbars and Peter of Dieppe, and the Welshman Henry Morgan, a man of great ability and valour, who was knighted by Charles II. of England and became deputy-governor of Jamaica. These buccaneers, whose confederacy was at one time more than a match for Spanish naval power in those waters, were succeeded by mere pirates, common villains and desperadoes of every race, preying upon all honest traders; making crews "walk the plank" on capture; hunted down themselves, as noxious beasts, by men-of-war, and often justly ending their career by the noose, their bodies being hung in chains at Kingston and other West Indian ports.

Dealing first with the larger islands, we need make no further mention of Cuba, settled by the Spaniards in 1511, than to state the facts that Havana, in 1762, was taken by a British expedition; that, during the ten months of our occupation, the port, open to free trade, was entered by more than 1,000 ships, about an hundred-fold more than the previous annual average; that the place was restored to Spain in 1763; that the island, opened to the world's commerce in 1818, was for some years in a most flourishing condition; and that, after a gleam of renewed prosperity during the American civil war of 1861-65, Spanish misrule has made Cuba what it remains in the spring of 1898.

Haiti (Hayti), formerly called Hispaniola, and also Santo Domingo, the next island in size to Cuba, discovered by Columbus in 1492, was peopled first by the aboriginal Caribs, and then by negro-slaves under the Spanish masters who had swept the Caribs away. French buccaneers obtained a firm footing in the west of the island, and this portion was ceded to France in 1697. The new possessors imported great numbers of negroes for tillage, and a large class of mulattoes came into existence, as an intermediate caste between the French colonists and the negroes, being personally free but without political rights. The French Revolution of 1789 caused an outbreak in French Haiti two years later, and internecine warfare occurred for some years among the three classes, the leader of the negroes being the famous black, Toussaint, who received the surname of "l'Ouverture" for his courage in opening a way, in battle, into the enemy's serried ranks. The Spaniards, in eastern Haiti, were assailed by him, and his success won from the French the rank of "general of division" in 1797, with the subsequent chief command of the "army of San Domingo," as the island was then called. This negro genius, before the close of the century, cleared the whole island of the Spaniards, restored order and prosperity, and then began to aim at independence. In 1802 Bonaparte ordered the resumption of slavery, and Toussaint's refusal brought an expedition which compelled surrender, followed by his removal as a prisoner to France, where, through treachery in his arrest, and cruelty in his treatment, which are a disgrace to Napoleon, he soon met his death as the inmate of a damp, dark cell in a fortress near Besancon. In 1803 events in Europe caused the French ruler to withdraw his forces from the island, and in 1804 a negro from the Guinea coast, who had become a slave of a French planter, and was Toussaint's chief supporter in the revolt, having assumed his former master's name, Jean Jacques Dessalines, proclaimed himself "emperor of Haiti," with a revival of the old name. The career of "Jean Jacques I.," a man remarkable in the war for activity, courage, and ferocious cruelty, was cut short, after a display of debauchery and despotism, by death in action against rebels in 1806. His conqueror and slayer, a slave from Grenada who bore the name of Henri Christophe, a man of enormous size, and of remarkable energy and courage, had played a great part in the rising under Toussaint, and, after a period of civil war, he became "king of Haiti" in 1811, and ruled with a strong hand and some success until 1820, when a revolt caused by his own cruelty and greed, and the desertion of his body-guard and "nobles," drove him to a suicidal end. The island had by this time gone far on the road to ruin under the control of emancipated slaves unfit to rule and unwilling to work. Capital had ceased to exist; political affairs became a chaos, as the country passed, sometimes as one state, sometimes as two, from one form of government to another. Under President Boyer, a mulatto educated in France, who had shared in overthrowing Dessalines and delayed both wisdom and courage in his career, Haiti enjoyed tranquillity from 1820 to 1843, purchasing from France, in 1825 recognition of independence as a republican state by the payment of a large sum in compensation to the former planters. A negro insurrection, due to jealousy of mulatto supremacy, drove Boyer to Jamaica in 1843. In that year the eastern (Spanish) part of the island became, as it remains, the Republic of Santo Domingo, after being under Spanish rule from 1861 to 1863, then independent again by revolt, and now, after many troubles of revolution, fairly quiet and prosperous under a "constitution" of 1865. In 1849 the western (French) part of Haiti became an "empire" under the negro general Soulouque. In 1859 the republic was revived, and has since remained, under various changes of constitution, and revolutions usually driving presidents from office before the completion of their terms. This portion of the island shows the negro, in power, relapsed into his original barbarism, with a nominal Christianity that has become, in a large degree, serpent-worship involving actual cannibalism, and with the forms of civilised rule masking the worst political corruption and injustice. Puerto Rico, or Porto Rico, has been under Spanish rule, as a miniature Cuba, since 1510.

Jamaica, taken from Spain by the British in 1655, was almost ruined for many years after 1833 through the emancipation of negroes too lazy to work for wages, and the equalisation, in 1846, of the duties on slave and free-grown sugar, rendering the planters unable to compete with those of Brazil. This statement applies to all the British West India islands dependent on the sugar-industry, and of late years the foreign European "bounty" system for producers of beet-sugar has wrought much mischief. The most notable event in Jamaica's recent history was the serious negro-revolt of 1865, suppressed and punished with great severity by Governor Eyre, who was recalled. The representative system of government was then abolished, and the island became a "Crown colony," under a form of rule now modified in the direction of constitutional government, with electors having a property-qualification. The country has of late years greatly revived through the cultivation of other products than the sugar-cane, and the construction of new necessary public works. The Bermudas (or Bermuda), colonised by Sir George Somers in 1609, have remained in British possession, becoming of late a valuable naval station and fortress in a commanding position between Canada and the West Indies proper. Barbados, settled by British people in 1625, has never changed hands, being always prosperous save for occasional hurricanes, the scourge of the West Indies, and for a negro-rising in 1818 which did much damage. Emancipation was not hurtful there, because the dense 'population of negroes, having no spare lands to "squat" upon, were forced to work for wages or starve. The Bahamas, on one of which, as we have seen, Columbus landed in 1492, were stripped of a large aboriginal population through one of the worst displays of Spanish cruelty and wickedness in the West Indies. The natives were taken away to San Domingo, to the number of about 50,000, by kidnapping, and there worked to death on the plantations. The islands were first colonised from the Bermudas, but remained, for a long period, the resort of buccaneers and pirates. By the close of the 18th century, under the Peace of Versailles (1783), they became finally a British possession, and are now prospering in the cultivation of pine-apples and a species of hemp. During the American civil war Nassau, the capital, on New Providence island, was a favourite resort of the foreign "blockade-runners" before making their final effort to reach Southern ports. Trinidad, discovered by Columbus in 1498, was in Spanish possession from 1532 until conquest by Great Britain in 1797, troops under Sir Ralph Abercrombie having a large share in the capture. Colonel Picton, afterwards the famous Peninsular and Waterloo warrior, was the first governor, exercising a firm and beneficial rule until 1803. The large French element in the island is due to the immigration, in the Spaniards' days, by permission of their government, of a large number of settlers, towards the end of the 18th century, from the French West Indies, under the auspices of a planter named M. de St. Laurent, who had noted the great fertility of the soil. Partly ruined by slave-emancipation, Trinidad has been saved by the importation of coolie-labour from the East Indies and by the cultivation of cocoa in place of sugar as the sole staple of trade. The remaining West India islands, British, French, and other, need no notice here.

In Central America, British Honduras was first settled from Jamaica, by cutters of mahogany and logwood, about 1665, and remained for over a century a dependency of our chief West Indian island. The little colony was always subject to Spanish attacks, and in 1779-81 Nelson, with a man-of-war, was engaged in guarding the coast. In 1798 a large Spanish fleet was repulsed off Belize harbour, and the territory was then British by right of conquest, becoming an independent colony in 1884. The rest of the narrow land between North and South America is occupied by five republics-Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica - all being territories once belonging to Spain; all in revolt from her tyrannous misrule, and acquiring independence, early in the igth century; all more or less subject, for a long period, to revolutions and wars with each other; all now in a fair state of progress towards a prosperous condition.

South America is almost wholly composed of republican states which won their independence of their former European rulers, Spain and Portugal, in the early part of the 19th century. The freedom of Colombia (formerly "New Granada"), Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia is closely associated with the deeds of Simon Bolivar, the greatest man in modern South American history, a hero whose name stands high on the glorious roll of the champions of liberty. He was a native of Caracas, in Venezuela, in which country he took the field in 1811, and after a long struggle there and in New Granada, he became President of the Republic of Colombia (Venezuela, Ecuador, and New Granada combined) in 1821. He fought against Spanish tyranny in Ecuador and Peru, and when the latter country gained her independence in 1825, Upper Peru became a new state named Bolivia in his honour. These countries have been subject to many troubles, including revolutions, civil war, and struggles with each other, but they never became again subject to Spain. The three states forming the original Colombia separated in 1831, the present Republic of Colombia representing the former New Granada. Ecuador has passed through a series of revolutions making her history a long anarchy and insurrection wearisome to trace and profitless to follow. Venezuela has had a like disastrous experience of party-struggles, including sanguinary civil wars, the last of which broke out in 1892 and reduced the country to an anarchical condition for a time. In 1898 a dispute with Great Britain concerning the boundaries of British Guiana was in course of settlement by arbitration. Bolivia has also suffered much from revolutions, and, after a war into which, in alliance with Peru, she entered against Chili in 1879, the country was deprived of her seaboard territory, with its stores of nitre, and became subject to pay a heavy indemnity.

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