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and leaving them, for each operation must be favored by the tide. There is one point upon the Pacific littoral admirably situated for an outside port. That is Charco Azul, or Blue Pool, near the Costa Rican border. Here is a large sea hole with depth varying from sixty to one hundred and five fathoms and having anchorage around the inner edge. Charco Azul must ultimately become the principal port of Panama west of the Canal. It is situated in the section of the country where the earliest and greatest development will take place, and it is the only harbor on the coast that is always navigable regardless of tidal conditions. The coast-wise traffic that must be generated by the Canal will demand such a port, and decline to
nter rivers passable only at high tide, and then solely by vessels having no more than ten feet of draft. On the Atlantic coast there are several good harbors, but, excepting for Bocas del Toro and Colon, that part of the Isthmus is undeveloped and gives little promise of settlement.
Upon the Atlantic side, the country is, for the most part, covered with heavy forest and jungle, which extends down to the water line and is composed of great trees of valuable hardwood, rising out of undergrowth so dense as to be impenetrable without the aid of the machete. This territory presents a fine field for lumbering, but the industry cannot be carried on profitably except by corporations with large capital. Until the land is cleared, the Atlantic belt must remain an uninhabited wilderness. Even when opened to agriculture it will, owing to its excessive rainfall, be less attractive to settlers than land upon the Pacific coast. The San Blas country, east of the Canal Zone, is practically terra incognita. Its Indian inhabitants have ever been inimical to the white man and Spain failed to bring them under subjection. They acknowledge allegiance to the Panama Government and consult the President in the election of their chief but, otherwise, are permitted to manage their own affairs. With the exception of coming to Colon for salt and other necessities and bringing in large quantities of cocoanuts, they hold no intercourse with the outer world.
The Darien section is wild, forest clad, and uninhabited, save for a sprinkling of Indians. It contains the greatest extent of natural rubber growth, but otherwise presents less promise of development than does the territory to the
west of the Canal Zone. An English syndicate is operating a large rubber tract in Darien, the product of which is of excellent quality. Another large tract, worked by a Boston company, extends twenty miles on either side of Mariato Point. This concern is making extensive improvements in its property and planting several hundred thousand new trees every year. It has shipped rubber to the States of a quality equal to the finest Para product and commanding the top price in the market. The plant is also systematically cultivated by a corporation located at Las Cascadas, a few miles from the Canal line.
The rubber tree is found wild in every part of the country and the species called Castilla will thrive anywhere, if planted under proper conditions and provided with the shade essential to its healthy development. At one time, large quantities of rubber were shipped from Chiriqui, but, as it was gathered by the old native method of cutting down the trees, and replanting was neglected, the valuable stands of the Province disappeared and now the trees are to be found only in scattered specimens which, however, exhibit a vigor that indicates the results to be expected from scientific cul