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$1,500 may take up and improve 50 hectares, or about 125 acres, of land, and a very moderate knowledge of farming will suffice to insure good crops. But the question of marketing the produce involves less simple considerations. Very little public land is available along the existing lines of communication. It is not necessary, however, to resort to the settled districts in order to secure good land. The richest in the country is generally believed to be that beyond Divala and Bugaba, the outposts of settlement, and the Costa Rican border. But in this frontier region, otherwise most desirable, two serious difficulties will be encountered by the settler of moderate means — those of transportation and labor. To a company undertaking development in this section the expenditure of, say, $5,000, in the construction of roads and the importation of laborers, would be a small matter, but to the individual, with comparatively little produce to send to market, the expense would be prohibitive. It is safe to predict that in ten, or fifteen years time, this entire territory will be covered by a network of highways and dotted with villages. In the meanwhile, I would suggest that Americans with small capital settling in Panama should

[graphic]

MAKING A CLEARING.

THE LAND IS CUT OVER AND THE BRUSH BURNED WHERE IT LIES.

KLIS

form colonies, which would insure advantages besides that of pooling the expense of roadmaking and securing labor. A still better plan would be to occupy land on, or near the property of some development company - of which several are projected — and take advantage of its facilities for marketing produce and attracting labor.

Of course, the quick crops, such as sugar cane and tobacco, must be the mainstay of the small farmer. But, by putting a portion of his land into an orange grove or a cacao plantation, he may, in the course of seven or eight years, create a valuable property. Almost anything that he may raise will, under the conditions that have been suggested, be salable at a profit. There already exists a number of markets in which the products of Panama, actual and potential, might be disposed of in large quantities. The Canal will bring the ports of Chiriqui into water communication with the entire coast of the United States and with practically every part of the world.

CHAPTER VIII

THE ANCIENT GRAVES OF CHIRIQUI

ALTHOUGH the Province of Chiriqui must have been often traversed by the Conquistadores, very little is said about it, or its inhabitants, in the Spanish writings that have been preserved. The Indians of that region have traditions relating to their ancestors and crediting them with a degree of development much greater than that displayed by their supposed descendants. It is a universal human trait to erect lasting monuments of one kind or another, if they be but heaps of stones, but the former people who occupied the western end of the Isthmus of Panama appear to have deliberately refrained from leaving any such traces of their existence. Not only that, but no remains of towns, or structures of any kind have been found above ground that could be connected with them.

Chiriqui was first brought to the notice of the outer world by the discovery of the graves

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