The British West Indies in Relation to the American Revolution [review-book]

1921 Geographical Review  
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The author expects that the Chaco forest will eventually disappear and give place to cattle ranches. Of Misiones with its forest life we have a brief but satisfactory picture: the lumbering in the Araucaria woods; the mate industry, with its serflike labor, which may be compared to the rubber gathering of the Amazons; and the small agricultural settlements in the clearings. Chapters 5 and 6, on Patagonia and the Pampas respectively, are perhaps the most satisfactory part of the book from a geographical standpoint. They are much more systematic in their treatment and are so rich in content that they should be carefully read by all geographers. The physical conditions are never lost sight of. In each region they are sufficiently well-known to permit of a subdivision into what are probably the real human geographical provinces, each with its distinct and fairly well-established mode of life. The Pampas chapter is a specially good example of a study of this kind. Chapter 7 describes the main roads and railways in the Republic, sketching their setting, their development, and the economic basis of their traffic; while Chapter 8 deals with the waterways in similar fashion. In the latter chapter is included a physical description of the Parana and Uruguay systems which is lucid and thorough. The work concludes with a chapter on the population, its distribution and its movements, the sites and character of the cities, leading up to a sketch of the personality of Buenos Aires. As we may hope that the work will speedily run into a new edition, it may be useful to point out a fault which can be easily remedied. The maps, seven in number, are insufficient. They were doubtless limited by the cost, but the publisher would be well advised to allow more scope in this matter. To take but two instances: the detailed description of the Parana, with its changing meanders, and the account of the contours in the pampas are greatly impaired by complete lack of illustration. But the existing maps would be doubly useful if placed at the end of the book so as to fold out, and if references to them were given in the text. There is not a line on these diagrams that is not essential. The work contains an excee(lingly useful bibliography with critical annotations. THE BRITISH WEST INDIES IN RELATION TO THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION F. W. PITMAN. The Development of the British West Indies, 1700-1763. xiv and 495 pp.; map, diagrs., bibliogr., index. (Yale Historical Publications: Studies, IV.) Yale University Press, New Haven, I9I7. $2.50. 854 x 6 inches. As in most modern wars, economic causes lay back of the American Revolution. Questions of trade were almost as important a factor in bringing about that conflict as were political rights and liberties. The present volume, in addition to treating of the development of social life, the distribution of land holdings, the labor problems encountered, and the financial systems in vogue in the West Indies, presents a carefully detailed account of some of the economic conditions which contributed to the separation of the North American colonies from Great Britain. The work is based chiefly upon manuscripts found in the British Museum and the Public Record Office. The exchange of commodities between North America and the West Indies Islands figured prominently among these economic factors. These two regions were geographically complementary. In climate and soil, hence in their products, they were sharply contrasted. The typical productions of New England, such as grain, lumber, fish, and horses, together with the limited output of incipient Yankee manufacture, barrel staves, hoops, boards,. and shingles, found their nearest and most natural market in the tropical colonies that stretched from the Bermudas to Surinam, while the rapidly growing settlements along the North Atlantic coast offered a ready emporium for a large part of the sugar which was almost the sole product of the West Indies. But this trade, based on geographical dissimilarity of the two regions, refused entirely to recognize the artificial boundaries established by political sovereignty. Such a condition was not at all in keeping with the commercial policies prevailing in Europe; hence England and France, the mother countries most
doi:10.2307/207862 fatcat:lhgbutrfszfjrhpjmwt4gq6ufa