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HE following pages contain a brief account of the Author's personal experiences, observa
tions, and studies in Central and South America, and more particularly in the republics of Colombia and Venezuela, during the period of twenty-seven years, from 1872 to 1899.
During the greater part of that time, his official and professional relations with the Governments and peoples of those countries afforded him exceptional opportunities for studying their early history and civilization, their constitutions of government, their present political and social conditions, their great natural resources, and their future commercial possibilities.
The comparatively little hitherto known of those beautiful and interesting countries, especially in the United States, and the general awakening to their commercial importance and the consequent desire for some authentic and reliable information concerning them, have induced the Author to publish these Notes, in the hope of stimulating further inquiry, and of inducing closer relations between the Latin and Anglo-Saxon races of the two Americas.
The descriptive chapters were written on or near the exact spots described, and have been carefully revised, from time to time, as those localities have been revisited, or as they have undergone material changes, during the past quarter of a century; the aim being accuracy of statement, rather than to satisfy any popular demand for the marvellous and improbable.
The chapters relating to the various inter-oceanic canal projects, to the Mosquito Coast controversy, to the principles of the Monroe Doctrine, to the race problem in the Americas, to Democracy in Latin America, to South American “revolutions," to the rights and duties of foreign residents therein, to social and religious customs, to the Anglo-Venezuelan boundary dispute in Guayana, to the final award of the arbitration tribunal in that dispute, and to other kindred topics, are deemed essential to a clear understanding of the present political conditions of those countries, and of their relations to each other and to the United States.
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