Universal and International Exhibition of Paris 1900

The balance sheet of a century

April 15, 1900-November 12, 1900


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Nicaragua

Nicaragua at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1900

Nicaragua had its exhibition in a large showcase on the ground floor of the Ecuador pavilion.

The exhibitors were represented by Mr. Crisanto Médina, Nicaragua's sympathetic Minister Plenipotentiary and Commissioner General.

In the first place, samples of rubber were on display and, thanks to the importance that this product has acquired in modern industry, they attracted the attention of European specialists who have already recognised its great qualities of flexibility and resistance.
A few specimens of tobacco, which is highly valued and whose cultivation is growing day by day, filled a part of the showcase in which minerals were also admired, the mere appearance of which already shows their wealth.

There were also sugars, and the best ones at that, coming from all the Nicaraguan traiches and especially from those of San Antonio and Polvon, immense plantations and splendid refineries set up with the most modern improvements. And finally, but above all, coffee, which constitutes the main wealth of the country and which is excellent.

All in all, it was a modest but interesting glimpse of a country that its president, J. Santos Zelaya, has been able to make people love and respect, which is not the least of his claims to fame.

Among the five nations that were once the Republic of Morazan and that are now, although separated politically, still,? Of the five nations which were once the Republic of Morazan, and which now, though separated physically, are still, ? by their fraternal feelings and by the community of their interests, a true federation, Nicaragua is one of the largest and most populous, and if Guatemala and Honduras are equivalent to it in territorial importance, and if El Salvador exceeds it in density of population, it is not, however, an exaggeration to say that Nicaragua is the republic which has made the most rapid progress in recent years. Indeed, it is enough to compare the state in which the country was in the past with its present state to realise its rapid and sure march towards progress. If it is true that the greatness of a people is measured by the length of its railways, it must be believed that Nicaragua is at the head of civilisation in Central America, for its railways, built with national resources and without the support of foreign capital, cover a more extensive network than those of neighbouring countries. But this axiom is not strictly true, because Nicaragua is no better or worse than its four sisters.

Reforms are obviously proceeding faster than in its neighbours, but Nicaragua is only making up for lost time.

Like Switzerland, and perhaps of greater proportions, Nicaragua is covered with mountains and lakes. Two Cordilleras cross it from north to south, erecting their snowy peaks, their basalt foothills and their volcanic peaks, the most modest of which are no less than 1000 metres high. Among these craters, all of which are now extinct, we should mention Cosigûina, which erupted for two days in 1835, spewing out more than 50 million cubic metres of rock that formed real islands in the middle of the Pacific.

It is also worth mentioning Momotombo, which Victor Hugo described in the Légende des Siècles as a superb heresiarch of nature.

These Cordilleras contain a large number of prehistoric caves in the depths of which scientists have discovered traces of all the ancient indigenous civilisations. The mineralogist Crawford, in particular, has made finds of the greatest interest there, unearthing, for example, the enormous skeletons of a tribe of giant Indians.

As for the lakes, it is enough to look at the map of the country to realise their importance; so we will only mention, among the largest and most beautiful, those of Nicaragua and Managa.

From a practical point of view, the lakes of Nicaragua are of great utility; all are already criss-crossed by steamers serving between their various ports and developing more and more commercial traffic.

Nicaragua, like all the countries of Central America, exports coffee, cocoa, rubber, indigo, and dyewood, partly exposed as we have seen above. Its most important markets are England, France, Germany, Italy, the United States, Spain, Belgium, Chile, Peru, etc.

In order to appreciate the European importance of Nicaragua, it is sufficient to consult, in the chancelleries of its consulates, the statistics established by means of consular invoices, in which it can be seen that no republic in Central America achieved, during the year 1899, the same turnover as Nicaragua.

The industry, still in its cradle, is nevertheless, despite the initial trials and tribulations, giving proof of what it can one day produce. As in all the countries of Spanish America, the worker loves his work as an artist and gives it a charming finish to which we are no longer sufficiently accustomed.

©Paul Gers - 1900