The Cordilleran system on the western side of the continent is lofty, broad and complicated, with heavy forests near the north-west coast, but elsewhere with trees only on the higher ranges below the Alpine region, and with treeless or desert intermont valleys, plateaus and basins, very arid in the south-west.
Soldering, brazing and the blowpipe in the Cordilleran provinces are suspected, but the evidence of their existence must be further examined.
The~ rivers that drain the Atlantic slope of the Appalachians are comparatively short; those that drain the Pacific slope include only two, the Columbia and the Colorado, which rise far inland, near the easternmost members of the Cordilleran system, and flow through plateaus and intermont basins to the ocean.
It was chiefly the mineral wealth of the Cordilleran region, first developed on the far Pacific slope, and later in many parts of the inner mountain ranges, that urged pioneers across the dry plains into the apparently inhospitable mountain region; there the adventurous new-corners rapidly worked out one mining district after another, exhausting and abandoning the smaller camps to early decay and rushing in feverish excitement to new-found river fields, but establishing important centres of varied industries in the more important mining districts.
The Cordilleran Region.From the western border of the Great Plains to the Pacific coast, there is a vast elevated area, occupied by mountains, plateaus and intermont plains.
The descending winds on the eastern slopes of the ranges are frequently warm and dry, to the point of resembling the Fhn winds of the Alps; such winds are known in the Cordilleran region as Chinook winds.
Discoveries in other Cordilleran territories, notably in Montana and Idaho, made up, however, in part for the deficiency of California, so that in I 860 the total amount of gold produced in the United States was estimated at not less than $45,000,000.
In the Cordilleran region on the other hand the lakes are long, narrow and deep, in reality sections of mountain valleys occupied by fresh water, just as the fjords of the adjoining coast are valleys occupied by the sea.
The rest of the rivers flowing into the Pacific pass through British Columbia and are much shorter, though the two southern ones carry a great volume of water owing to the heavy precipitation of snow and rain in the Cordilleran region.
The Fraser, next in size but farther north, follows a similar course, entering the sea at Vancouver; while the Skeena and Stikine in northern British Columbia are much shorter and smaller, owing to the encroachments of Peace and Liard rivers, tributaries of the Nelson, on the Cordilleran territory.
The Rocky Mountain region as a whole, best named the Cordillera or Cordilleran belt, includes several parallel ranges of mountains of different structures and ages, the eastern one constituting the Rocky Mountains proper.
Summing up the economic features of the Cordilleran belt, it includes many of the best coal-mines and the most extensive deposits of gold, copper, lead and zinc of the Dominion, while in silver, nickel and iron Ontario takes the lead.
The climate of the Cordilleran region presents even more variety than that of the other provinces because of the ranges of mountains which run parallel to the Pacific. Along the coast itself the climate is insular, with little frost in winter and mild heat in summer, and with a very heavy rainfall amounting to ioo in.
The rivers that drain the Atlantic slope of the Appalachians are comparatively short; those that drain the Pacific slope include only two, the Columbia and the Colorado, which rise far inland, near the easternmost members of the Cordilleran system, and flow through plateaus and intermont basins to the ocean.
It was chiefly the mineral wealth of the Cordilleran region, first developed on the far Pacific slope, and later in many parts of the inner mountain ranges, that urged pioneers across the Agra and the guardianship of the old and blind emperor, Shah Alam, at Delhi, were obtained from Sindia.