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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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From 1745 Mariana was headquarters and residence of the bishop and the chapter of Minas Gerais; It seems, however, that since the neighboring mines, especially the Santa Ana hill, have ceased to produce, it has lost much of its opulence, and has been scorned, with envy, by the civil authorities of neighboring Vila Rica; This is why the new building is not yet finished. There are here a Carmelite convent, and a Franciscan seminary, where most of the priests who serve in Minas are educated. The bishop resided in a spacious house

Mariana

at the bottom of the valley, and had died shortly before our coming. They boast about their library with many works on natural history, and their museum of natural curiosities, with a rich collection of gold ores. In the orchard, the bishop had formed a nursery for European fruit trees, which was very good there. The bishopric of Minas, whose fixed income amounts to sixteen hundred and perhaps double, does not extend over the entire captaincy of Minas, because the bishopric of Bahia already belonged to the northernmost terms (1).

  Here we met with Dr. L. J. de Godoi Torres, who, for some years, has held the position of doctor in Mariana. He told us that Mariana's climate is much warmer, and therefore less healthy than that of Vila Rica. However, the considerable difference in elevation above the sea (Mariana according to the calculations of our friend von Eschwege, is 398 ½ toes (2), so 231 ½ lower than Vila Rica and its closed position between mountains must account for the difference in climate. Among the dominant diseases, Dr. Godoi cites us, erysipelas, hydrops, hepatitis, dysenteric diarrhea and nervous sciatica, syphilis is not uncommon here, as it is usually in Minas.

The next morning, the sun had not yet risen and everything rested in deep sleep as we left our lodge, and headed toward N.E. on the road, up a steep mountain above, which forms the eastern wall of the valley, next to the city. It is a buttress of Itacolumi, very close; It is formed by a friable itabirite and granulated mica schist with dispersed mica deposits in which round stones and octahedrons of magnetite have developed. Reaching the top of this hill, we see much of the wooded mountain, which joins, merging with the Itacolumi mountain, and between them dark valleys meander; a sad picture that is even more theatrical presented

Etching 48 Mantiqueira

(I) The first bishopric of Brazil was established in Bahia in 1550 and raised to arch bishopric in 1667. Subsequent bishoprics of Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco, as well as those of Sao Tome and Angola, in Africa. The bishopric of Maranhao, from which he was separated at the time of King Joao V, of Para, who was then independent, had to consider himself subordinate to the Archbishop of Lisbon because of the difficulty of navigating between Maranhao and Bahia.
(2) 1 toes or feet = 1.98 m. (Note from the king., Ed. Melh.).

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