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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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CHAPTER I
Travel, through the sertao of Bahia, until Juazeiro, the shores of Sao Francisco

 

Reconcavo

The steamboats, which currently link Bahia with the main towns of the coast of Reconcavo, were already under construction (1), at the time of our departure from that city, but were not yet ready, so we had to board one of the common

Village of Cachoeira

sugar boats on February 18, 1819, to the village of Cachoeira, where we arrived near midnight. The new organization of our troops encountered difficulties, because our supply transport was done exclusively by donkeys through the

Etching 23 Mule train through the Catinga in sertao of Bahia

backcountry, and these, due to the great drought, had not come. At the expense of great work, we managed to gather the required number of animals. These mules, coming in large troops from the provinces of Rio Grande do Sul and Sao Paulo, are usually bred along the Sao Francisco River in the province of Bahia; but weakened, sometimes due to the effort of such a long journey, sometimes due to the great difference in climate, they no longer have the vigor they once had in the southern regions. A common cargo there is not, therefore, seven arrobas as in Sao Paulo, but only four. In Chile and Buenos Aires, a good mule carries four arrobas, so the muscle strength of this animal so useful and widespread in South America appears to be higher at high latitudes, decreasing for Ecuador. We handed over the newly organized troop leadership to a mulatto from Sao Paulo, who had served as a follower in the retinue of Mr. Count de Palma (D. Francisco de Assis Mascarenhas is the full name of this statesman, distinguished by the happy administration of various provinces), and he had been assigned to our service. He was a tall man and one of the strongest we saw in Brazil, and no one could imagine that he would be the first victim to pay tribute to death, among those of our expedition.

During these preparations, we were able to get a closer look at where we were. We enjoyed the village waterfall of a more

(1) The first steam trip made Fulton's 'Clermont' in 1807 between New York and Albany (Rev. note, Ed. Melh.).

Brazilian steamboat

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