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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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obligation is to keep black people at work; watch over them, that they may duly deliver the stones found; and, on rest days or on the occasion of their noisy feasts, to see that they observe order and peace. Not only do ten managers exercise control over the overseers, but they weigh daily, or at least once a week, the found diamonds, which they then store in a leather sachet that attaches to their belt; They direct the most important works of extraction, such as: cleaning the riverbed, peeling stones, placing machinery, choosing gravel and sand to be washed, etc. Therefore, the administrators always live next to the mining site, from where once a week they go, on horseback, to Tejuco and from there return in the same way, in order to deliver the diamonds to the Extraction Board. This Board takes a closer look at the gems, weighs them again, and records them according to their weight or in matches.

For the payment of the lease and support of slaves, purchase of equipment for extraction, construction of machines and salary of numerous employees, the Junta Diamantina receives annually from the Royal Treasury of Vila Rica, 300,000 cruzados. Today, 120,000 cruzados of this amount is paid to the Board in wages, 100,000 in the payment of debts, which it had assumed in the past, when expensive mining works were undertaken, up to the massive amount of 1,000,000 cruzados. The entire debt will be repaid in ten years, and soon afterwards a greater number of blacks will be employed.

Gold wash

The government had previously strictly forbidden gold washing within the District's boundaries because it wanted to preserve the territory intact and to secure the extraction of diamonds. However, in view of the repeated appeals made in Rio de Janeiro, the quartermaster now decided to establish gold washes at the Demarcation, in places chosen by the Board. Two hundred such concessions have already been issued to the inhabitants of the District. Ferreira da Camara supported these concessions because, in general, the regions rich in gold are poor in diamonds. The loss of stones in the region by those that evade the King’s royal fifth,

King's royal fifth

by removing them from unexplored land, would be largely compensated for. Together, the work of both the gold-mining and diamond mining would be impossible. These reasons were fully found in practice, and much gold that would otherwise be carried by rivers to the sea was thus harvested. When gems also sometimes appear in the gold washes, they are soon handed over, as we have witnessed, by the mine owners, to the Extraction Board, as the law dictates.

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