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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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There is a lot of wood cutting here, excellent for shipbuilding and from time to time ships are sent to the capital (Note V). Under the government of Mr. Vitorio da Costa, a large plantation of kapok trees was chopped down near the entrance of the lake.

Ceiba pentandra, the kapok tree

The Indian officials were in charge, with forged service orders or insufficient paperwork. A disadvantageous consequence of these works and others identical, made on behalf of the State, is the lack of those who really want to help the settlers. The complaint of lack of business, of the impossibility of having the natural raw products, complaints which are heard everywhere on the Rio Negro, seem, without a doubt, perhaps a rational consequence of the system of public works. This country has for its riches a population too small to support monopolies of any kind without harming a particular industry. When, however, the less fortunate Indians are employed in an industry, and it is necessary for the government to supervise this exploitation of them; therefore, although the judge of the Indians has the obligation to keep the rights of his race, however, often the judge has little insight and is too weak, not to be overcome in conflicts with whites.

Ega is the commercial emporium of the upper part of Solimoes and all its tributaries. English and Brazilian traders from Para have established branches here, for the sale of European goods and for first-hand purchase of the articles of the locality.

These are generally the most sought-after goods: printed cheetahs and striped cotton fabrics, some silk, hats, linens, handkerchiefs, tools and implements of iron, steel, copper and foil, stone powder, glass , porcelain, wine, brandy, etc., in sufficient quantity and choice. The prices, though considerably higher than in Para, are, however, twice as high as in the neighboring provinces of Peru, Manaus, Quichos and Macas, where the goods of the ports of the Pacific are imported and carried by the Cordillera above. The natural articles that follow downstream, coming from Ega, are: cocoa, sarsaparilla, turtle butter, dry pirarucu, some coffee, cotton, copaiba oil, pexurim fava beans, Maranhao chestnut, carajuru, urucu and building woods. Most of these products come from Solimoes and Japura; there are few who leave Tefe, whose goods are relatively scarce.

(1) After Colonel Manuel da Gama Lobo de Almada, whose government was extended until the end of the XVIII century, the captaincy of Sao Jose do Rio Negro was administered interim by Jose Salgado, from whom he received it, in the nineteenth century, the Chief of Squad Jose Joaquim Vitorio da Costa, who was successor in 1818, Major Manuel Joaquim do Paco. (Nata da rev., Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras.).

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