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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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place in this connection of the present with the past. This feeling, the Paulista certainly has, and he tells himself, not without pride, that his hometown has its own history, powerfully linked to that of its neighbors, though dating back only a few centuries.

One must take into account, especially this circumstance, to attenuate the unfavorable judgment that is usually made about the character of the Paulista. The narratives of older writers describe the Paulistas as a lawless people, averse to any restriction of customs and feelings, and that even then separated from the Portuguese domain and formed an autonomous republic. This judgment was confirmed by the reports of the Jesuits, who undoubtedly had reason to be unhappy with the procedure of the Paulistas then. From 1629 these Paulistas several times invaded the missions of the Jesuits in Paraguay and, with incredible cruelty, brought with them all the Indians, as slaves.

These expeditions, as well as the expeditions in search of gold in Minas, Goias and Cuiaba, gave the character of the Paulista of that time a sort of selfish hardness and insensitivity, giving them contempt for the law and for all the most sacred feelings of humanity; this would have attracted upon them the most severe reprobation of priests, devoted to the general good.

Nowadays, however, this harsh nature has softened, and the Paulista enjoys, throughout Brazil, the fame of great candor, invincible courage and romantic inclination to face adventures and dangers. Indeed, with these generous endowments, his character has also acquired a trace of impetuousness in the wrath and vengeance, of pride and inflexibility, and for this reason, he is feared by neighbors; the stranger does not recognize his haughty ways as seriousness and character; He thinks that his cordial candor and hospitality are lovely traits, that his industry and temperate-zone activity is less well known than his neighbors. The pride of the Paulistas can only be excused, because they can boast that their ancestors' rights give them rights over the new part of the world, rights that the European settler does not have. That the early inhabitants often intersected with the Indians of the neighborhood, no one doubts, and, by the color of the skin and the shape of the face, the people here remember, more than in other cities of Brazil, for example Bahia and Maranhao, this intermarriage. Moreover, there are growing numbers of whites here. Formerly it was the captaincy of Sao Paulo, then called Sao Vicente, sought by many Spaniards, who, among others, went there after the failure of the expedition of the explorer D. Pedro de Mendoza to Paraguay (1538-1546),

 

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