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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Most of the inhabitants here still earn two to four thousand crusados from their mines, which is a considerable profit for them when they do not leave the field. Along the way from Sao Goncalo to Vila da Campanha, there are traces of the main occupation of gold washing everywhere, especially the pits, through which the necessary water abundantly flows, sent from the higher regions running for hours down the mountain slopes. The mountain also consists here of granite, which often becomes gneiss, and whose feldspar strongly decomposes into clay. Large extensions are often found, decomposed in white clay or light violet, because the white color has feldspar, which is here generally the largest component of the stone, and the violet color comes little by little from decomposition. The mica is silver or greenish; quartz mass is relatively small here; at one and another point are quartz veins in the most diverse directions up the mountain, and these are always then richly speckled with gold. However, they are only sought and followed by the miners at the points where the surrounding stone is already decaying, and is so very loose, so that they obtain the desired product, even without the proper mining work.

Mica

Vila da Campanha, or, properly, the Vila da Princesa da Beira, which we reached early the same day only four leagues northwest of Sao Goncalo, is situated on a

Campagna

high hill, and after the Vila de Sao Joao d'El-Rei, the most important and populous village on Rio das Mortes. The gold mines, which only a few years ago were partly opened in the vicinity, are among the richest of those currently exploited, and have given the inhabitants great opulence, among whom we have relations with the chief captain, and our compatriot, the brother of Mr. Stockler, Governor of the Islands of the Azores. Here, we saw several beautiful two-story houses with glazed windows, one of the most expensive ornaments in the interior of Brazil.

With wealth and commerce, however, it seems to us that luxury and corruption of customs go hand in hand. As doctors, we had, above all, the opportunity to observe the incredible spread of syphilis and its incalculable consequences on the physical and morale of the inhabitants. Not only is the general contagion greatly reducing the population, but also the shamelessness with which it is openly spoken, offering excuses, in addition to undermining female rights, which are not allowed to influence the way of thinking nor can it contribute to marital happiness. These sad conditions, which are the darkest stain in the painting of the Brazilian character, were further aggravated by the large number of butchered black and concubine slaves (1).

(I) In this sense, we hear DQ, Brazil, in general, the following popular protocol:
“White is to marry and the black ones to serve'".

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