Remember the Rainforest 1
They are not uncommon, and are covered with a hematite layer. The mineral is
very rich, existing from sixty to eighty percent, and from here iron could be supplied to all of Minas Gerais; However, as many farmers themselves prepare the iron they need, there are, in addition, in the most diverse regions of the province, other small forges, that now consume much of the iron which is bought in Rio de Janeiro. The daily production of one to two arrobas, is soon employed in the manufacture of hoes, axes, picks, knife leaves, horseshoes and nails. An arroba of raw iron is sold here and in the neighborhood for eighteen hundred cruzados. Our friend von Eschwege has often complained about the difficulties that hitherto hindered every factory in this country, citing as its main reason the repugnance of the poor class of the people to hold on to a fixed occupation.
von Eschwege's iron foundry
From the iron factory, we followed in the direction N. E. to the Arraial de Bento Rodrigues, distant two and a half leagues. The region is mountainous, and the surface of the ground is largely covered with the formation of gold-containing iron ore layers, and the numerous pits and trenches open there are an indication of gold mining. Quite unique to us was the fact that there was no trace of wealth in this village, so evident in other places. The houses are in ruins, very poor in the interior, and their inhabitants in misery; everything shows that the flourishing of this district has already faded, and hardly any remains of the old opulence appear.
The sun had already set, and the tropical afternoon was dimming, when we reached this important camp, after passing over a very uneven and therefore dangerous terrain; There we stayed overnight. We found most of the inhabitants gathered before the image of Our Lady to pray. This custom is practiced zealously and with almost theatrical solemnity everywhere in Brazil; The mulattoes, who, in general, in addition to parlapate, have strong lungs, and assume the office of first singer or priest. Inficionado is the birthplace of Frade Durao, poet of "Caramuru", who celebrated the discovery of Brazil (1).
At dawn the next day, we left those places, gradually depleted of abandoned mines, and set off for the Serra do Caraca on the way to visit a jeweler, our acquaintance from Rio
Serra do Caraca
1)”Caramuru", epic poem of the discovery of Bahia, composed by Friar Jose de Santa Rita Durao "(Lisbon, 1781), 8.