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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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their priests of the same color. We preferred, however, to suffer these terrors rather than risk again an uncomfortable trip during the rainy season; and so we set out, accompanied by four more mule drivers, on the afternoon of September 29 to travel to Bahia, by the ocean, which gave us homesickness again.

Mule train to Bahia

CHAPTER I NOTES

The population of the province of Goias, according to Pizarro's official report of which I had information from Mr. Marechal Felisberto Caldeira Brant Pontes in Bahia (year 1821), was as follows:

Free men ....................................Slaves

21,250........................................ 10,000

The mining works yielded results, where one could count on the daily profit of four to five octaves of gold, so then within a few years, crowds from all over Brazil rushed there. It is reported that in the year 1732 there were twelve thousand men in the Maranhao River (doing the diversion of the course and investigating the dry bed). For this reason, the plantation of cereal grains was abandoned, and troops from Cuiaba, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia, heading for the newly discovered Eldorado, bought farms at fantastic prices.

The discoverer, Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva, ruled this new colony as regent captain, under the orders of the Governor of Sao Paulo, a province which touched the territory of Goias. However, the order and dignity of the laws, among the rampant, scattered population, dominated by the most violent passions, could only maintain weak support. The first steps for civil and legal establishment were taken by the Governor of Sao Paulo, passing through the new region. The weak Goian Indians had retreated from the view of the newcomers, and are now exterminated; On the other hand, there appeared, among others, the kayaks, dangerous and hostile neighbors, against whom

Chief of Bororo

incessant war was waged, in part with the aid of Bororo, brought from Cuiaba, until 1781, when they recognized the sovereignty of Portugal. At that time (1740-1746), there was also the discovery of diamonds in the Claros and Piloes Rivers, which gave rise to the designation of its own forty-square-league Diamantino District and a contract with the Caldeiras family to take two hundred slaves to the first of these rivers. The tax per person, which, as in other landmines, was imposed on the gold-washing slaves (1736), yielded incredible amounts to the government, in many years more than forty arrobas of gold.

According to the capitulation data, at least 34,500 men were be engaged in the gold washing in Goias.

Gold washing

While the capitulation lasted, the golden age for this territory began, as it was elevated to captaincy in the year 1749, and until 1755 the annal gold production was valued at two hundred arrobas, a quantity which is even more surprising when one thinks that, despite the overabundance, the gold minted in Brazil, of the legal value of twenty-two carats, has always been of equal value since that time, and, in fact, in relation to silver, in the ratio of 17.01 to 1.

Stamped gold measures

The King’s Fifth tax, which was instituted after the very unpopular ordinance of the capitation, which persisted only fourteen years, still yielded larger sums in the early years, especially in the year 1753. However, from that time on, the income from the mines was always dwindling, and the former found themselves incapable of industry and commerce, which should, with the happy situation and freedom of territory, produce income.

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