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Thousands of great cicadas deafened us with their loud, monotone wheezing, until we finally saw, in the vicinity of Vila Velha, the rippling of the Brumado River, a clear stream that precipitates from the mountain into the Rio das Contas.
Vila Velha was one of the first settlements established in the Bahia countryside, unpopulated until the discovery of the nearby mountain gold mines, giving rise to the founding of Vila das Rio das Contas (1724). Farmers and breeders have taken advantage of the happy situation of the beautiful valley, where their farms are destined for cattle and cotton, which are doing well there, as well as in the Rio Gaviao and the plateaus of Minas Gerais, and in the high plains of Minas Novas and Caetite. A perfect cotton yields fifteen pounds of cotton with three to five pounds of cotton in profit. We noticed, on top of the nearby mountain, this useful plant did not thrive exceptionally. We noted at the bottom of the valley, covered with grasses, whose view appears in our "Atlas", innumerable feet of


Hymeneias, from whose branches hung woodpecker nests (Anabates rufifrons,

Anabates rufifrons, woodpecker

Neuw.) and a strange species of black anthills. These ant houses are particularly notable for the extraordinary hardness and solidity that their ingenious constructions give them through the use of mortar.

Rio das Contas

A league northeast of Vila Velha is Rio das Contas Village. We had to climb a steep path for almost two hours until we reached the point of our destination.

Serra do Rio das Contas

The mountain, called by the sertanejos, now Serra do Rio das Contas, now Serra da Vila Velha or Brumado, rises at least 1,200 feet above Vila Velha, and shows a complete analogy with the mountains of the lands of the mines.

The slope of the mountain is formed by a generally thin-slatted mica schist,

Mica schist

sometimes with quartz predominance, sometimes with small shale mica, and

Mica shale

above it lies a reddish quartzite, and above it a white quartzite. The orientation of these layers of varying thicknesses is from north-northeast to south-east; the slope is to the west, and is actually lower in the lower layers than in the upper ones. The bottom of the mountain is covered with thin undergrowth, whose grasses and tree ferns bear great resemblance to the flora of Serro Frio.

Waterfall of Rio Brumado falling into Vila Velha Valley

In the middle of the road the traveler hears the rumble of the brutal waterfall of the Rio Brumado, which falls from the height of 150 feet. From the top of the path unfolds the magnificent panorama of the beautiful Vila Velha Valley. When at last we reached the plateau, in whose small area the village rests, we seemed to be transported to the full vegetation of Tejuco: they were the same thick forests in the abrupt