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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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For any indigenous person or one of the many prisoners scattered around the country, they are marked with a branding iron, to recognize them in the case of escape, and chains are attached to their right hand, or, when afraid of them, they are held by the neck with an iron chain (libambo), and are marched forward from one area to another until they can be traded; and libambo is usually stocked with 30, sometimes even 100 of those prisoners. Men and women are carried on different chains, and the children play in droves beside them. Each slave receives in a sack (carapetal) his supply of fresh or roasted corn, cassava and manioc flour. In the long march, sometimes for weeks, from one area to another, he does not have the unfortunate opportunity to cook this miserable meal, almost always watered down, or to season it with the appreciated palm oil or salt; Only rarely do they have time to make the cornmeal anfunge or soup (1). The water given to them to drink is sometimes very dirty; the night lodging is in the open, exposed to the fog.

He who passes through the fatigue of such a dreadful journey often dies in the process, from which the heartless guide does not deliver him even when the slave is ill. Those who keep themselves alive for future calamities eventually make it to the colonies or coastal towns, where they are sold to other traders, who, though whiter in color, are equally without compassion for the unfortunate. There they are interned in large wooden barracks; The abused were delivered, sparsely fed with strange food, especially of rancid fish. A large number of them fall ill from dysentery and putrid fever, an homesickness takes many lives.

After all, a ship from Brazil appears, and the slaveholder, glad to be able to get rid of the goods at once, negotiates the sale of such a large number, for which there is neither healthy shelter on the ship nor provisions sufficient for them for subsistence. Before the embarkation, the slaves are fired with the Portuguese weapons, and the crown realizes, by the export tax of each slave, the amount of 16 ½ cruzados. The ship's captain expects a fast crossing, and makes no provision that his voyage may last, as often happens, twice as long because of the lack of wind. The male slaves are all huddled in the hold of the ship; during the day, however, they are taken to the shores, to the deck, to bathe and to dance. This mode of treatment, to which women and children are not subjected, is the reason why the men arrive in Brazil in relatively better health. During the trip, the meal consists of beans, cornmeal and manioc, sometimes also salted fish; their drink is water, and from time to time also a little brandy. As the slaves are usually taken to Brazil and are bought there damaged, even then the unhappy slave has to fight, not only against hunger, as he rarely receives a satisfactory ration, but also against nausea. Of all the problems, this crossing time is the most critical; and often death will soon make its way into the untidy ship’s hold. Thus, for example, in the year 1817, as we learned, of the 20,075 slaves who were shipped to Rio de Janeiro 2,342 died en route; In the year 1818, however, out of 22,231, losses were raised to 2,429. A single ship from Mozambique, loaded with 807 slaves, lost 339 of them; another, bringing 464, lost more than half, 238; five vessels that set sail for Bahia in the spring of 1821 brought 1,573, and 347 of them died. Arriving at the seaports of Brazil, the slaves are transported to great trapiches, near the port, where only covered with a rag or a colored cloth, they lie on the cold earth, together, most often still suffering the disease that has claimed the lives of some of their disgraced traveling companions. They suffer : typhoid fever, seizures, pleural spasms, loanda, critter
 
1) There are two Africanisms, anfunge and matete, for which the Portuguese and Brazilian writers did not make room in their lexicon, certainly because those words are not found into the words of the people. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. and Geogr. Bras.).

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