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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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here a Portuguese colony. One wonders why there is not an opulent and populous city, and only a few poor huts appear on streets full of tall grass. Nowadays, the village does not have a single solid house, because the Jesuit College, built in 1723 with stone and bricks, uninhabited and abandoned, already begins to fall into ruin. The village and its entire parish count today only 2,400 souls, although it is head of Ilheus County and residence of the Ombudsman. As far as education, activity and industriousness are, the inhabitants of this beautiful region are far behind in comparison to the miners, even those of the most insignificant inland villages, far from any means of improving their status.

Indolence and misery go hand in hand, and, satisfied with their state of constant idleness, without higher aspirations, the inhabitants of Ilheus are so careless of agriculture that they themselves starve, and even more the outsiders who visit them. Thanks to the efforts of our brave comrade, Mr. Schluter, who took over the role of travel manager and forced the local judge to send groceries from a farm a few far away, we only suffered from hunger in the early days of our stay there. Perhaps, with reason, the strange laziness and savagery of the residents are attributed to the fact that they are mostly foolish, that is, of indigenous origin: Moreover, the Portuguese, who are domiciled here, are of the lowest extraction; they are bored sailors, porters, and laborers who, considering themselves privileged, cannot elevate the morality or industry of this fallen population. Formerly (for example, in 1660, 1670, and I730), it was the village subjected to constant Botocudo attacks,

Botocudos

which were formerly called Amoores, and, in this region, - guerens; The decay of Ilheus mainly dates from the expulsion of the Society of Jesus, which was in charge of converting the surrounding tribes to Christianity. The tribes were domiciled in the villages of Valenca, Serinhaem (properly, Santarem), Barcelos and Olivenca. The Indians who along the coast of Bahia were subjected to the educating influence of the Jesuits, belonged to the Tupiniquin tribe. They predominated in coastal lands, between the Sao Mateus River (formerly Cricare) and the Rio das Contas;

but chased away by hostile Aimores and Tupinambas, they became true friends of the Portuguese. From this numerous nation, whose peaceful, loyal and docile indulgence and bravado, descended the meek Indians, who inhabit, along the coast, the aforementioned villages, in isolated huts. Today their number in the entire region is estimated at most 4,000 souls.

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