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In 1780, the crown intensified the planting of the useful cacao tree, making then a promising beginning; Nowadays, however, there is no more trace in the maritime villages of the

Theobroma cacao, the chocolate tree

military, and here, as is Camamu, there are only a few of these flourishing trees, undoubtedly indicating how appropriate this region is for the cacao tree. Also some caneleiras, planted at that time, seemed in thriving condition.

Barcelos and Camamu Bay

On the other bank of the sea, which penetrates far inland, is the small village of Barcelos, where we arrived the same day, hoping that we could embark there for Bahia. Half of the present population, about 150 inhabitants, is made up of meek Indians. The village has two judges, one chosen from among its people, the other from the rest of the population. To this municipal administration, which dates from the time of the Jesuits, the people show great attachment, and it was not without profit that we went to their chief to obtain a well-manned canoe that would take us to

Camamu, where the ship docks, but had not yet arrived. They had, in fact, arranged for us, in a timely manner, to have a house to spend the night in the upper part of the village, on a hill overgrown with vegetation, and invited us to a dance, which the Indians were going to perform in honor of a Portuguese saint, Sao Goncalo do Amarante; but we preferred to sail on the ebb tide, which began, to reach the village of Camamu, before nightfall. From experience we were no doubt convinced that greater delay among these Indians of the coast would not advance us in the knowledge of the language and customs of their Tupiniquin ancestors, nor would it provide us with other interesting observations; Even the sight of this semi-civilized area, in which the evils of civilization are still greater than its beneficial effects, had changed our curiosity to disdain. We also did not want, therefore, to visit the other Indian colonies, which we could find, on the way by land, near the coast, in Serinhanhem, Valenca, Jiquirica and Nazare das Farinhas. The first two of these indigenous villages still belong to the district of Ilheus; the others, to Bahia, as the Jiquirica River forms the southern boundary. We were just leaving the beach of Barcelos, when our Indians, who were already taking the oars, came out of the canoe with great noise, running in pursuit of an animal that had appeared among the mangroves.


It was a raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus, Ill.), which, in the evening, usually sneaks along the beach to catch the shrimps and crabs, which at low tide lie between the roots of the mangroves. It is only at great cost that we could reunite the rowers in the canoe, and proceed along the beach in the northern direction until, at midnight, we reached the village of Camamu, drenched by the rain,