Remember the Rainforest 1
crowded with ferns, passing by Onca, Bom-Sucesso and Taparoca, in the direction of Arraial de Tapanhoacanga, a settlement of some 1,000 inhabitants, which sparkle with gold. On the way to the D. Rosa Farm, on the Rio do Peixe, the appearance of the countryside became more beautiful.
Diamond district, Minas Gerais
Vila do Principe, the main town of Serro Frio County, is located at 3,200 feet, 32 leagues from Vila Rica, 28 from Sabara, 9 from Tejuco, 106 from Rio de Janeiro, on a hill that extends into a cove formed by high mountains, covered with pastures.
Vila do Principe 2020
The streets are winding and badly paved hillsides; the houses, small and poor. At the time of our delay there, they were just taking care of building a new church. The number of inhabitants has been reduced in recent decades, as the result of the diminishing gold mines, so that currently there are no more than 2,000 souls, and in this area of old opulence there are only traces of misery. We were very kindly received, both by the resident administrator and by the priest. This priest took us to his house and showed us the interior decorated with French and English engravings in copper, and put the house at our disposal. The parish extends to most of the region and also to the Diamond District; It consists of 28,000 souls, and is administered by him and some coadjutors, paid from his pocket. The Ombudsman is also the steward of the Gold Foundry, which is attached therefore, to his office; Compared to that of Vila Rica, and unimportant, it consists only of a few ovens,
a room for weighing and checking the bars, and another for stamping and
separating from it a fifth for the king.
Also the gold found in the Diamond District must be melted here. The portion of the gold obtained is, on average, about 20 to 24 contos of cruzados. The metal found here is of particular purity, generally 22 to 23 carats, and of beautiful color. In the red clay, which overlaps the quartzite, it was once thought to be heavy with solid gold, weighing many pounds, and many gold crystals are also present today. In the past, it seems that the washings also appeared bright. There is no thought of conservation in the exploration of most of the plots, where lots of water near the village is gathered in tanks, dug in the high points.
We were held in high esteem here as doctors and had to examine a large number of patients, who suffered mainly from chronic chest diseases, hydrops, and so on.
As we were only then granted a special order for entry into the Diamond District, which begins about five leagues