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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Serra Mocambo

to the left of the isolated Serra do Mocambo, and we followed several swamps on the back of this mountain, where we wandered a few crystalline slopes, and often with effort, we made our way through lightning, through wet woods. In the grain of the rocks, large erratic pieces of perigone agata often appeared. We did not always find a farm by nightfall and were forced to sleep in the open. As it had thundered almost every afternoon, or later, before midnight for the last fourteen days, our feverish state was always getting worse with constant colds due to rain.

Serra de Sao Goncalo

On May 15, we climbed the gres mountain, Serra de Sao Goncalo, which rises to about 400 feet of altitude; On the other side of this mountain we came to the small village of the same name, a square of low straws straw huts around a ruined chapel, and the center of an Indian colony. Fifty years earlier, under the rule of Joao Pereira Caldas, the grandfather of the captain of Oeiras, Joao do Rego Castelo Branco, had beaten several tribes, which to the colonists, who were isolated there, were then dangerous with their constant attacks.

The losers, 500 in number, were, according to custom, gathered in villages, far from their native camps. The Geicos were settled in the parish of Nossa Senhora das Merces, west of Oeiras; the Timbiras, Acroas and Gogues were gathered in Sao Goncalo do Amarante. These last three tribes are designated by the countrymen with the common name of Gamelas. We found only a remnant of this once important colony; According to the priest's records, there were only about 120 people, and even these were not all of mixed origin. Certain diseases, especially the mumps, had killed many; others had long since returned to their old retreats. The sad aspect of the Indians, who wandered here in abstract inertness, the filth and disorder of the poor huts, as well as the lack of a convenient direction now entrusted to a soldier given to drunken addiction, - reinforced our conviction that one should consider it rare to succeed in colonizing Indians.

Uncolonized indian

This conviction is all the more sensitive to the investor, because these colonization companies almost always cost a huge sacrifice in human lives. When it is decided to set up a tribe of Indians in a colony, either to render them harmless or to make them useful to the state, this is almost never done without a war, the consequence of which is the submission of the tribe.

Tupis war with Portuguese colonizers

To this end, militia troops and volunteers are formed; the state provides them with weapons and ammunition, and the warehouses store provisions, which for large expeditions need to be packed with months’ supplies. Sometimes cattle are brought along to be slaughtered along the way. Troops rarely make their entry with frank confrontation; rather they seek to surprise the Indians in the solitary and scattered nuclei of

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