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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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CHAPTER II
Stay in Tejuco and excursions by the Diamantino District

Santo Antonio do Tejuco, distant forty leagues from Vila Rica, reclines on the slope of a mountain range, on whose slope the Ribeirao de Santo Antonio flows, and is one of the most flourishing villages in Brazil. Their houses are two stories, clean and comfortable; the shops are stocked with goods of all kinds; The pavement of the streets is quite good, which continues on the main thoroughfare for a half hour walk to the outside of the village. It is the focal point of the Diamond District, home of the quartermaster general and the entire Diamantina Board, which includes, in addition to the aforementioned officials, the tax corrector, two tellers, an inspector general and a diamond secretary. For the surveillance of the place, the registry's garrison and the military service of the junta, which here is a command of the Minas Gerais Dragoon Regiment. There are more than 6,000 inhabitants, who, as I said above, belong to the diocese of Vila do Principe, and are under the direction of simple coadjutor.

Uncut diamond

Tejuco owes its existence and its current flowering, only to the appearance of diamonds. These gems were found in the first decade of the last century when gold began to sparkle north of Principe, and at first they were used as goals (guns), appreciated for their brilliance, with no known value. An ombudsman who had seen rough diamonds from the East Indies in Goa was the first to recognize the stones here as identical to them; He secretly assembled a large number of them, and soon after returned to Portugal, not before having communicated the secret to the family of Bernardino da Fonseca Lobo (1). The latter, in the beginning, handed over his find to the Governor of Minas Gerais; but, after all, having not received the expected reward from the captain and general, he took the rest of his stones to Lisbon.

(1) His name was Bernardo, not Bernardino, as Southey certainly read the authors. A. de Saint-Hilaire (ob. Cit., 1,2). also pointed out this error. For the discovery of diamonds in Minas Gerais, see Basilio de Magalhaes, “Geographic Expansion of Colonial Brazil, "pp. 239-240. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras.).

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