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authority. He knows the use of poisoned arrows; however, his most handsome weapon is the club, made of a heavy black wood. For their robberies, the club is key to their plans, and they do not spare the losers, whom they take as slaves. Theft and murder are prohibited; the thief is punished according to the sentence of the robbed; against the killer, revenge is taken on him by the relatives of the murdered. They are skilled swimmers; the great rivers are rafted by them, and their rafts are built with the buriti palm.

On these rafts, they sometimes come downstream from the Maranhao province when they bring copaiba wax and balsam to sell to the settlers. Their parties usually begin at sunset, and last in the starlight until dawn. They celebrate at the time of the fruit harvest and on the occasion of weddings. They watch over the chastity of their daughters zealously; as for wives fidelity, that is indifferent to them. For the counting of time they are guided by the phases of the moon; When a star does not appear in rainy weather, covered by clouds, his calculations sometimes lengthen disproportionately, without their being able to evaluate them otherwise. They believe in the successions of the dry and humid season, day and night, lightning and thunder, all are for them a necessary mechanism of nature, having no idea of the author of these phenomena. In fact, they have no image of a divine being, and all their metaphysics is limited to believing in the magical forces of some beings whose encounter causes them fear and wonder.

This is what I could gather about the customs and ways of life of the Maranhao Indians. Some traces of these incomplete descriptions prove, moreover, that throughout this travel narrative I will more and more expound, that is, that the civilization of the indigenous Brazilian grows, the closer it approaches the equator.


Caxias communicates with the capital of Maranhao only by the Itapicuru River.

The overland paths that run along it from farm to farm are for riders only; they are only passable to the mule trains, as they can be kept open in the midst of the marshy, scrubby palm groves and exposure to the floods of the river.

So here we came to the end of our land voyage, and we rejoiced at the idea that we could now enjoy well-equipped canoes with greater comfort, as our shaken health demanded. Our freighter mules were sold to the workers, who from time to time undertake with numerous troops the long journey of 300 leagues overland, through Oeiras to Sao Felix and Natividade, to reach the remote part of Goias province with European products.

The Rio Itapicuru, to the sources of which no Brazilian has yet ventured, they say, runs southwest in