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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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The Portuguese government, being alerted to this, declared in 1730 a royal monopoly on the exploitation of diamonds, and decreed that the same taxes would be charged as for gold. When this process was found to be impractical, a head tax of twenty to fifty thousand cruzados per capita was set for each diamond-mining slave; the boundaries of the Diamond District were more rigorously demarcated, and in 1741 diamond mines were leased for 230 $ 000 each black, and the license to work with 600 of them for four years was granted to Joao Fernandes de Oliveira and Francisco Ferreira da Silva.

Diamond wash

This lease under identical clauses was twice renewed with Joao Fernandes de Oliveira and, in the interim, once, with the family of Felisberto Caldeira Brant, from Paracatu, to which the wealth of Vila Rica had to contribute, by regal order, with considerable supplies. The rental price has gone up and up, up to 450,000 (1) collected annually. The contractors, however, actually worked with far more slaves than they were allowed in the contract. Fernandes de Oliveira is said to have employed 10,000 slaves instead of 600, and through a bribery system that spread from Minas Gerais throughout Brazil to the court of Lisbon, concealed his dishonesty. Such misadventures and the pride that led them to opulence were perhaps the reason why the Caldeiras family, who also explored diamond deposits in the Rio Claro and Rio dos Piloes, in Goias, later found their property confiscated and their boss ended up in jail in Lisbon (2). The continuing dishonesty of this course had exhausted the mines; These and other reasons led the king to take over the administration of the diamond mines. The regions where diamonds were once found were raised to a state within the state, within relatively narrow borders, the Diamond Demarcation, and only certain diamond extraction service personnel were allowed to work the mines. King Joao appointed the Marques de Pombal to the supreme administration, as director of the royal treasury. Under his orders, there were three directors in Lisbon, and three administrators in Brazil, over whom the judge and chief executive of the Demarcacao Diamantina had precedence. To this

1) 1 = 400 kings. (Rev. note, Ed. Melh.).
2) Felisberto did not die in jail in Lisbon. The truth is that, open to arrest in Lisbon, he was killed by the earthquake of November 1, 1775, when the unfortunate Brazilian appealed to the Marques de Pombal, who asked for the appointment of the new ergastulo and Felisberto’s prosecution, which was concluded. Faced with the parole given by the powerful minister of D. Jose, Felisberto went to treat his bad health, in Caldas da Rainha, and died there three months later. See the interesting work by Rodrigo Otavia "Felisberto Caldeira - Chronicle of Colonial Temps", father3. 248-252. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras,).

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