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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Para. These meadows appear, to a greater or lesser extent, among the dense virgin forests. They are the resting places of the few travelers, who undertake the arduous trip overland from Maranhao to the capital of Para, a path that the brave Pedro Teixeira (1616) was the first to claim.

Maranhao to Grao Para overland

From S. and S.W., travelers continue to the Pindare River bank and to the Villas of Viana and Moncao. A large part of this characteristic field region of Cuma Bay was included in our plans, to be visited, as we traveled to Alcantara;

we did not let the torrential rain stop us, and we sailed, at three o'clock in the morning, with the high tide, through a narrow channel of that region, inland to the west. At the end of this channel, arriving at the port of Tucupai, we had to cross a narrow stretch to reach the port of Carvalho, another stream, which flows into Cuma Bay. As the storm continued and we were reduced to staying, either in the chamber of our little boat, in the houses of the few farms along our way, we split from our company and returned to Alcantara, pleased to have known several branches of the crops of Maranhao, which we found on this path. (Note VI). The port of this city generally has only six to eight bracas of depth; That is why it is sought only by small vessels; These, however, provided lively trade with the capital, so it was easy to find a boat the next day to return there. We had the opportunity to visit an indigo factory, which had been founded shortly before in the village. The vats, where the herb called caau-uru (Indigofera indigo, tinctoria, L., etc.)

Indigofera

is crushed, and soon after covered with water, have no communication with the other vats, where the precipitate of the indigo operates outside the vat by being drained into buckets; the buntings, where the deposited mass was to dry, were thinly sprinkled and made of coarse cotton. The indigo prepared here was sometimes in the form of small circular pastes, sometimes irregular in shape; its grain was of uneven consistency, either floury or very hard. In other places, near

Morus alba, the mulberry

the village, we noticed some isolated mulberry trees (Morus alba, L.), which had been planted in the reign of D. Jose, by determination of the Marques de Pombal, to introduce the silk industry; however, they had been unused for many years, as this branch of industry was abandoned after a few attempts. In fact, some families were sent from Portugal to teach and spread silkworm cultivation; but these efforts were unsuccessful, because the animals were probably weakened by the extreme climate, because the eggs of the third generation did not bear fruit. No doubt,

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