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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Province of Grao Para

So we were, after so many dangers and torments, in the long-sought province of Para. With serene contentment we regarded the events of the past; the far-off goal was reached; From the Tropic of Capricorn to the equator, we had toured the opulent country, and brought a memory full of wonderful aspects. We now stood at the equator, the place of balancing the most beautiful agreement of all earthly powers; and as man's greatest joys are those of the world of ideas and perceptions, so we were rejoiced with the unspeakable sensations which the grandeur of the place awakened in us. When we first woke up here, we opened the shutters of our bedroom; the sun shone, as in triumph, in the deep blue of the sky; the fields stretched sparkling with dew; and the whisper of palm trees, stirred by the breeze, accompanied the hosanna sung by the singing of flocks of birds. We then consumed the superb feast of nature with our eyes, rapt, strengthened, as if sanctified for more noble aspirations and higher joys!

How we absorbed these sensations, carried by the waters of the most raging river on earth, in the immense woods, where America's primitive man lives in the unchanging habit of life of hereditary nature, and this is what the third volume of this travel narrative will report.

CHAPTER V NOTES

(I) Mentioning the hitherto unknown basin of the Turi River, I cite the few reports I could get about this great region, which stretches between the Mearim River and the Para River, and along the coasts of the sea and the shores of its most important rivers, sparsely populated by the Portuguese colonization. I owe them almost exclusively to the accounts of an eyewitness, my venerable friend, Mr. Romualdo Antonio de Seixas, Grao-Para General Vicar. This enormous territory, despite its incredible fertility, is almost unexplored, as the province's poor population has no disposition to extend further inland while it can gain possession of extensive land near the coast and the mouth of the main rivers. In greater numbers, farms are established on the banks of the Guama River; and, in fact, the population is composed in the parishes of Sao Domingos, Porto Grande and Vila de Ourem, mainly white, who have transmigrated from the Portuguese islands here. Less numerous are the population of the Capim River bank, in the parishes of Sant'Ana and Sao Bento, the latter consisting almost exclusively of Indians. Three leagues away from the sea coast, on the Caete River, is the most

Braganca

important place in the whole district, Vila de Caete or Braganca, with about 2,000 inhabitants in its parish. The last provincial village on this coast, Gurupi Village, is extremely poor and inhabited by only a few Indian families.

Gurupi today

In addition to the mentioned villages, there is in the interior the place of Serzedelo, on the eastern bank of the Gurupi River.

Serzedelo

Further inland, everything is unknown; and the road, which connects the capitals of Para and Maranhao, does not deviate to these places, being frequented almost exclusively by postmen of the Postal Administration, and only rarely is traveled by those travelers, who want to avoid the sea voyage. This path, which comes from Para through the Guama River above with the ebb, passes

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