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Minas Gerais to Bahia

Solid red line : Martius-Spix route

Red-black line : Prince Vidensis 1815-1817

mountainous coast, and above Porto Seguro, in the province of the same name, under the name of Rio Belmonte, is launched into the ocean by various mouths.

Huge amounts of diamonds were found in it, and most of those were of lighter color and very pure brilliance. Rio Pardo is born on the northwest border of the region; it almost always keeps to the northwest direction and, finally, flows into the Rio das Velhas. In recent years, a very rich portion of diamonds has been removed from it, especially in black and bottle-green stones, and among them

the three-eighths and fourteen-eighths aforementioned. In a single portion of the same river, 180 carats were found at one time. Among all the diamond washes of the District, those of Rio Pardo are the furthest, that is, eight to nine leagues from the Tejuco. In addition to these two great rivers, almost all the other streams in the District are more or less diamond bearers, both in new and especially old beds, and at present in considerable depths, often covered with gravel.

The slaves are always employed washing the diamonds from the gravel. When the government took over the work, it was the task performed by blacks who belonged to the king; currently it is by private slave rental, paid daily. These slaves live near the miners in small huts, which they build with clay and slats, and are fed by the Junta Diamantina, with rations of beans, cornmeal, bacon and cachaca, supplies that are sent to them weekly, by a troop of mules, intended for this purpose. As they are gathered here in large numbers, living to their liking and according to African customs, blacks prefer this kind of existence to any other. The lords of these blacks receive the rent of 300, 450 or 600 cruzados weekly, excluding the days when they do not work. Sometimes, the bosses decreased the number of workers to extract more profit.

In order to encourage black people to work, they receive, by finding a valuable diamond, small gifts: wool caps, cloths, tobacco, etc.; and if the diamond is over 17 1/2 carats, the administration pays for the manumission of the finder, who is soon declared free, but the latter is obliged to complete part of his ransom with working days; If, by chance, the value of the stone is higher than the selling price of the slave, the latter receives, in addition to freedom, also some financial aid to settle into his new life.

Many overseers watch the work of blacks; of those there were about 100 in the year 1818. For this office, white men are preferably chosen, and each is usually paid $ 300,000 annually. And their