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our return, which, with the departure from the plateau to the cliff, full of heaped rocks and stone fragments, was very dangerous. To signal the people of Tejuco, and of the company, the blacks lit a fire just below the top. Almost barefoot, and extremely fatigued, we finally reached the huts, where Ferreira da Camara was full of unrest waiting for us, and he received us reassured.

Itambe peak

Mount Itambe, the highest of which we had ascended and measured throughout our trip through Brazil, is 5,590 feet Parisian in altitude, and thus surpasses by

Etching 48 Itacolumi mountain

972 feet to the equally very high Itacolumi near Vila Rica. It is composed entirely of fine-grained white-gray quartzite,

which at the top contains large portions of rounded quartz pieces, including the gaps, which sometimes become coarse-grained, and no more traversed by thick quartz strands. Its layers are very compact; to the west, the heights are more abrupt and eroded than to the east. All over the mountain there is no trace of itabirite, no deposits of mica, nor the iron ore layers of tapanhoacanga. It is surprising that they found diamonds in it at a considerable height. Along the little Capivari, remains of the washed gravel can still be seen, and, it is reported that a diamond of the weight of two octaves a few years ago was washed there.

View from Itambe

From the peak of the mountain, we saw with a bird's-eye view, the whole of the distance we had traveled. The top of the ridge is covered with the low vegetation we have mentioned, of the genus of alpine flora; further down, on the bare, stony slopes, appear the widths of 500 to 800 feet, the open fields of gramineas, interspersed with mystical trees (Ochna, Ocotea, Lychnophora) (1) and arborescent honeysuckles (Vellosiae, Barbaceniae); further down, about 1,500 feet wide, we saw a belt of thick undergrowth and, furthermore, a transition to dense, undergrowth, ferns, and also bamboo, frequently in swampy soil; then the terrain passed to general fields of high gramineas and isolated thickets, shrubs and melocactos. Finally, at the bottom of the mountain, especially in the valleys made by the waters, there is a closed, low, evergreen cap of treetops below.

After we had managed to break camp, we made our way back with all our people and rested the next night on the farm at the foot with the administrator Jose Alves. The general rejoicing for the happy success of our tour was here disturbed by the indisposition of one of our own. He suffered

(I) The thick-covered branches of these bushes, called here “country knifes” are from the Compostas family, useful because of their combustibility as a lamp fuel.


Graminea family


Blastemanthus grand (Ochnea family)


Lynchnophora villosa

Vellosia plicata

Barbacenia purpurea

Barbecenia coccinea