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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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other dangers. As we later learned, these half-tame Rio Doce Botocudos were transferred to the Rio Grande or Belmonte colonies (at the confluence of Jequitinhonha with Aracuai), to become less dangerous than they were in their early villages and so that afterwards having learned the settlers' way of life and seeing their facilities closely, they could communicate a little civilization to their fellow tribesmen when they returned; they were just on their way back to their favorite place, the jungles.

Explorera and Indians meet by chance

The government established, under the ministry of the Count of Linhares, in all regions inhabited by the Indians, military posts divided into divisions, with the obligation to maintain order among the forest people and to prevent their incursions against the colonists. One such post has already been described, the Presidio de Sao Joao Batista, on the Xipoto River, against the Puris, Coroados and Coropos, another is established in Pecanha, east of Vila do Principe, near the Malalis tribe. The most numerous and fearful nation of the primitive Indians, in

Vila Rica to Minas Novas

the woods between Rio Doce and Rio das Contas, is that of the Botocudos, often incorrectly called frexes, monos, ambores. This tribe is entrusted mainly to the vigilance of the "seventh division", whose headquarters are northeast of the county of Serro Frio, in Sao Miguel, the right bank of the Rio Grande. There an officer of a weak mulatto garrison has the double burden of both keeping the surrounding Botocudos in good friendship, and gradually taming them, as well as protecting safe passage to the ocean. With gifts and kind and informed treatment, the commander of this district has so far managed to establish

Botocudos

relations between these savages, still today fierce and war-like, and the Portuguese. Several villages of these cannibals were founded, along the river, and already the Botocudos begin to occupy themselves with farming; they brought to the settlers from time to time ipecacuanha, domesticated parrots, jaguar skins, etc., to exchange with European utensils, and services rendered as paddlers on their sail to Belmonte Village. Indeed, they are jealous of their freedom, and no tribe is yet in conditions of complete submission to the Portuguese, such as the Coroados and the Coropos; nevertheless the philanthropist sees with pleasure the continuing progress of these children of the jungles, who, even at the beginning of this century, were, by royal decree, declared outlaws and enemies of the state, pursued by patrols and at outposts like beasts, and captured and sentenced to ten years in captivity, or slaughtered with unprecedented cruelty. However, the Belmonte River Botocudos have been more likely to be civilized than the Rio Doce, for they are still always inclined to eat human flesh, especially that of their enemies, and they are distinguished by their cruelty and cunning.

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