next arrow

Remember the Rainforest 1



Expedition Index






People / Scenes


Green Girl's Eco Club

Eco SuperHeroes RTR2

Free Posters

Authors / Artists

Contact us


















(II) cont’d…

and Rio Negro, Francisco da Mota Falcao (1), took notice of the river. The first reason for this expedition came from the fugitive Indians of the Guaraju tribe, who descended through the Tocantins to escape a Paulista, Pascoal Pais de Araujo, who had led his followers here to the forest. Falcao met this adventurer, but avoided him thereafter. At the end of the following year and beginning of 1675, Father Antonio Raposo of Lisbon, stimulated by magnificent hopes of discovering gold in the river basin, undertook a well organized second expedition, which, however, was equally fruitless. In the second decade of the last century, the entire course of the river was discovered when Captain Diogo Pinto da Gaia, by order of Berredo, sailed upstream, recognized the

Bico do Papagaio, Tocatins meets Araguaia

meeting of Tocantins and Araguaia, and followed the Araguaia to latitude 12 ° south. The other important eastern arm of Tocantins, the Maranhao River, became known from 1728 onwards, when gold mines were found in its basin, which were then actively explored. For the expedition on the Araguaia, Governors Tristao da Cunha Meneses (1) in 1791, and the Count of Palma, in 1805, were particularly supportive. Although, from that time, all the governors of Goias and of Para had recommended this waterway, however, due to the scarcity of expeditions, it is still very little frequented. Years passed, without a single boat, still less a complete flotilla (a Flotilla is several canoes, which, due to fear of assault of Indians, join forces) making the trip.

In order to induce settlers to settle on the banks of the Tocantins, the following favors were promised by the government in 1810: ten years of tax exemption, six years of payment of debts to the treasury, no import taxes on their ships for ten years , and, within the same period, the right to enslave Indians captured in a just war. For the protection of travelers, besides the Manuel Alves River watch post, another was founded, the Presidio of Santa Maria, between Porto da Piedade and Sao Joao das Duas Barras, from 1813 to 1818. The Company of Commerce, proposed by the Governor of Goias, between this province and Para obtained the royal sanction in 1811. According to recent news, up to the year 1828 there was no increment of troops.

Provinces of Para and Goias

Much later, when sailing in the Tocantins, coming from Belem do Para, the connection of this river with the interior of the province of Maranhao was discovered. After the founding of the Arraial de Sao Bento dos Pastos Bons, in the interior of Maranhao in I 744, the cattle ranchers from this area, moved their farms to the western fields.

Elias Ferreira de Barros arrived at the Manuel Alves Grande River, where he established, in 1798, his Mirador Farm. He was informed by a black fugitive of the proximity of a great river, in which Barros must have traveled in a flotilla, from Belem do Para to Goias. Barros embarked, and, turning below Manuel Alves arrived at Araguaia, first paddling upstream , and then, going back, he sailed from Tocantins to Belem do Para. He convinced the government of Maranhao to open a road from his Mirador farm, along the Tocantins, to Porto Real, employing fourteen soldiers in the service. In 1809 the first trip was made on this road, through Goias and Minas Gerais, to Rio de Janeiro.

Road through Goias

All the major rivers, which lead the waters of the highlands of Brazil, to discharge them in the Amazon, cross two territories of different nature and whose limit is designated by its cataracts. Above the cataracts: fields vegetation, and of gold, a territory of mines comparable to that of Minas Gerais, Goias and Cuiaba; beneath the cataracts, forests of the same pattern as those of the Amazon area, and, to a greater extent, the same terrain.

Alto Amazonas. upper basin + lower basin, Grao Para

We can properly designate this region as the lower basin and the other as the upper basin. The more one proceeds from east to west, the further the lower region widens, as it extends deeper into

(I) Pedro Cesar de Meneses ruled the State of Maranhao from 1671 to 1678, when he was succeeded by Inacio Coelho da Silva. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras.).
(2) Tristao da Cunha Meneses governed the captaincy of Goias from 1783 to 1800. (Note from Rev. Inst. Hist. And Geogr. Bras.).