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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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They speak, therefore, the general language of Tupinambarana. Those early inhabitants either crossed with the rest of the Indians, or with the general European population, who showed ease in learning the general Tupi language. Among those Spanish Indians, and the natives, or Quenicarus, who were settled here for the last four decades, there are tribes of the Paravelhanos,

Mundurucus and Maues. The place then flourished, when it became the trade center for travelers coming from the Amazon, and who followed the Madeira River to Mato Grosso and back;

however, it has also been very little affected by wealth and population, since trade is actively exploited by the Indians of the Maue River and the neighboring Madeira, which is so rich in products. Of these Maues, both the Brazilians and the civilized Indians of the same nation, harvest cloves, sarsaparilla, cocoa, and particularly Guarana, a medicine whose preparation is widely scattered there and especially attributed to the Maues. (Note II).

Guarana is a chocolate-colored paste with little aroma and considerable harshness. When the fine powder is dissolved in water and sugar, it serves as a soda, or is simply taken as lemonade for its pleasant taste, but above all to cure diarrhea. Its use is so widespread that it is sent from Tupinambarana to the whole kingdom, particularly to the provinces of Moxos and Chiquitos and then exported. A kindly Indian from the Maues tribe presented me with several jugs of Guarana, which he himself had prepared, and let me watch the preparation of the medicine . (Note III)

Guarana fruit

Our stay in Vila Nova da Rainha [now Manaus] was in every way pleasant, due to the kind welcome that the commander, Mr. Elias de Seixas, had given us. We had been recommended by his brother, the Vice General of Belem do Para.

Google maps, Manaus

The village, as the westernmost settlement of the Rio Negro province, has a garrison of about 20 soldiers, charged with keeping the peace, and inspecting the canoes of commerce,

in transit there for whose cargo they are held accountable. In front of the barracks we saw two cannons, which are generally used to announce the feast days of the church.

Customs inspectors

Small detachments of soldiers sometimes accompany travelers to the Madeira River, or to the two large Indian villages, Canoma and Maue.

The inhabitants, Mundurucus and Mauhes, are led by two missionaries, who, in fact, make deals with the merchants who serve them; however, by reason of the great number of deals going on, there is much reason for caution and little chance of fair profit. The situation of the village is extremely pleasant.

 

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