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being near the center of the South American continent, we need look no further to find the boundaries of Brazil. The grace of the surrounding nature caused us the most pleasant impressions, perhaps due to the effect of the fast progress and settlement of the place, which has since 1809, been elevated to the capital of the province of Sao Jose do Rio Negro (note I), and , in consequence of the change of residence of the Governor, who came from Barcelos to here, is home today,

Governor's Palace

not only to the highest civil and military authorities, but also several families living in that village, or even further, in the upper Rio Negro. We cited the number of the population at more than 3,000; However, they are not all in one place, because a part of the families live in distant farms or fishing grounds, and only come here for the occasion of the church festivals. At the time of our stay in Barra do Rio Negro, officially called Fortaleza, it was not yet a village, but a simple place.

It is situated on the northern bank of the Rio Negro, about a German mile from its confluence with the Amazon, in an uneven terrain, cut by several streams, and appears, like all the other villages of the State, almost exclusively of adobe houses, whose walls are built of Pau-a-pike and clay, usually covered with palm leaves.

House on the Rio Negro

The houses are very separate from the others, and form some irregular streets. The habitation of our friend Zani seemed the most imposing of all, because of its two floors, close to the residence of the governor.

Captain Zani's house ?

In addition, there is no shortage of facilities essential to warm climates; And, notwithstanding its distance from the ocean, there are countless indications of commerce, not only in the furniture, but also in domestic appliances. Besides the highest authority, subordinate to the Governor of Para, and by the military rule, there reside here the Ombudsman and the vice-general of the province. The high judge’s functions are filled by an ordinary judge. The province also has an treasury and other administrative positions like subalterns, such as the others. There is still the lack of a doctor, pharmacist and school teacher. The majority of the population, newly emigrated from Portugal, or descended from Lusitanians, almost always with a mixture of indian blood, negotiates the harvest of the farms and trades in the natural products obtained by the exchange with the Indians. This trade, however, is relatively insignificant, and the cash deficit that is felt in Santarem is always felt more here in Forteleza. It seems that there are only 30,000 escudos in circulation. For this reason, the government was obligated to collect a tax of 10 percent on natural products.This income barely rises to more than $12.000 throughout the province, although it pays for the farinha flour not even 5% tax and the other provinces pay 10%.