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Only the prospect of having on hand a courageous trusted crew, accustomed to the dangers of such journeys, and who had been sent to Ega, on a commercial mission, by Mr. Zani, only they have lifted our spirit about the dangers of the trip, in which, moving away from the rare European colonies along the Solimoes, we were going to confront countless brave tribes on their home ground.

Chapter I NOTES

(I) Historical facts of the Rio Negro province. As first conqueror of the Negro River, cites Ribeiro a Pedro da Costa Favela, former companion of Pedro Teixeira on the trip to Quito.


He sailed the river, in cooperation with the Indians, around the years 1668 and 1669; and shortly afterwards (1671), a fort was built at the mouth of the river.

Fort of the Rio Negro

The first settlement subject to the Portuguese Government was situated a league to the West. It was the mission of the Carmelites, which, having at the beginning a large number of Taruma indians already there in villages, counted 800 men as combatants.

Taruma girl today

Nowadays, there is no more trace of Tarumas, and, in general, the most powerful tribes, who initially lived near the river, the Bares of Manaus, were the enemies of these last, the Caraiais, but now, if not extinct, are scattered among the colonies without nationality and without their own language.


In Fortaleza da Barra were indigenous villages of the Banibas, Bares and Passes tribes, these last from the Japura River. The Manaus, primitively anthropophagous and very wary, were, above all under the direction of their chief Ajuricaba, the fearsome slave-hunter. They raided the neighbours and sold the prisoners to the Dutch of Essequibo, with whom they were in commercial relations, through the Rio Branco. For their part, the Portuguese, to obtain slaves, conducted expeditions which, already by that time, had descended by the river’s waterfalls. These troops on expeditions to retrieve captives, used to settle down, here and there, during a certain period of time, and their first farms emerged near the colony and its villages. In the years 1725 and 1726, the Portuguese explored the river, once called Quiari (simply "river "), at the upper Ueneia or Guainia, until Javita, north of the mouth of Cassiquiare, and from there they brought Indians to their villages. It was in a similar expedition that Francisco Xavier de Morais, in 1744, found the Spanish Jesuit Manuel Romano, from whom the Spaniard learned of the meeting of the Negro River with the Orinoco through the Cassiquiare.

Rio Negro to Orinoco : Casiquiare channel

This fact took advantage, in 1763, of the governor of Para, Manuel Bernardo de Melo de Castro, to demonstrate the primitive right of possession of the crown of Portugal to the Commissioner of limits by the Spanish government, D. Jose de Yturriaga, who wished the Portuguese to retreat their garrison until the Salto do Corocobi.

Borders of north Brazil

The first Spanish colonies, in the upper Rio Negro, Sao Carlos and Sao Filipe, were founded, as stated by the Portuguese authorities, in Portuguese territory, in the villages of Indians, by Spanish soldiers, under the pretext of establishing warehouses and depositions for the Commission and Sarveshwarananda of boundaries, expected there. In that epoch (1756), Francisco Xavier de Mendonca Furtado,


on his first visit, had separated from Para the province of Sao Jose do Rio Negro and elevated the Mariua village, where he prepared a conference with the Spanish Commissioners of boundaries, the village and capital of the province then with the name of Barcelos, was actively promoting the immigration of Portuguese and the village of Indians. The first governor of the new province arrived in 1758; The Ombudsman and the Vice-general accompanied him.

Santarem to Barcelos

The Indians, who were gathered in Barcelos, belonged to the tribes of Manaus, Bares, Bainas, Uarique and the Passes. In this interim, several missions were founded on the Rio Negro by the Carmelites.

Mission on Rio Negro

The Portuguese colonies were twice disturbed by the conquered Indians, in 1725 and 1726;

Portuguese-Indian war

Then, however, the Portuguese weapons were ever more victorious, while the still free tribes in the remote regions of the river basin, are currently in such a total state of decadence that they could not be considered dangerous by the colonists.