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Relation of the trip of Dr. Spix on the Rio Negro, from Barra do Rio Negro to Barcelos, and return to the starting point


On February 11, I left Barra do Rio Negro. Soon I left the mouth of the small stream of Ajurim, which, a league farther inland, forms a waterfall, then plunging into the river, above the village. On the southern bank of the Rio Negro lies a narrow basin, the Xiporena, which Arrowsmith overestimated and which, when the Negro is flooded, provides a route for small boats, between that river and Solimoes,. From there I hurried to one of the strangled points, which this river forms, sometimes in the manner of the lymphatic vessels. I reached it around noon. Here, in the place where the river narrows to half a league wide, there is on the southern side the place of Paricatuba, belonging to the ombudsman.

{Probably, the ombudsman's quarters}


Further in, on the northern shore, there is Taruma, the official farm, founded by Governor Vitorio da Costa.

Taruma and Manaus today

From now on, the river stretches out, which, at Barra, is only a league wide. Above Barra, the banks rise to 20 or 30 feet in height, and consist of a ferruginous sediment.

Paricatuba on Rio Negro

The Rio Negro begins to fill later than the Solimoes. This last one usually does its first rise in the middle of November, and begins to fill, without interruption, until the end of that month, while all the other rivers, coming from the south, that are thrown in the Amazon, like the Madeira, the Purus and others, are filling already at the end of October.

Rio Negro

Rio Negro meets Rio Solimoes

The Rio Branco is the one that has the later flood, that is, in February. This is why the inhabitants gather the turtle butter first in Madeira, then go to Solimoes and finally to Rio Branco.

In Barra, the river had grown about 12 feet higher; after a journey of five days, I found, upstream, most of the islands and the banks, over a great area, were covered with bushes already under water.

They tell me that the floods of the Rio Negro rise to 30 feet of height. This river has all black waters, similar in color to that which flows from the corrals.

Its depth measures in Barra and all the way to Barcelos 18 to 19 “bracas” or yards; upstream, eight to nine “bracas” more. Its inclination is