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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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by Governor-General Ataide Teive in 1761 to discover this treasure, were unsuccessful. For us, it was of special importance to know the neighboring mountain, which, with the same direction and form, would give us a way to judge the possible gold-bearing formations of the mountains that extend from Monte Alegre up to here.

The Serra de Almeirim stands an hour north of the bank of the river, and its summit must be about eight hundred feet above the river.

View from Serra Almeirim

Soon, we passed closeby a high cattle market, and we passed, then, to a clear

plain, full of grasses, exactly identical to the rough fields of Piaui.

Fields of Piaui

Large tufts of green, hairy grasses alternate with several flowering herbs, quite far from each other, in the uneven ground of brown-ferruginous, decomposed stoneware.

In the floodplains of the field, there are small marshes, also covered with grasses, with groups of shrubs, like islands, and a peculiar palm, the jata or parima (Syagrus cocoides, Mart.).

Syagrus cocoides, the jata palm

My eyes passed with pleasure from one palm to another, from one bush to another. The mountain itself, which encloses this pleasant landscape, while running parallel to the river, from east to west, has, at the bottom of the slopes, identical vegetation of the field; higher up, however, it is covered with a thicket of large, parched trees, particularly chestnut trees.

Pachira aquatica, the water chestnut tree

 

Otherwise, there is nothing else of interest, except the ferruginous stoneware. Small springs descend from the flanks of the mountain, running to the fields, and the groves on the ridge entertain a pleasant freshness in the breeze. To the north of the Serra de Almeirim, the same elevation continues for a few hours to north-northwest. This is also covered with bush, in which the chestnut trees predominate.

From May to July, the large fruits ripen, containing the chestnuts, which are then harvested by the inhabitants and sold for 640 “reis” per bushel. The aspect of this mountain has a greater resemblance to that of the tabular mountains of Piaui,

Tabular mountains, Piaui

and it has become clear to me how the Guiana rivers, flowing slowly and unhindered between the isolated mountains, similar to each other, can flow into the main basin from here to Monte Alegre, parallel to the river. This mountain forms only the foothills of the boundary mountain range between Brazil and Cayenne, reached by the boats that sail upstream, only after eight days, to the place where the rivers form waterfalls. This was the Morro de Almeirim, the last hill I climbed in America. From this summit I once again saw, full of nostalgia, the great territory of the Amazon.

In front of me stood to the south, the green, lustrous, exuberant groves, whose glow ran along the nebulous horizon, closer to the river, which, like an arm of the sea, carried this impetuous stream eastward to the

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