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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Province of Grao Para

created by the priests, and the whole population of the state of Grao-Para accepted it, so that to this point, in the year 1757, it was the language spoken in the pulpits, and also today still is needed for relations with the interior. The condition of the Indians was undoubtedly the most favorable, both for them and for the interests of the State, which, from time to time, requested the intervention of the priests, when the government needed Indians for the public works, for the service of paddlers and for fishing. Also other religious orders, particularly the Carmelites, took part equally in the civilization of the Indians, and all were enriched with their work, because under the administration of the missionaries, the Indians cultivated in the interior lands the rich natural products of the province, which come out of the convents, along the coast, and are exported to the foreigner.

Carmelites founded by St. Theresa

The Jesuits had large numbers of these missions on the coast, on the island of Marajo, and on the banks of the Amazon, and even the extreme frontiers of the Portuguese domain, in the Javari River.

The condition of the villages remained flourishing until the dissolution of the Jesuits. On that occasion, in 1759, no less than 112 Jesuits were deported from Para and Maranhao, to Europe. La Condamine, who traveled in 1741 to the missions along the Amazon, describes them as more flourishing and prosperous than the Spanish missions of Minas Gerais. They then passed the establishments of the Jesuits to other religious organizations. In the year 1718, according to Berredo ( "Anais ", pag. 322), it appears that there were 19 villages of the Jesuits, 15 of the Capuchins, 12 of Carmelites and 5 of mercenaries.

Mission

Mission

Mission

Pombal, mistaken both by false information, as by fantasized fears and by his ingrained hatred against the Jesuits, disclosed the inopportune expulsion of these priests, in a painful coup, in more than one sense, in the most important colony of Portugal. As for the Indians, it brought them political ruin and the disgrace of abandonment, which we had the opportunity to observe in the redskins of those regions.

The counsel of Pombal's brother, who ruled Para, gave the administration of the Indians to special directors, who were prepared by instructions specified for this function. This Directive (of May 3, 1757), the first recognized by that Governor, soon afterwards gained administrative strength throughout Brazil, and partly contains, as can still be observed today, in a singular mixture of axioms of Jesuit administration. These are liberal and repressive determinations, and, with partial knowledge of what the Indian needs to become a citizen, the order is also imbued with many chimeric and erroneous ideas about the ability and characteristics of the savage. Basically, the Directive agrees with the principles of religious orders, because it considers the Indian as equals in a race of men needing an education. As before under the direction of the missionaries, the forest dwellers were required to now gather in the villages under civilian jurisdiction, and be supervised by them, as to customs and policing. The director must also determine the common tasks of his subordinates, make plans for the community, hire Spaniards for harvesting wild products, such as Salsaparilla, Maranhao Carnation, Pexurim beans, cocoa, vanilla, etc. He should also take care to have the other contingent of Indians for the public works, to be paddlers of royal canoes, for the work in the arsenal, in the fortifications and other constructions, and to defend Spaniards against black Amocambados or enemy Indians, etc. Shortly thereafter, the obligation was also to take care of the teaching and civilization of their indigenous pupils. Males should learn to read and write; Females, baking, spinning, embroidery and doing work for the village. The teaching of Christian religion, inappropriate for the Civil authorities, was entrusted to the care of the bishop, who would appoint ecclesiastics for helping the villages. These tasks, that in themselves were commendable and effective, were best performed by the Jesuit priests with uniformity. It was rumored that there was a movement to abolish the Tupi language and oblige all of the Indians to learn Portuguese. The well intentioned reformer considered the lack of the family names among the Indians as a good reason to use the baptism for assimilation. While on the other hand, preserving Tupi would be a vehicle for mutual understanding, for its great knowledge of the other Indian languages in the construct of words, syntax and the whole set of formulas for spirituality. This opinion is justified by its persistency until today.

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