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surveyors, drafters and the Naturalist Dr. Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira, held in


1781, an expedition to the interior of the province together with the Spanish Border Commissioner, Don Francisco Requena, who had held this commission a few years (until 1786) in Ega and Rio Negro. (Nata III). Only upon returning to Belem, in April of the following year, did we receive a copy of a hydrographic-ethnographic map, made for a return trip in 1786 by a Vice-General of Para, Jose Monteiro de Noronha, that would have been of great use during the journey itself.

We have, in addition to the map made by order of the Academy French, only the general map of South America, by Arrowsmith. We are not informed about the way to take, nor about the navigable waterways and other circumstances, which found us, thus, delivered, on a journey that would be so prolonged and risky, entirely to the whims of an Indian, our pilot. Therefore, we appreciated it so

Captain of the militia

much more sincerely, when our friend Captain Zani, who had already taken seven trips in the Amazon, promised to finish his business in the capital, and look for us, a month after our departure, in Santarem, where we would travel, in his company, until the Rio Negro.

Rio Amazon

The admirable confluence of the waters of the Amazon with those of Tocantins, which wander between the labyrinth of countless islands, offers three different paths, when leaving Belem, to reach the Great river. The large ships are advised to descend down the river to below, double back at Cape Magoari and take, between the Mexiana and Caviana Islands, the way to Macapa, and then follow upriver. However, this path is dangerous for ships of all species, because of the sand banks, which exist in the vicinity of those islands, and those at the mouth, often shift, and the waters are very turbulent.

Navigating the Amazon Delta

Marajo Island

The second path is by way of Para River, between the island of Marajo and the continent, in the direction of Southwest, then the Tagipuru to the north, leading the travelers to the Amazon River, below Gurupa. This path, the shortest of all, also is risky, because of the countless sand banks, the byways, and the dangerous shifting currents.

Etching 40 Igarape-Mirim Para

They only take the canoes, whose size allows passage on the so-called Igarape-Mirim. This one channel, properly named, is navigable only to small boats (Igaras),

inland of the continent, and connects, in the direction of the northwest the waters of the Moju with the mouth of the Tocantins. Travelers, who prefer to sail this way, leaving from Belem, follow the Moju river, and thus avoid the dangers of the river Para, between the southern coast of Marajo and the low margins of the continent.

These fluvial pathways are named by the people of Para: the first is