A bit of History
Half way through the XVI century, the name
Amazonas was given by a Spanish monk called Gaspar de Carvajal, the first
European columnist to travel through the Amazon River. The name, Amazonas, is an
allusion to the women of the Greek mythology.
The Amazon region had a period of great development that was responsible for its
nowadays face in one way or another.
During the rubber cycle (1879-1912), Amazon was responsible for almost 40% of
all Brazilian exports. Manaus, the capital of the State of Amazonas, was the
worldwide diamond selling capital, and its theater with 681 seats, was specially
brought from Europe in a ship to be assembled in Brazil.
Due to the rubber
boom, in the first years of the twentieth century, Brazilian Amazon had a
national per capita revenue two times higher than the coffee production areas in
São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo. But all that wealthy vanished when
the British took away some "Seringueiras" seeds to Malaysia which has become the
worldwide leader in natural rubber production.
When Sir Charles
Goodyear once found out the rubber vulcanization process, the product turned out
to be stable. So, the industry boom came on. Between 1850 and the beginning of
the twentieth century the exports of rubber in the Amazon region grew thirty
Sir Henry Ford tried out the plantation of Seringueiras in Amazon, but the
plantations collapsed due to the "Praga da Folha" pest attack. The region had a
new economic boom only in 1967, with the establishment of the Zona Franca, a
free trade zone.
imported from Europe and founded in 1896 theater is a Manaus and Brazil's
cultural beloved property. The original project belongs to the Liceu de
Engenharia de Lisboa (Portugal) and the inner decoration to Sir Domêncio de
Angelis. Its public capacity is 700 seats. It is for sure one of the most
amazing and beautiful structures of the world. Av. Eduardo Ribeiro
A bit of geography
Millions of years ago Cordilheira dos Andes was not formed
yet, and all Amazon rivers used to run to the Pacific Ocean, or the Caribbean.
When the Cordilheira raised, the exit to the Pacific Ocean was closed. The
rivers turned into lakes, their volumes joined and appeared in Amazon the
biggest lake on Earth. For a long time this scenery waited for the geologic
conditions to change again.
Amazon once brought together much more water than the nowadays its total volume.
If the Atlantic Ocean goes up only 55 meters high, its waters would reach the
city of Tabatinga, a Brazilian city in Rio Amazonas in the frontier with
Colombia and Peru. Each kilometer leaving out Brazil, the Rio Amazonas goes down
at about 2 cm. The water goes ahead much more by the force of the one coming
from the Cordilheira than the inclination of the land.
The Amazon lands declines from the West and North. The city of São Gabriel da
Cachoeira ( 800 KM from Manaus ), is to the Northwest of the region and as we
approach the city the number of waterfalls increases, and mountains can be seen.
In São Gabriel you are next to the Pico da Neblina the highest point in Brazil.
Going to the State of Roraima (capital, Boa Vista), you reach the high lands.
Wonderful and dangerous the Monte Roraima can be seen. To the South and East the
The Rio Amazonas receives the collaboration to its volume
from 1.000 different streams and rivers.
Near Manaus, Rio Negro is 100 meters deep. And it is just one of the Rio
Amazonas streams. There are at least 20 like it.
Much of Amazon land is not suitable for agriculture. There are, indeed, some
fertile islands, although, these places demand certain managed procedures.
The Rio negro that passes by Manaus is very beautiful indeed but as its water is
extremely acid and nutrients poor there is not so much life in it as in others
rivers. The forest is essentially tropical. It has three basic systems: varzeas,
igapó forests and firm land forests.
CABOCLOS : people born from
a mix of Indian and European settlers.
IGARAPÉ : small river created
by the waters rising
IGAPÓ : flooded forests
MANDIOCA : Cassava.
The cassava flour is made of this tuber and is basic food for
PALAFITAS: Dwellings on stilts,
common along the Amazon River thanks to its praticity when there are floods.
PIRARUCU: the biggest Amazonian fish.
It can be 3 meters and weighs 250 kg.
VITORIA-REGIA: known as the
biggest floating flower. Its beauty inspired a lot a Indian legends.