“The Moors of Morocco at this time took from the Portuguese the last of their possessions in that part of Africa. In the noonday of Portugal, her best historians found it necessary to distribute her history into four distinct portions,…so extensive was the empire which she had established in Africa, Asia, and America.”

“The history of Portuguese Africa, (or that part of it which had been of most importance,) was now closed by the fall of Mazagam; and it ended in a happier hour than it began. The immediate consequence was the most advantageous change in the commercial system of Brazil.”

“Hitherto Portugal had been in a state of permanent war with the Moors, and for that reason, the Brazillian trade was carried on by annual fleets,…..the prohibition of single ships, which had commenced during the Dutch war, having been continued in force, first because of the Buccaneers, and their successors the Pirates, and when those common enemies of all mankind had been exterminated, then on account of the Barbary cruizers.”

“Peace was now made with Morocco when there was no longer an old point of honor to impede it, and Oeyars immediately declared, that as soon as the fleets from Baia and the Rio should have returned, the trade with those ports might be carried on by single ships.”

“The inhabitants raised cotton and provisions and were well supplied with fish. Some twenty leagues to the east, the town of Almeirim stood in a commanding situation, at the mouth of the Paru, one of the points which the Dutch occupied when they attempted to establish themselves upon the great river: the remains of their works still make part of the fort.”

“Its population in 1784, was wholly Indian and amounted to about three hundred persons. They cultivated mandioc, maize, rice, pulse, and cotton. The women, at their ordinary occupations, were naked from the waist upward; but when they went to Church they wore a shift and linen petticoat, tied up their hair, and adorned their necks with a bentinho.”

“There were two smaller towns, and two river parishes, (so those parishes are called where the population has no fixed and central point,) between Almeirim and Mazagam. That place was losing its inhabitants because of its unhealthy situation, which proved fatal even to persons brought thither from the coast of Morocco.”

“Below Mazagam was Villa Vistoza da Madre de Deos,…the Beautiful Town of the Mother of God! It ill-deserved this lofty appellation. Three hundred families were planted there by the Government: some of them were good colonist from the Azores, but the greater number were criminals, foreign soldiers, and subjects taken from the house of correction: about nine-tenths of this hopeful population speedily forsook the place. It is on the left bank of the Anauirapucu, a considerable river, seven leagues from its mouth…”

Source: History of Brazil, Volume 3 By Robert Southey

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Leave a Reply