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Notes on the Geography of Great Mirror: Photo 1

world pictures Great Mirror

Eight hundred miles from the sea, Manaus was founded in 1669 on the Rio Negro 10 miles above its confluence with the Amazon. Here's the Negro at sunset; the Amazon is out of sight but off to the left. What's that you say? Yes, I agree: no disrespect to the Amazon, but the Rio Negro is nothing to sneeze at. The water, by the way, is crystal clear but appears dark when deep.

Here's Franz Keller, commenting on his arrival in 1867, when Manaus had about 3,000 people (now it has about two million): "The shallow bay on the left shore of the Rio Negro was full of fishing-boats, from beneath whose roofs of palm-leaves half a score of brown faces popped out to have a look at the strangers." Strangers aren't so strange these days. American Airlines flies down here nonstop daily from Miami.

For Keller, see The Amazon and Madeira Rivers: Sketches and Descriptions from the Note-Book of an Explorer, 1874, p. 33.

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