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Notes on the Geography of Brazil: Manaus 30 Years Later: Photo 3

world pictures Brazil: Manaus 30 Years Later




From that forest also came this.

You know most of the story. Rubber became a major industrial commodity in the 19th century, and the supply came from rubber trees growing here and there in the Amazon forest. Then a wicked English gentleman, rather proud of his skullduggery, absconded with some rubber-tree seeds and spirited them away to Kew Gardens, from whence (can't beat that word) a later generation of rubber-tree seeds was taken to establish plantations in Ceylon and points east. Tappers no longer had to wander through the Amazon forest looking for another tree to tap. Bye-bye, Brazil's trade. The curtain fell about 1920.

Here's the prize relic of the boom, the Teatro Amazonas. The names up top are an odd mix: Joaquim Macedo was a novelist and playwright, but Eduardo Ribeiro was the governor of Amazonas in the 1890s, when the city had money to burn. Ribeiro was forced from office and a few years later was found dead in his hammock. He was 38. There are several juicy stories about this, but we venture that his death wasn't from natural causes.

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