A. HENRY SAVAGE-LANDOR
WITH 2 MAPS, 8 COLOURED PLATES, AND 260 ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR
IN TWO VOLUMES
HODDER AND STOUGHTON
LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO
Printed in 1913
Copyright in the United States of America
by A. Henry Savage-Landor
THIS WORK IS DEDICATED
GREAT BRAZILIAN REPUBLIC
SOUTH America is, to my mind, "the Coming Continent"—the Continent of the future. Everybody knows the wealth of the Argentine, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia; but the interior of Brazil, the largest and richest country of all, not unlike forbidden Tibet, was perhaps better known a century or two ago than now. Few people realize that Brazil is larger than the United States of North America, Germany, Portugal, and a few other countries taken together. The interior is practically a terra incognita—although the ancient Jesuits and, at a later date, escaped slaves and native rubber collectors have perhaps found their way inland to a considerable distance.
When I started on the transcontinental journey I did not take Europeans with me. It is not easy to find men who can stand the strain of so long a journey. I was also not surprised, although I was disappointed, not to be able to obtain suitable officers in Brazil to go part of the journey with me, so that I might be relieved of a portion of the tedious scientific work of the expedition, especially taking and computing daily astronomical observations, to which much time has to be devoted. All the work of all kinds eventually fell upon my shoulders, and after departing I found myself filling the posts of surveyor, hydrographer, cartographer, geologist, meteorologist, anthropologist, botanist, doctor, veterinary surgeon, painter, photographer, boat-builder, guide, navigator, etc. The muleteers who accompanied me—only six, all counted—were of little help to me—perhaps the reverse. So that, considering all the adventures and misfortunes we had, I am sure the reader, after perusing this book, will wonder that we got back at all, and will be indulgent enough to give me a little credit for saving, through innumerable disasters—and perhaps not altogether by mere luck—all my photographs (800 of them), all my note-books, all my scientific observations, as well as all the vocabularies I made of the various Indian languages of tribes found on my way. Also for bringing all my men out alive.
Here are, briefly, a few results of the expedition:—
(a) First of all it has proved that, far from South America's being an impenetrable continent—as was believed—it is possible for any experienced traveller to cross Brazil in any direction, if he could obtain suitable followers.
(b) It has proved that the "millions of savage Indians" supposed to be swarming all over the interior of Brazil do not exist at all. All the pure Indians of Central Brazil taken together may number a few hundreds, or including half-castes (negroes and Portuguese), a few thousands. As for the wild beasts and snakes, no one ever need fear being troubled by them. They are more afraid of you than you of them, you can take my word for it. So that the terror which has so far prevented people penetrating the interior has no reasonable ground, and this book ought to be the means of making European people some day swarm to develop that marvellous land now absolutely uninhabited.
(c) Meteorological observations were recorded daily right across Brazil.
(d) Altitude observations, forming a complete chain and including all minor undulations, were registered across the entire South American continent from the Atlantic coast at Rio de Janeiro as far as Callao on the Pacific coast. The observations were taken with a hypsometer and several excellent aneroids. These show that many of the elevations marked on the existing maps of Brazil are inaccurate, the error amounting sometimes to several hundred feet.
(e) A complete survey was made of new country between the Araguaya river and the Madeira, including a careful survey of the Arinos river and the river Arinos-Juruena, one of the most powerful tributaries of the Amazon. In the small map, reproduced from the best existing maps, at the end of the first volume, several high mountain ranges, quite as high as the Andes, may be noticed extending from north to south between the rivers Madeira, Tapajoz, Xingu, Araguaya and Tocantins. Those high ranges are merely the work of imaginative cartographers, who have drawn them to make the map look pretty. They do not exist. I have left them in order to draw the attention of the reader to them. The position of the Arinos-Juruena is from 1 to 11/2 degrees farther west than it is there drawn, and should be where I have marked the red line of my route.
(f) Everything that was of interest pictorially, geologically, botanically, or anthropologically was photographed or sketched. Astronomical observations were constantly taken to determine the positions of our camps and places of importance.
Botanical and geological collections were made, but unfortunately had to be abandoned.
(g) During the journey the head waters of the following important rivers were visited: The Rio Vermelho, Rio Claro, Rio Araguaya, Rio Barreiros, Rio das Mortes, Rio S. Lourenco, the Cuyaba river, the Xingu, the Paranatinga, the Paraguay river (Parana), the Rio Arinos, the Secundury.
(h) The entire course of the river Tapajoz was studied, and also the entire course of the Amazon from its mouth almost to its birthplace in the Andes.
(i) Useful vocabularies were drawn up of the following Indian languages: Bororo, Apiacar, Mundurucu, Campas or Antis.
(k) The expedition has furthermore shown that it is possible with poor material in the way of followers to accomplish work of unusual difficulty.
(l) That it is possible for people in a normal condition of health to go at least sixteen days without food while doing hard work.
(m) That it is possible to cross an entire continent—for one entire year—in the company of dangerous and lazy criminals without any weapon for protection—not even a penknife—and to bring forth from such poor material remarkable qualities of endurance, courage, and almost superhuman energy.
(n) Last, but not least, on that expedition I was able to collect further evidence that a theory I had long held as to the present shape of the earth was correct. I had never believed in the well-known theory that a continent, now submerged, once existed between America, Europe and Africa—in other words, where the Atlantic Ocean is now. That theory has found many followers. In support of it one is told that such islands as Madeira, the Canaries, the Azores, are the topmost peaks of a now partly submerged range of mountains which once stood upon that vanished continent. It is also a common belief that Northern Africa underwent the contrary process, and was pushed up from under the sea. That is why—it is said—the Sahara Desert, which was formerly, without doubt, an ocean bed, is now dry and above water.
One has only to look at any map of the entire world to see what really happened to the earth in days long gone by. Let me first of all tell you that there never existed a continent between Africa and South America. In fact, I doubt whether there is as much as a square mile between those two continents more submerged to-day than it was thousands upon thousands of years ago.
Here is what really happened. The earth at one period changed its shape—when, is merely guesswork, and is of no consequence here—and the crust of the earth—not the core, mind you—split into two great gaps from Pole to Pole, with a number of other minor fissures. In other words, the earth opened just like the skin of an over-heated baked apple. The African and American continents, as well as Australasia, with New Guinea, the Celebes Islands, the Philippine Archipelago and China, which before that event formed part of one immense continent, thus became divided, leaving North and South America isolated, between the two great Oceans—the Atlantic and the Pacific—which were then, and only then, formed.
It is easy, by looking intelligently at a map, to reconstruct the former shape of the world. You will notice that the most western portion of Africa fits exactly into the gap between North and South America, while the entire African coast between Dahomey and the Cape Colony fits in perfectly in all its indentations and projections into the coast line of South America. The shores of Western Europe in those days were joined to North America, and find to-day their almost parallel and well-fitting coast line on the east coast of the United States and Canada. On the opposite side of the world, the western side of South America, the same conditions can be noticed, although the division of the two continents (America and Asia) is there much wider. Fragments were formed, leaving innumerable islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean, half-way between the actual continents of Asia, Australia and America. A mere glance is sufficient to see how well Australia fits in along the Chilian and Peruvian coast, the great island of New Guinea along part of Peru and Ecuador, and the west coast of the Central American Isthmus. The Philippine Islands lay probably in those days alongside of Guatemala, while California bordered on Japan.
Such immense rivers as the Amazon, and its portentous tributaries flowing from south to north, were also formed perhaps at that time, great fissures caused by the sudden splitting and cooling of the earth's crust becoming the river beds. So perhaps was formed the giant canon of Colorado and the immense fissures in the earth's crust that occur in Central Asia, in Central Africa, and, as we shall see, on the central plateau of Brazil.
Undoubtedly the Antarctic continent was once joined to South America, Australia and Africa. During the last Antarctic expeditions it has been shown that the same geological formation exists in South America as in the Antarctic plateau. On perusing this book, the reader will be struck by the wonderful resemblance between the Indians of South America, the Malay races of Asia, and the tribes of Polynesia. I maintain that they not only resemble each other, but are actually the same people in different stages of development, and naturally influenced to a certain extent by climatic and other local conditions. Those people did not come there, as has been supposed, by marching up the entire Asiatic coast, crossing over the Behring Straits and then down the American coast, nor by means of any other migration. No, indeed; it is not they who have moved, but it is the country under them which has shifted and separated them, leaving members of the same race thousands of miles apart.
I was able to notice among the Indians of Central Brazil many words of Malay origin, others closely resembling words of languages current among tribes of the Philippine Islands. The anthropometric measurements which I took of South American Indians corresponded almost exactly with those of natives of the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Mindanao.
I hope some day to use the wealth of material I have collected among innumerable tribes on the Asiatic coast, on the islands of the Pacific Ocean, in South America and in Africa, in making a comparative study of those peoples. It should prove interesting enough. I have no space here to go deeply into the subject, as this is merely a book descriptive of South America. I may add that the most ardent supporter of the above theory is the celebrated explorer and scientist, Colonel Marchand, of Fashoda fame—a man who has studied and understands the mysteries of this world better than any man living.
My sincere thanks are due to the following gentlemen for much politeness shown me in connection with the expedition: To Mr. Gustave Babin, the famous writer of Paris; to Mr. Manoel Bomfin (ex-deputy of Brazil), to Senador Alcindo Guanabara, for the keen interest taken in the expedition and for proposing to Congress after my return that a grant of L4,000 should be given to me as a reward for the work done. I herewith also express my gratitude to the Brazilian Government for paying me that sum, which came in usefully to defray part of the expenses of the expedition. To H.E. Dr. Pedro de Toledo, Minister of Agriculture, for the intelligent desire shown to help as much as he could in the venture, and for kindly giving me the free use of all the telegraphs in Brazil, including the Amazon Cable, and other important privileges; to Dr. Jose Carlos Rodriguez for hospitality and much valuable advice; to Dr. Paolo de Frontin, Conseilheiro Antonio Prado, Dr. Jose Pereira Reboncas and Mr. Mockill and their respective Companies for the many privileges granted me upon the various railways of which they were the Presidents; to Colonel R. E. Brazil and Commandante Macedo for their kind hospitality to me while navigating the lower Tapajoz river; to Dr. A. B. Leguia, President of the Peruvian Republic; to the British Ministers at Petropolis, Lima, La Paz, and Buenos Ayres, and the British Consuls of Rio de Janeiro, Para, Manaos, Iquitos, Antofogasta, Valparaiso; finally to the British and American Residents at all those places for much exquisite hospitality offered me.
Special thanks are due to Mr. Regis de Oliveira, ex-Brazilian Minister in London, for valuable credentials given me before my departure which paved the way to the hearty reception I received everywhere in Brazil.
A. HENRY SAVAGE-LANDOR.
SAVOY HOTEL, LONDON.
CHAPTER I The Heart of Brazil—Brazil, its Size and its Immense Wealth—Rio de Janeiro—Brazilian Men of Genius—Sao Paulo—The Bandeirantes—The Paulista Railway pp. 1-25
CHAPTER II Coffee—The Dumont Railway pp. 26-37
CHAPTER III On the Mogyana Railway pp. 38-51
CHAPTER IV The Terminus of the Railway—An Unpleasant Incident—The Purchase of Animals—On the March with the Caravan pp. 52-68
CHAPTER V Travelling across Country—A Musical Genius—Valuable Woods—Thermal Springs pp. 69-85
CHAPTER VI Inquisitiveness—Snakes—A Wonderful Cure—Butterflies—A Striking Scene pp. 86-101
CHAPTER VII In the City of Goyaz pp. 102-117
CHAPTER VIII Fourteen Long and Weary Days—Disappointment—Criminals as Followers pp. 118-131
CHAPTER IX The Departure—Devoured by Insects pp. 132-148
CHAPTER X Fishing—Termites—The Great Araguaya River pp. 149-159
CHAPTER XI The Tucano—Fish of the Araguaya River—A Bad Shot—A Strange Sight pp. 160-178
CHAPTER XII Geological Speculation—Beautiful Pasture-land pp. 179-195
CHAPTER XIII The River Barreiros—A Country of Tablelands pp. 196-206
CHAPTER XIV The Bororo Indians pp. 207-223
CHAPTER XV Bororo Superstitions—The Bororo Language—Bororo Music pp. 224-241
CHAPTER XVI Bororo Legends—The Religion of the Bororos—Funeral Rites pp. 242-263
CHAPTER XVII The River Das Garcas—Majestic Scenery pp. 264-279
CHAPTER XVIII The Salesian Fathers—A Volcanic Zone pp. 280-291
CHAPTER XIX The Paredao Grande—A Canon—A Weird Phenomenon—Troublesome Insects pp. 292-310
CHAPTER XX Wild Animals—An Immense Chasm—Interesting Cloud Effects pp. 311-327
CHAPTER XXI A Beautiful Lagoon—Strange Lunar Display—Waves of Lava—Curious Grottoes—Rock Carvings—A Beautiful Waterfall pp. 328-343
CHAPTER XXII In Search of the Highest Point of the Brazilian Plateau—Mutiny—Great Domes—Travelling by Compass—A Gigantic Fissure in the Earth's Crust pp. 344-358
CHAPTER XXIII The Jangada River—Demented Descendants of Slaves—Appalling Degeneration—Giant Monoliths—The River Roncador—Gigantic Natural Gateways—The Discovery of Fossils pp. 359-376
CHAPTER XXIV A Swampy Valley—Impressive Scenery—"Church Rock"—Escaping before a Forest Fire—The Rio Manso—Difficulties of marching across Virgin Country—Beautiful Rapids pp. 377-398
CHAPTER XXV The Blue Mountains—The Cuyaba River—Inaccurate Maps—A Rebellion in Camp—Infamy of Author's Followers—The Lagoa dos Veados and the Seven Lakes—Falling Back on Diamantino—Another Mutiny—Slavery—Descending from the Tableland pp. 399-432
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
THE AUTHOR Photogravure Frontispiece PAGE RIO DE JANEIRO, SHOWING THE BEAUTIFUL AVENIDA CENTRAL 4 RIO DE JANEIRO AS IT WAS IN 1903 8 DR. PEDRO DE TOLEDO, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, BRAZIL 12 SENADOR ALCINDO GUANABARA, A GREAT LITERARY GENIUS AND PATRIOT OF BRAZIL 16 THE MUNICIPAL THEATRE, RIO DE JANEIRO 20 BARON DE RIO BRANCO 24 DR. PASSOS 28 A BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL AT THERESOPOLIS 32 ANTONIO PRADO'S COFFEE ESTATE 32 THE STATION AND SHED OF THE GOYAZ RAILWAY, ARAGUARY. MR. LUIZ SCHNOOR AND HIS TWO ENGINEERS 48 TYPICAL TREES OF THE BRAZILIAN FOREST, GOYAZ. THE STEM DEVOID OF BRANCHES AND FOLIAGE UP TO A GREAT HEIGHT 48 AUTHOR DEPARTING FROM MORRO DA MEZA, SHOWING STYLE OF COSTUME WORN DURING THE EXPEDITION 56 ALCIDES AND FILIPPE THE NEGRO 56 GOYAZ RAILWAY IN CONSTRUCTION: THE CUT LEADING TO THE PARANAHYBA RIVER 64 AUTHOR'S CARAVAN CROSSING A STREAM 64 CHARACTERISTIC TYPES OF BRAZILIANS OF THE INTERIOR. (NOTICE THE DEGENERATE FACES AND DEVELOPMENT OF GOITRE) 68 A TYPICAL VILLAGE OF THE PROVINCE OF GOYAZ 68 PICTURESQUE OX-CARTS OF GOYAZ 76 A HOME IN CENTRAL BRAZIL 80 A CLEVER AUTOMATIC POUNDING MACHINE 80 BRAZILIAN PACK-SADDLES 88 A TYPICAL VILLAGE. (THE HIGHER BUILDING IS THE CHURCH) 88 AUTHOR'S CARAVAN ABOUT TO CROSS THE RIVER CORUMBA 96 BURITY PALMS 96 THE PRESIDENT OF GOYAZ AND HIS FAMILY. (GIANT CACTUS IN THE BACKGROUND) 100 THE MAIN SQUARE OF GOYAZ CITY, SHOWING PRISON AND PUBLIC LIBRARY 108 SOME OF THE BAGGAGE AND SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS USED BY AUTHOR ON HIS EXPEDITION 108 AUTHOR'S SIX FOLLOWERS 112 VIEW OF GOYAZ CITY FROM STA. BARBARA 120 AUTHOR'S MEN PACKING ANIMALS 120 SOME OF AUTHOR'S PACK ANIMALS 128 AUTHOR'S CARAVAN ACROSS THE IMMENSE PRAIRIES OF MATTO GROSSO 144 THE ARAGUAYA RIVER (LOOKING NORTH) 152 THE ARAGUAYA (LOOKING SOUTH) 152 CARAJA INDIAN OF THE UPPER ARAGUAYA RIVER 160 TYPICAL FLAT-TOPPED PLATEAU OF CENTRAL BRAZIL 168 ONE NIGHT'S FISHING ON THE ARAGUAYA 168 THE PAREDAOZINHO 176 TYPICAL SCENERY OF MATTO GROSSO 176 VOLCANIC SCENERY OF MATTO GROSSO (CHAPADA IN FOREGROUND) 184 PECULIAR FORMATION OF CENTRAL PLATEAU 184 CURIOUS DOMES OF LAVA WITH UPPER STRATUM OF EARTH, SAND AND ASHES 192 GREAT UNDULATING CAMPOS OF MATTO GROSSO 192 TYPICAL BRAZILIAN PLATEAU, SHOWING WORK OF EROSION 200 ON THE PLATEAU OF MATTO GROSSO (ALCIDES IN FOREGROUND) 200 A FINE BORORO TYPE ON A VISIT TO AUTHOR'S CAMP 208 BORORO MEN, SHOWING LIP ORNAMENT 216 BORORO MEN 216 BORORO INDIANS 224 BORORO MEN (THE APRONS ARE NOT ACTUALLY WORN) 228 BORORO WARRIORS 232 BORORO WARRIORS 232 THE HORRORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: BORORO CHILDREN 236 BORORO CHIEF RATTLING GOURDS FILLED WITH PEBBLES, IN ORDER TO CALL MEMBERS OF HIS TRIBE (Coloured Plate) 238 BORORO CHILD SHOWING STRONG MALAY CHARACTERISTICS 240 BORORO GIRLS 244 BORORO GIRLS (SIDE VIEW) 244 BORORO WOMEN, SHOWING METHOD OF CARRYING CHILDREN 248 BOROROS SHOWING FORMATION OF HANDS 248 BORORO WOMEN 252 BORORO WOMEN 252 BOROROS THRASHING INDIAN CORN 256 A BORORO BLIND WOMAN 256 BORORO CHILDREN 260 BORORO WOMEN 260 ISOLATED CONICAL HILLS WITH TOWER-LIKE ROCKY FORMATIONS ON SUMMIT 268 THE ENDLESS CAMPOS OF MATTO GROSSO 268 GEOMETRICAL PATTERN ON THE SURFACE OF A FLOW OF LAVA (CAUSED BY SUDDEN CONTRACTION IN COOLING) 272 THE OBSERVATORY AT THE SALESIAN COLONY. (PADRE COLBACCHINI IN THE FOREGROUND) 280 BORORO WOMEN AND CHILDREN 280 STRANGE FORMATION OF VOLCANIC ROCK 288 VOLCANIC CAVITIES (MATTO GROSSO) 288 A VERTICAL MASS OF SOLID ROCK OF A BRILLIANT RED COLOUR 292 THE PAREDAO GRANDE (MATTO GROSSO) (Coloured Plate) 294 THE PAREDAO GRANDE, SHOWING VERTICAL ROCKS WITH GREAT ARCHES 300 MUSHROOM-SHAPED ROCKS OF VOLCANIC FORMATION 308 A GREAT EARTHQUAKE FISSURE IN THE TERRESTRIAL CRUST (MATTO GROSSO) 308 STRANGE GEOMETRICAL PATTERN OF LAVA OVER GIANT VOLCANIC DOME 316 AUTHOR'S TROOP OF ANIMALS WADING ACROSS A SHALLOW STREAM 324 CENTRAL CLUSTER OF TREES AND PALMS IN A CUVETTE (MATTO GROSSO) 332 A GIANT WAVE OF LAVA 332 STRANGE ROCK-CARVINGS OF MATTO GROSSO 336 WEIRD LUNAR EFFECT WITNESSED BY AUTHOR (Coloured Plate) 340 A GIANT QUADRANGULAR BLOCK OF ROCK 344 ROCK-CARVINGS IN MATTO GROSSO 344 A PICTURESQUE WATERFALL ON THE S. LOURENCO RIVER 352 A CANON OF MATTO GROSSO 356 HOW AUTHOR'S ANIMALS ROLLED DOWN TRAILLESS RAVINES 360 HIDEOUS TYPES CHARACTERISTIC OF CENTRAL BRAZIL. TWO WOMEN (LEFT) AND TWO MEN (RIGHT) 364 AUTHOR'S CARAVAN MARCHING ACROSS TRAILLESS COUNTRY 368 THE RONCADOR RIVER 368 FOSSIL SKULL OF A GIANT ANIMAL DISCOVERED BY AUTHOR (SIDE VIEW) 376 FOSSIL SKULL OF GIANT ANIMAL (SEEN FROM UNDERNEATH) 376 A GRAND ROCK ("CHURCH ROCK") 384 CHURCH ROCK (SIDE VIEW) 384 QUADRANGULAR ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONNECTED BY NATURAL WALL OF ROCK WITH THE VERTICAL-SIDED RANGE IN BACKGROUND 388 QUADRANGULAR ROCKY MOUNTAIN SHOWING ROCKY WALL CONNECTING IT WITH THE NEIGHBOURING RANGE 392 AUTHOR'S CARAVAN IN THE HEART OF MATTO GROSSO 392 A GIANT DOME OF LAVA 396 CAMPOS AND CHAPADA OF MATTO GROSSO 396 MARVELLOUS SCENERY OF THE CENTRAL BRAZILIAN PLATEAU. "CHURCH ROCK" STANDING IN THE CENTRE (Coloured Plate) 400 A STREET OF DIAMANTINO 404 THE DOGS OF THE EXPEDITION 404 MATTO-GROSSO GIRL, A MIXTURE OF PORTUGUESE, INDIAN AND NEGRO BLOOD 412 BRAZILIAN CHILD, A MIXTURE OF PORTUGUESE AND NEGRO 412 MAP SHOWING AUTHOR'S ROUTE 432 MAP SHOWING THE ARINOS AND ARINOS-JURUENA RIVERS 432
The Heart of Brazil—Brazil, its Size and its Immense Wealth—Rio de Janeiro—Brazilian Men of Genius—Sao Paulo—The Bandeirantes—The Paulista Railway
"MORE than three months to reach the spot?" asked the cinematograph man in amazement. "Then perhaps Monsieur is on a journey to Mars or the moon! There is no spot on earth that takes so long to reach." (Hearty laughter at his own wit.)
That exclamation, and wise words that follow, came from the assistant of one of the largest firms of cinematograph appliances in Paris, where I had called in order to purchase a moving picture apparatus and 10,000 metres of film to be used on my forthcoming journey across the South American continent.
The shop assistant had very honestly warned me that if the films were to be used in a damp, tropical climate, they must be exposed and developed within three months of their manufacture. After that time they would become so perforated and fogged as to be quite useless. I had remarked that it would take me more than three months to reach the spot where I should begin to take cinematograph pictures.
"Will Monsieur please tell where is the spot where he would be likely to use the films?" continued the assistant, still overcome with surprise.
"In the heart of Brazil."
"In the heart of Brazil ... in the very heart of Brazil?... Oh, mon Dieu! mon Dieu!" (More laughter and a look of compassion at me.) "Mais nous avons une de nos maisons tout a fait pres de la!" (Why, indeed, we have one of our factories quite close to there.)
It was then my turn for hearty laughter and the look of compassion.
"Pray," I inquired, "tell me more exactly. Where is your factory close to the heart of Brazil?"
"It is quite, quite close. It is in Montreal, Canada.... You will send your films there ... two or three days' journey.... It will take us a week to develop them ... two or three days for their return journey. In a fortnight you will have them back again."
Quite close, indeed: only a distance of some 65 deg. of latitude—or some 7170 kilometres as the crow flies—with no direct communication by land or water!
That was the Frenchman's knowledge of geography; but I find that the average Englishman, unless he is directly interested in those countries, knows little better, and perhaps even less. Time after time I have been asked in London if Brazil were not a province of Mexico, and whether it is not through Brazil that the Americans are cutting the Panama Canal! There are many who have a vague idea that Brazil is a German colony; others, more patriotic, who claim it as an English possession. Many of those who have looked at the map of the world are under the impression that Spanish is spoken in Brazil, and are surprised when you tell them that Portuguese happens to be the local language. Others, more enlightened in their geography by that great play Charley's Aunt, imagine it a great forest of nut trees. Others, more enlightened still, believe it to be a land where you are constantly walking in avenues adorned with wonderful orchids, with a sky overhead swarming with birds of beautiful plumage. I have been asked in all seriousness whether I found the Andes quite flat—great prairies (the person had heard of the Argentine pampas and got mixed up)—or whether "it" was merely a large lagoon!
I could quote dozens more of these extreme cases of ignorance, but of one thing I am certain, and that is, that there are few people in the British Isles who realize the actual size of the great Brazilian Republic.
Brazil is 8,524,778 square kilometres—with the territory of the Acre newly acquired from Bolivia, 8,715,778 sq. kil. in extent; that is to say, it covers an area larger than the United States of North America, Germany, Portugal, Greece and Montenegro taken together.
Some of the States of the Republic are larger than some of the largest countries in Europe: such as the State of the Amazonas with 1,894,724 sq. kil.; the State of Matto Grosso with 1,378,784 sq. kil.; the State of Para with an area of 1,149,712 sq. kil.; the State of Goyaz with 747,311 sq. kil.; the State of Minas Geraes with 574,855 sq. kil.; the Acre territory, 191,000 sq. kil.
There are fewer people still who seriously appreciate the great importance of that beautiful country—with no exception the richest, the most wonderful in the world; to my mind undoubtedly the continent of the future.
Incalculable is the richness of Brazil in mineral wealth. Magnificent yellow diamonds are to be found in various regions, those of Minas Geraes and Matto Grosso being famous for their purity and extraordinary brilliancy; agates, moonstones, amethysts, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, topazes, and all kinds of beautiful rock crystals are plentiful. Gold exists in many regions on the central plateau—but particularly in Minas Geraes and Matto Grosso; and platinum in the States of Sao Paulo, Minas Geraes, Sta. Catharina and Espirito Santo; silver, mercury, lead, tin, salicylated and natural copper are found in many places, as well as graphite, iron, magnetic iron, oxide of copper, antimony, argentiferous galena, malachite, manganese oxide, alum, bituminous schist, anthracite, phosphate of lime, sulphate of sodium, haematite, monazitic sands (the latter in large quantities), nitrate of potassium, yellow, rose-coloured, and opalescent quartz, sulphate of iron, sulphate of magnesia, potash, kaolin. Coal and lignite of poor quality have been discovered in some regions, and also petroleum, but not in large quantities.
Springs of thermal and mineral waters are numerous—particularly those of which the waters are sulphurous or ferruginous; others contain arsenic and magnesia.
Most beautiful marble of various colours is to be found, and also enormous quantities of mica and amianth; porphyry and porphyroid granite, carbonated and hydroxided iron, argillaceous schist, mica schist.
Even richer than the mineral wealth is the botanical wealth, hitherto dormant, of Brazil. Valuable woods occur in many Brazilian forests—although it must not for one moment be imagined that entire forests are to be found composed of useful woods. Indeed this is not the case. Most of the woods are absolutely valueless. Still, when it is realized that the forests of Brazil extend for several millions of square kilometres, it is easy to conceive that there is plenty of room among a majority of poor trees for some good ones. Most Brazilian woods are interesting on account of their high specific gravity. Few, very few, will float on water. On the central plateau, for instance, I could not find a single wood which floated—barring, under special conditions, the burity palm (Mauritia vinifera M.). Along the banks of the Amazon and in the northern part of Brazil this is not quite the case. Some Brazilian woods, such as the iron-tree (pao-ferro), whose name fitly indicates its character, are of extraordinary hardness. The Brazilian forest, although not specially rich in woods for building and naval purposes, is nevertheless most abundant in lactiferous, oliferous, fibrous, medicinal, resinous, and industrial plants—such for instance as can be used for tanning purposes, etc. No country in the world is as rich as Brazil in its natural growth of rubber trees; nor have I ever seen anywhere else such beautiful and plentiful palms: the piassava (Attalia fumifera M.), the assahy (Euterpe oleracea L.), the burity (Mauritia vinifera M.), the carnahuberia (Copernicia cerifera M.), the palmito (Euterpe edulis M.), and many others. I shall give a more detailed description of the most important of these plants as we proceed on our journey and find them in their habitat.
Where, perhaps, Brazil's greatest richness lies is in its hundreds of thousands of square miles of wonderful pasture lands—perfectly ideal, with plenty of excellent water and a delicious climate—capable of some day fattening enough cattle to supply half the world with meat.
All these wonderful riches are absolutely dormant; more than that, absolutely wasted for lack of population, for lack of roads, trails, railways, or navigation of the rivers. The coast of Brazil is highly civilized, and so, more or less, is the immediate neighbourhood of large cities; but the moment you leave those cities, or the narrow zone along the few hundred kilometres of railways which now exist, you immediately relapse into the Middle Ages. When you get beyond the comparatively narrow belt of semi-civilization, along the coast, Brazil is almost as unknown as Mars or the moon. The people who know least the country are, curiously enough, the Brazilians themselves. Owing greatly to racial apathy, they care little for the trouble of developing their beautiful land. They watch with envy strangers taking gold, diamonds, platinum, and precious stones out of their country. They accuse foreigners of going there to rob them of their wealth; yet you seldom meet a Brazilian who will venture out of a city to go and help himself. The Brazilian Government is now beginning to wake up to the fact that it is the possessor of the most magnificent country on earth, and it is its wish to endeavour to develop it; but the existing laws, made by short-sighted politicians, are considered likely to hamper development for many years to come.
Brazil is not lacking in intelligent men. Indeed, I met in Rio de Janeiro and S. Paulo men who would be remarkable anywhere. Councillor Antonio Prado of S. Paulo, for instance, was a genius who had done wonders for his country. The great development of the State of S. Paulo compared with other States is chiefly due to that great patriot. Then the Baron de Rio Branco—the shrewd diplomatist, who has lately died—has left a monument of good work for his country. The cession of the immensely rich tract of the Acre Territory by Bolivia to Brazil is in itself a wonderful achievement. Dr. Pedro de Toledo, the present Minister of Agriculture, is a practical, well-enlightened, go-ahead gentleman, who makes superhuman efforts, and in the right direction, in order to place his country among the leading states of the two Americas. Dr. Lauro Severiano Mueller, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a worthy successor of Baron de Rio Branco. There are many other persons of positive genius, such as Senator Alcindo Guanabara, a man of remarkable literary ability, and one of the few men in Brazil who realize thoroughly the true wants of the Republic, a man of large views, who is anxious to see his country opened up and properly developed. Another remarkable man is Dr. Jose Carlos Rodriguez, the proprietor of the leading newspaper in Rio—the Jornal do Commercio—and the organizing genius of some of the most important Brazilian commercial ventures. Having had an American and English education, Dr. Rodriguez has been able to establish in Rio the best edited and produced daily newspaper in the world. Its complete service of telegraphic news from all over the globe—on a scale which no paper, even in England, can equal or even approach—the moderate tone and seriousness of its leading articles, its highly reliable and instructive columns on all possible kinds of subjects by a specially able staff of the cleverest writers in Brazil, and the refined style in which it is printed, do great honour to Dr. Rodriguez. Then comes another man of genius—Dr. Francisco Pereira Passos, who, with Dr. Paulo de Frontin, has been able in a few years to transform Rio de Janeiro from one of the dirtiest and ugliest cities in South America into the most beautiful. The great drive around the beautiful bay, the spacious new Avenida Central—with its parallel avenues of great width—the construction of a magnificently appointed municipal theatre, the heavenly road along the Tijuca mountains encircling and overlooking the great harbour, and a thousand other improvements of the city are due to those two men. Dr. Paulo Frontin has also been active in developing the network of railways in Brazil. Whatever he has undertaken, he has accomplished with great judgment and skill.
It would be impossible to enumerate here all the clever men of Brazil. They are indeed too numerous. The older generation has worked at great disadvantage owing to the difficulty of obtaining proper education. Many are the illiterate or almost illiterate people one finds even among the better classes. Now, however, excellent and most up-to-date schools have been established in the principal cities, and with the great enthusiasm and natural facility in learning of the younger generations wonderful results have been obtained. On account partly of the exhausting climate and the indolent life that Brazilians are inclined to lead, a good deal of the enthusiasm of youth dies out in later years; still Brazil has in its younger generation a great many men who are ambitious and heartily wish to render their country service. It is to be hoped that their efforts may be crowned with success. It is not talent which is lacking in Brazil, it is not patriotism; but persistence is not perhaps the chief characteristic among races of Portuguese descent. In these days of competition it is difficult to accomplish anything great without labour and trouble.
I left London on December 23rd, 1910, by the Royal Mail steamship Amazon, one of the most comfortable steamers I have ever been on.
We touched at Madeira, Pernambuco, and then at Bahia. Bahia seen from the sea was quite picturesque, with its two horizontal lines of buildings, one on the summit of a low hill-range, the other along the water line. A border of deep green vegetation separated the lower from the upper town. A massive red building stood prominent almost in the centre of the upper town, and also a number of church towers, the high dome of a church crowning the highest point.
I arrived in Rio de Janeiro on January 9th, 1911.
It is no use my giving a description of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Everybody knows that it is—from a pictorial point of view—quite a heavenly spot. Few seaside cities on earth can expect to have such a glorious background of fantastic mountains, and at the same time be situated on one of the most wonderful harbours known. I have personally seen a harbour which was quite as strangely interesting as the Rio harbour—but there was no city on it. It was the Malampaya Sound, on the Island of Palawan (Philippine Archipelago). But such an ensemble of Nature's wonderful work combined with man's cannot, to the best of my knowledge, be found anywhere else than in Rio.
It does not do to examine everything too closely in detail when you land—for while there are buildings of beautiful architectural lines, there are others which suggest the work of a pastrycook. To any one coming direct from Europe some of the statuary by local talent which adorns the principal squares gives a severe shock. Ladies in evening dress and naked cupids in bronze flying through national flags flapping in the wind, half of their bodies on one side, the other half on the other side of the flags, look somewhat grotesque as you approach the statues from behind. But Rio is not the only place where you see grotesque statuary—you have not to go far from or even out of London to receive similar and worse shocks. If Rio has some bad statues it also possesses some remarkably beautiful ones by the sculptor Bernardelli—a wonderful genius who is now at the head of the Academy of Fine Arts in Rio. This man has had a marvellous influence in the beautifying of the city, and to him are due the impressive lines of the finest buildings in Rio, such as the Academy of Fine Arts. Naturally, in a young country like Brazil—I am speaking of new Brazil, now wide awake, not of the Brazil which has been asleep for some decades—perfection cannot be reached in everything in one day. It is really marvellous how much the Brazilians have been able to accomplish during the last ten years or so in their cities, on or near the coast.
Brazilians have their own way of thinking, which is not ours, and which is to us almost incomprehensible. They are most indirect in their thoughts and deeds—a characteristic which is purely racial, and which they themselves cannot appreciate, but which often shocks Europeans. For instance, one of the most palatial buildings in the Avenida Central was built only a short time ago. In it, as became such an up-to-date building, was established a lift. But do you think that the architect, like all other architects anywhere else in the world, would make the lift start from the ground floor? No, indeed. The lift only starts from the second floor up—and, if I remember rightly, you have to walk some thirty-eight steps up a grand staircase before you reach it! Do you know why? Because the architect wished to compel all visitors to the building to admire a window of gaudy coloured glass half-way up the staircase. In this way they reason about nearly everything. They have not yet mastered the importance and due proportion of detail. Frequently what is to us a trifling detail is placed by them in the forefront as the most important point of whatever they undertake.
Thanks to the strong credentials I carried—among which were letters from H.E. Regis de Oliveira, Brazilian Minister in London—I was received in Rio de Janeiro with the utmost consideration and kindness. From the President of the Republic to the humblest citizens, all with no exception treated me with charming civility. My stay in Rio was a delightful one. The Brazilians of the principal cities were most courteous and accomplished, and it was a great pleasure to associate with them. Intense interest was shown by the Government of the country and by the people in my plan to cross the continent. Dr. Pedro de Toledo, the Minister of Agriculture, was specially interested in the scheme, and it was at first suggested that the expedition should be an Anglo-Brazilian one, and that I should be accompanied by Brazilian officers and soldiers. Colonel Rondon, a well-known and brave officer, was ordered by the Government to find suitable volunteers in the army to accompany my expedition. After a long delay, Colonel Rondon informed me that his search had been unsuccessful. Colonel Rondon said he would have gladly accompanied the expedition himself, had he not been detained in Rio by his duties as Chief of the Bureau for the Protection and Civilization of the Indians. Another officer offered his services in a private capacity, but he having become involved in a lawsuit, the negotiations were suddenly interrupted.
I endeavoured to find suitable civilians. No one would go. The Brazilian forest, they all said, was worse, more impenetrable than any forest in the world. Brazilian rivers were broader, deeper and more dangerous than any river on earth. Wild beasts in Brazil were more numerous and wilder than the wildest animals of Africa or Asia. As for the Indians of Central Brazil, they were innumerable—millions of them—and ferocious beyond all conception. They were treacherous cannibals, and unfortunate was the person who ventured among them. They told stories galore of how the few who had gone had never come back. Then the insects, the climate, the terrible diseases of Central Brazil were worse than any insect, any climate, any terrible disease anywhere. That is more or less the talk one hears in every country when about to start on an expedition.
I had prepared my expedition carefully, at a cost of some L2,000 for outfit. Few private expeditions have ever started better equipped. I carried ample provisions for one year (tinned meats, vegetables, 1,000 boxes of sardines, fruits, jams, biscuits, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, tea, etc.), two serviceable light tents, two complete sets of instruments for astronomical and meteorological observations, and all the instruments necessary for making an accurate survey of the country traversed. Four excellent aneroids—which had been specially constructed for me—and a well-made hypsometrical apparatus with six boiling-point thermometers, duly tested at the Kew Observatory, were carried in order to determine accurately the altitudes observed. Then I possessed two prismatic and six other excellent compasses, chronometers, six photographic cameras, specially made for me, with the very best Zeiss and Goertz lenses, and some 1,400 glass photographic plates—including some for colour photography. All articles liable to be injured by heat and damp were duly packed in air- and water-tight metal cases with outer covers of wood. Then I carried all the instruments necessary for anthropometric work, and painting materials for recording views and scenes in colours when the camera could not be used, as at night or when the daylight was insufficient. I had a complete supply of spades, picks, large saws, axes, and heavy-bladed knives (two feet long) for cutting our way through the forest, making roads and constructing rafts, canoes and temporary bridges.
I carried, as usual, very little medicine—merely three gallons of castor oil, a few bottles of iodine, some formiate of quinine, strong carbolic and arsenical soaps, permanganate and other powerful disinfectants, caustic—that was about all. These medicines were mostly to be used, if necessary, upon my men and not upon myself.
I had twelve of the best repeating rifles that are made, as well as excellent automatic pistols of the most modern type, and several thousand rounds of ammunition—chiefly soft-nosed bullets. These weapons were carried in order to arm my followers. Although I had several first-class rifles for my own use—following my usual custom, I never myself carried any weapons—not even a penknife—upon my person except when actually going after game. Again on this occasion—as on previous journeys—I did not masquerade about in fancy costumes such as are imagined to be worn by explorers, with straps and buckles and patent arrangements all over. I merely wore a sack coat with ample pockets, over long trousers such as I use in town. Nor did I wear any special boots. I always wore comfortable clothes everywhere, and made no difference in my attire between the Brazilian forest and Piccadilly, London. When it got too hot, naturally I removed the coat and remained in shirt sleeves; but that was all the difference I ever made in my wearing apparel between London and Central Brazil. I have never in my life adopted a sun helmet—the most absurd, uncomfortable and grotesque headgear that was ever invented. I find, personally, that a common straw hat provides as much protection as any healthy person requires from the equatorial sun.
If I give these details, it is merely because they might be of some use to others—not because I wish to advertise these facts; and also, if I do not give the names of the firms which supplied the various articles, it is because—unlike many other explorers—I have been in the custom of never letting my name be used in any way whatever for advertising purposes.
There are many people who are enthusiastic over a dangerous project when they first hear of it, but on thinking it over and talking with friends and relatives their enthusiasm soon wears off. That is what happened in Rio. I wasted some time in Rio—socially most enjoyably employed—in order to get followers and come to some suitable arrangement with the Government. I was deeply indebted to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Pedro de Toledo, for allowing me the free use of all the telegraphs in Brazil, and also for a special permission (of which I never availed myself) to use, if necessary, the flotilla of Government boats on the Amazon. Credentials were also furnished me, but owing to the way in which they were worded they were more of a danger to me than a protection. They actually proved to be so once or twice when I was compelled to present them. The expedition was considered so dangerous that the Government published broadcast statements in the official and other papers stating that "Mr. A. H. Savage Landor's expedition across Brazil was undertaken solely at his own initiative and absolutely at his own risk and responsibility." They also circulated widely the statement that I had promised not in any way to injure or hurt the native Indians, that I would not supply them with firearms of any kind, and that I would in no way ill-treat them. I had gladly promised all that. I had not even dreamt of doing any of those things to the natives, and naturally I strictly kept my promise.
In a luxurious Administration car placed at my disposal by Dr. Paulo Frontin I left Rio by the Central Railway, escorted as far as S. Paulo by Dr. Carlo da Fonseca, a railway engineer, sent to look after my comfort by the Central Brazilian Railway Company.
On approaching S. Paulo in the early morning I was much struck by the activity of the waking city as compared with Rio. Carts were dashing to and fro in the streets, the people walked along fast as if they had something to do, and numerous factory chimneys ejected clouds of smoke, puffing away in great white balls. The people stopped to chat away briskly as if they had some life in them. It seemed almost as if we had suddenly dropped into an active commercial European city. The type of people, their ways and manners were different from those of the people of Rio—but equally civil, equally charming to me from the moment I landed at the handsome railway station.
With a delicious climate—owing to its elevation—with a population of energetic people chiefly of Italian origin, instead of the apathetic mixture of Portuguese and negro, S. Paulo was indeed the most flourishing city of the Brazilian Republic. Its yearly development was enormous. Architecturally it was gradually becoming modified and improved, so that in a few years it will be a very beautiful city indeed. Already the city possessed beautiful avenues and a wonderful theatre.
Everybody knows what an important part the enterprising people of S. Paulo have played in the expansion and colonization of the central and southern regions of Brazil. The early activity of the Paulistas—it dates back to 1531—can be traced from the River Plate on the south, to the head waters of the Madeira in Matto Grosso on the east, and as far as Piantry on the north.
I cannot indulge here, as I should like to do, in giving a complete historical sketch of the amazing daring and enterprise of those early explorers and adventurers and of their really remarkable achievements. Their raids extended to territories of South America which are to-day almost impenetrable. It was really wonderful how they were able to locate and exploit many of the most important mines within an immense radius of their base.
The history of the famous Bandeiras, under the command of Raposo, and composed of Mamelucos (crosses of Portuguese and Indians) and Tupy Indians, the latter a hardy and bold race, which started out on slave-hunting expeditions, is thrilling beyond words and reads almost like fiction. The ways of the Bandeirantes were sinister. They managed to capture immense numbers of slaves, and must have killed as many as they were able to bring back or more. They managed, therefore, to depopulate the country almost entirely, the few tribes that contrived to escape destruction seeking refuge farther west upon the slopes of the Andes.
Although the Brazilians—even in official statistics—estimate the number of pure savage Indians in the interior at several millions, I think that the readers of this book will be convinced, as I was in my journey across the widest and wildest part of Brazil, that perhaps a few hundreds would be a more correct estimate. Counting half-castes, second, third and fourth crosses, and Indians who have entirely adopted Portuguese ways, language and clothes, they may perhaps amount to several thousand—but that is all.
The Jesuits endeavoured to save the Indians from the too-enterprising Bandeirantes, with the result that the missions were destroyed also and the missionaries driven away or killed.
Brazil occupies to-day in the world's knowledge practically the same position that forbidden Tibet occupied some fifteen or twenty years ago. It was easier to travel all over Brazil centuries ago than now.
The Bandeirantes became extraordinarily daring. In 1641 another slave-hunting Paulista expedition started out to sack the missions of Paraguay and make great hauls of converted Indians. The adventurers invaded even the impenetrable territory of the Chaco. But, history tells us, the Jesuits, who were well prepared for war, were not only able to trap the 400 Paulista Bandeirantes in an ambuscade and to set free their prisoners, but killed a great number of them, 120 of the adventurous Bandeirantes thus supplying a handsome dinner for the cannibal Chaco Indians. Infuriated at the reverse, the survivors of the expedition destroyed all the missions and Indian villages upon their passage, not one escaping. They came to grief, however, in the end. Few only returned home to tell the tale. That lesson practically ended the slave-hunting expeditions on a large scale of the Bandeirantes, but not the expeditions of parties in search of gold and diamonds, many of which were extraordinarily successful. Minor expeditions were undertaken in which Paulista adventurers were employed under contract in various parts of Brazil for such purposes as to fight the Indians or to break up the so-called Republic of the Palmeiras—an unpleasant congregation of negroes and Indians.
The astonishing success which the dauntless Paulistas had obtained everywhere made them thirst for gold and diamonds, which they knew existed in the interior. They set out in great numbers—men, women, and children—in search of wealth and fresh adventure. Several of the towns in distant parts of the interior of Brazil owe their origin to this great band of adventurers, especially in the section of Brazil now called Minas Geraes. The adventurers were eventually outnumbered and overpowered by swarms of Brazilians from other parts of the country, and by Portuguese who had quickly arrived in order to share in the wealth discovered by the Paulistas. They finally had to abandon the mines which they had conquered at an appalling loss of human life.
The ardour of the Paulistas was quelled but not extinguished. About the year 1718 they started afresh to the north-west in the direction of the Cuyaba River and of Goyaz, where they had learnt that gold and diamonds of great beauty were to be found. So many joined in these adventurous expeditions that S. Paulo was left almost depopulated. That is how those immense territories of Goyaz and Matto Grosso were discovered and annexed to S. Paulo, but eventually, owing to their size, these became split up into capitaneas, then into states.
The Paulistas were great fighters. In 1739 they were able to drive away the Spaniards from Rio Grande do Sul and forced them to retreat into Uruguay. After many years of vicissitudes in war and exploration—after phases of prosperity, oppression, and even of almost total ruin, owing to maladministration and official greed—things began to look up again for Sao Paulo when the port of Santos was thrown open to the trade of the world, in 1808. The history of Brazil during the last hundred years is too well known to be repeated here.
During the last few years the State of Sao Paulo has attained amazing prosperity, principally from the export of coffee—perhaps the most delicious coffee in the world. Although nearly all the rivers of the State of Sao Paulo are absolutely useless for navigation, owing to dangerous rapids, the State is intersected by innumerable streams, large and small—of great importance for purposes of irrigation and for the generation of electric power. The most important harbour in the State is Santos. Ubatuba, Sao Sebastiao, Iguape and Carranca are ports of less consequence. It is principally from Santos that the exportation of coffee takes place.
The State extends roughly in a parallelogram from the ocean, south-east, to the Parana River, north-west; between the Rio Grande, to the north, and the Rio Paranapanema, to the south, the latter being two tributaries of the Parana River. The State can be divided into two distinct zones, one comprising the low-lying lands of the littoral, the second the tablelands of the interior north-west of the Serra Cadias, Serra do Paranapiacaba and Serra do Mar—along or near the sea-coasts. The first zone by the sea is extremely hot and damp, with swampy and sandy soil often broken up by spurs from the neighbouring hill ranges. It is well suited for the cultivation of rice. The second zone, which covers practically all the elevated country between the coast ranges and the Parana River, is extraordinarily fertile, with a fairly mild climate and abundant rains during the summer months. During the winter the days are generally clear and dry.
It is in that second zone that immense coffee plantations are to be found, the red soil typical of that tableland being particularly suitable for the cultivation of the coffee trees.
It is hardly necessary here to go into detailed statistics, but it may be sufficient to state, on the authority of the Directoria de Estatistica Commercial of Rio de Janeiro, that during the first eleven months of the year 1912, 10,465,435 sacks of coffee were exported from Brazil—mostly from Sao Paulo—showing an increase of 548,854 sacks on eleven months of the previous year. That means a sum of L40,516,006 sterling, or L5,218,564 more than the previous year; the average value of the coffee being, in 1912, 58,071 milreis, or, taking the pound sterling at 15 milreis, L3 17s. 51/2d. a sack—an increase in price of 4,628 reis = 6s. 2d. per sack, on the sales of 1911.
The other exports from the State of Sao Paulo are flour, mandioca, cassava, bran, tanned hides, horns, fruit (pineapples, bananas, cocoanuts, abacates (alligator pears), oranges, tangerines, etc.), wax, timber (chiefly jacaranda or rosewood), a yearly decreasing quantity of cotton, steel and iron, mica, goldsmith's dust, dried and preserved fish, scrap sole leather, salted and dry hides, wool, castor seed or bean, crystal, mate, rice, sugar, rum (aguardente) and other articles of minor importance.
The area of the State of Sao Paulo has been put down at 290,876 sq. kil.
Its population in 1908 was calculated at 3,397,000, and it had then more inhabitants to the square kilometre than any other part of Brazil. It is useless to give actual figures of the population, for none are reliable. Although this State is the most civilized in Brazil, yet a good portion of its western territory is still practically a terra incognita, so that even the best official figures are mere guess-work.
Owing to the wonderful foresight of that great man, Antonio Prado—to my mind the greatest man in Brazil—a new industry has been started in the State of Sao Paulo which promises to be as lucrative and perhaps more so than the cultivation of coffee. It is the breeding of cattle on a gigantic scale, the magnificent prairies near Barretos, in the northern part of the State, being employed for the purpose. Slaughter-houses and refrigerating plants of the most modern type are to be established there, and with such a practical man as Antonio Prado at the head of the enterprise, the scheme is bound, I should think, to be a success. With the population of the Republic gradually increasing—it could be centupled and there would still be plenty of room for as many people again—the Sao Paulo State will one day supply most of the meat for the principal markets of Brazil. A good deal of the cattle which will eventually be raised on the marvellous campos of Matto Grosso and Goyaz, and destined to Southern Brazilian markets, will find its way to the coast via Sao Paulo. The rest will travel perhaps via Minas Geraes.
For some years cattle breeding has been carried on successfully enough, but on a comparatively small scale, in this State. Experiments have been made in crossing the best local breeds, principally the Caracu, with good foreign breeds, such as the Jersey, Durham and Dutch stocks. Pigs of the Berkshire, Yorkshire, Canasters and Tatus type are the favourites in Sao Paulo, and seem to flourish in that climate.
Sheep-breeding is also successful, and would be even more so if proper care were taken of the animals. Of the wool-producing kinds, those preferred are the Leicester, Merino, Oxford and Lincoln, the Oxford having already produced quite excellent results.
The Government of the State, I understand, is at present giving great attention to the matter, and is using discrimination in the selection of suitable breeds from foreign countries in order to procure the best animals of various kinds for the production of meat, butter, and hides. I also believe that an endeavour is being made to produce in the State a good breed of horses for military and other purposes.
The elevation of Sao Paulo city is 2,450 ft. above the sea level.
Thanks to the kindness of the President of the Paulista Railway, a special saloon carriage was placed at my disposal when I left Sao Paulo, and a railway inspector sent to escort me and furnish me with any information I required. I preferred travelling seated in front of the engine, where I could obtain the full view of the interesting scenery through which we were to pass.
The Paulista Railway was interesting, as it was the first line in Brazil constructed entirely with Brazilian capital. The line was begun in 1870, but since that date several extensions have been successfully laid out. Up to 1909 the lines owned and worked by the Paulista Railway were the 1.60-metre-gauge trunk line from Jundiahy to Descalvado (north of S. Paulo), and the two branch lines of the same gauge from Cordeiro to Rio Claro; Laranja Azeda to S. Veridiana; the two branch lines of 0.60 m. gauge from Descalvado to Aurora and from Porto Ferreira to S. Rita do Passo Quatro. Then they possessed the one-metre trunk line from Rio Claro to Araraquara, with the following branch and extension lines: Visconde de Rio Claro to Jahu; Araraquara to Jaboticabal; Bebedouro to Barretos; Mogy Guasso Rincao to Pontal; S. Carlos to S. Euxodia and Rib. Bonita; Agudos to Dois Corregos and Piratininga; and the loop line through Brotas. Of the total charters for 1,114 kil. 261 have been granted by the Federal Government and are under their supervision, whereas 583 kil. are under charter granted by the State of Sao Paulo.
The following statistics taken from the last Brazilian Year Book show the wonderful development of the passenger and goods traffic on the Paulista Railway:—
-+ -+ -+ + + Goods carried, Passengers including Transport of Baggage and Line open. carried. Coffee. Animals. Parcels. -+ -+ -+ + + Kilometres. Tons. Tons. 1872 38 33,531 26,150 4,919 1890 250 348,150 300,857 5,768 2,613 1908 1,154 1,084,081 959,742 36,072 12,558 -+ -+ -+ + +
At Jundiahy the Paulista Company has extensive repairing shops for engines. Formerly they had there also shops for building carriages, but these are now constructed at the Rio Claro Station, partly from material which comes from abroad. The rolling stock of the Company is excellent in every way—quite up-to-date, and kept in good condition—almost too luxurious for the kind of passengers it has to carry.
It is principally after leaving Campinas that the scenery of the line is really beautiful—wonderful undulating country—but with no habitations, except, perhaps, a few miserable sheds miles and miles apart. At Nueva Odena the Government is experimenting with Russian and Italian labourers, for whom it has built a neat little colony. After a time each labourer becomes the owner of the land he has cultivated. I am told that the colony is a success.
Coffee—The Dumont Railway
MY object in travelling by the Paulista Railway was to inspect the line on my way to the immense coffee plantations at Martinho Prado, owned by Conselheiro Antonio Prado. The estate is situated at an elevation above the sea level of 1,780 ft., upon fertile red soil. It is difficult, without seeing them, to realize the extent and beauty of those coffee groves—miles and miles of parallel lines of trees of a healthy, dark green, shining foliage. A full-grown coffee tree, as everybody knows, varies in height from 6 ft. to 14 or 15 ft. according to the variety, the climate, and quality of the soil. It possesses a slender stem, straight and polished, seldom larger than 3 to 5 in. in diameter, from which shoot out horizontal or slightly oblique branches—the larger quite close to the soil—which gradually diminish in length to its summit. The small white blossom of the coffee tree is not unlike jessamine in shape and also in odour. The fruit, green in its youth, gradually becomes of a yellowish tint and then of a bright vermilion when quite ripe—except in the Botucatu kind, which remains yellow to the end.
The fruit contains within a pericarp a pulp slightly viscous and sweet, within which, covered by a membrane, are the two hemispherical coffee beans placed face to face and each covered by a tender pellicle. It is not unusual to find a single bean in the fruit, which then takes the shape of an ellipsoid grooved in its longer axis—and this is called moka owing to the resemblance which it bears to the coffee of that name.
The coffee chiefly cultivated in Brazil is the Arabica L. and to a small extent also the Liberica Hiern, but other varieties have developed from those, and there are crosses of local kinds such as the Maragogype, which takes its name from the place where it was discovered (Bahia Province). Those varieties are locally known as Creoulo, Bourbon, Java, Botucatu (or yellow bean coffee), the Maragogype, and the Goyaz. The Creoulo, the Botucatu and the Maragogype are wilder and show more resistance than the Java and Bourbon sorts, which are nevertheless more productive under good conditions and with careful cultivation, which the first three qualities do not exact.
The coffee tree is a most serviceable plant, every part of which can be used. Its wood is much used in cabinet making, and makes excellent fuel; its leaves, properly torrefied, and then stewed in boiling water, give a palatable kind of tea; from the sweet pulp of its fruit an agreeable liqueur can be distilled; from its beans can be made the beverage we all know, and from the shells and residue of the fruit a good fertilizer can be produced.
The chemical examination of the cinders of the coffee bean shows that it contains 65.25 per cent of potash, 12.53 per cent of phosphoric acid, 11.00 per cent of magnesia, 6.12 per cent of lime, and some traces of sulphuric and salicylic acid, oxide of iron and chlorine.
An interesting study has been made by Dr. Dafert of the weight of the various components of the coffee tree at different ages, from which it appears that the proportion of potash increases progressively in the organs as they are more and more distant from the roots. The contrary is the case with lime and phosphoric acid, which preponderate generally in the seeds.
With this knowledge a scientific cultivator can judge exactly how to treat the exigencies of the different trees at different ages. Naturally, the condition of the soil has to be taken into consideration in any case. According to experiments made by Dr. Dafert each kilo of coffee beans has extracted from the soil—potash 0.7880 gramme; phosphoric acid 0.4020 gramme; magnesia 0.3240 gramme; lime 0.1470 gramme.
These experiments apply merely to coffee grown in Brazil, and are no doubt at variance with experiments on coffee grown elsewhere. Taking all things into consideration, it has been proved by chemical analysis that the Brazilian coffee comes as near as any in its components to what the normal or perfect coffee should be.
The soil, the elevation of the land, the zone and the climate naturally have considerable influence on the quality of the coffee. The Coffea Arabica seems to feel happy enough in a temperate zone and at elevations from 1,500 to 2,300 ft. The States of Sao Paulo, Minas Geraes, Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo fulfil most if not all these conditions.
The coffee trees can stand cold—if not of long duration—down to freezing-point, as well as a fairly high temperature. Unlike the Liberia coffee, they fare better on undulating or broken ground than on the flat.
Two distinct seasons—the dry and the rainy—each of about six months' duration—such as are found in the above-mentioned States of Brazil, seem perfectly to suit the growth of the coffee trees. The trees are in bloom for three or four days some time during the months of September to December. If the rains are not abundant when the trees are in blossom, and during the maturing of the fruits, the latter do not develop properly, especially those at the end of the branches, where the berries become dry before their time or even do not form. If the rain comes too long before the trees are in bloom it causes the blossoms to open before their time and they are frequently spoiled by the cold which follows. The coffee beans are collected in April, during the dry weather.
The coffee trees are very sensitive to winds, cold or hot, especially when blowing continuously in the same direction, which causes the undue fall of leaves and rupture of the bark at the neck of the roots. Wind, indeed, is one of the most dangerous enemies of coffee trees, and it is to obviate this danger that in many countries—but not in Brazil—a protecting plantation in lines of other trees—generally useful fruit trees—is adopted in order to screen the coffee trees from the prevailing wind, as well as to give a further income from the fruit produced.
It has been proved that even from good trees below a certain altitude the coffee is of inferior quality, while above that height the crop becomes irregular. In zones fully exposed to the sun the quality is superior to that of regions where the sun does not reach or only reaches for a short portion of the day.
The Coffea Arabica is not particularly exacting in the quality of the soil, but the soil on which it flourishes best is that formed in great part by decomposed vegetable matter—as, for instance, from ancient trees mixed with volcanic earth, such as the famous red earth of the State of Sao Paulo. Volcanic cinders also are said to be wonderful fertilizers for the soil, and well adapted for the welfare of coffee trees.
One thing is undoubted, and that is that the State of Sao Paulo possesses the ideal soil for coffee plantations. Analysis has shown that, curiously enough, the soil of Sao Paulo is not in itself very rich. It has an insufficient quantity of fertilizing substances, particularly of lime; but it should not be forgotten that locality and climatic conditions must be taken into serious consideration, and that we must not be misled by the difference between the apparent and the real fertility of the soil. What would be a poor soil in Europe may prove to be an excellent one in a tropical country. So the famous "red earth" of Sao Paulo, which in a drier climate would be sterile and unproductive, is there excellent because of its extremely permeable, porous and powdery qualities.
The special terms used for naming the different kinds of earth suitable for the cultivation of coffee are: terra roxa (red earth), massape, salmorao, catanduva, terra de areia (sand earth), picarra (stony earth), and pedreguelho (stony earth).
The terra roxa is an argillaceous, ferruginous earth of diabasic origin, occasionally mixed with sand. It contains salicylic acid, oxide of iron, alumina, phosphoric acid, oxide of manganese, lime, magnesia, potash and soda.
The massape, originally decomposed gneiss-granitic rock mixed with clay, contains oxide of iron. Its occasional blackness is due to the decomposed vegetable matter it embodies.
The salmorao includes in its formation small stones indicating the incomplete decomposition of the rock from which it originates.
The catanduva—which is of inferior quality—is composed of much disintegrated vegetable matter and fine dust.
The names of the other kinds of earth well denote their quality.
One reason why coffee cultivation is so popular in Brazil is because of the general belief that no trouble is required to look after the trees—a very mistaken notion indeed. There is a marked difference between plantations carefully looked after and those that are not. More than usual care must be taken to select the seed for new plantations. The young plants must get strong in a nursery and then be transplanted into proper soil, the prudent distance between trees being generally from 9 to 12 ft. For the convenience of collecting the beans and keeping the soil clean, a perfect alignment in all directions is necessary. The most suitable month for planting coffee in Brazil, according to the authority of Dr. Dafert, is the month of July.
Great care must be taken of the trees themselves and of the soil around the trees, which must be kept clean and absolutely free from grass. The capillary roots of the trees extending horizontally near the surface of the soil are much affected by the presence of any other vegetation, and by the collection of insects which this produces and harbours. Frost, rain, and the heat of the sun naturally affect the trees more when the soil is dirty than when kept clean. Many of the coffee estates suffer considerably from insufficient labour. The effects of this are quickly visible on the trees. Artificial fertilization is useful, even necessary after a number of years, and so is careful pruning in order to keep the trees healthy, strong and clean.
Coffee trees have many natural enemies—chiefly vegetable and animal parasites—which mostly attack the leaves. The Ramularia Goeldiana, a parasite not unlike the Cercospora Coffeicola, is one of the worst, and undoubtedly the chief offender in Brazil, although great is the number of insects prejudicial to the trees. The most terrible of all, perhaps, are the ants and termites, such as the Termes opacus, which attack and destroy the roots of young trees. The cupim (Termes album) or white ant, and the carregador or Sauba, a giant ant with which we shall get fully acquainted later on our journey, are implacable enemies of all plants. Also the quen-quen, another kind of ant. These ants are so numerous that it is almost an impossibility to extirpate them. Various ways are suggested for their destruction, but none are really effective. Certain larvae, flies and cochinilla, owing to their sucking habits, deposit on the leaves and branches a viscous sugary substance, which, on account of the heat, causes fermentation known locally as fumagina. This produces great damage. Birds pick and destroy the berries when ripe; and caterpillars are responsible for the absolute devastation of many coffee districts in the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo States. Other pests of the Heteroptera type attack the roots to such an extent as to cause the death of the trees.
Among the diseases of the trees are the Aphelencus Coffeae and the Loranthus brasiliensis—the latter a terrible parasite which quickly envelops the stem and branches of the tree and ends by killing it.
The collection of the berries is the busiest process in the fazendas, and has to be performed with considerable care, for some of the berries are already ripe and dried when others hidden under the branches have not yet reached the required degree of maturity. An experienced hand can collect from 400 to 450 litres of coffee berries per day. It takes an average of 100 litres of coffee berries to produce 15 kilos of prepared coffee beans ready to be shipped. The crop is not the same every year. After one plentiful crop there generally succeeds one year, sometimes two or three, of poor—almost insignificant—collections, varying according to the care that is taken of the trees and the soil.
When once the coffee has been collected and transported to the fazenda in baskets, blankets and sheets, it is necessary to remove the skin and viscous pulpy matter which envelop the beans. This is done partly by maceration in water tanks, and afterwards by drying upon extensive flat terraces, tiled or cemented, and locally called terreiro. The process of drying by machinery has not been adopted in Brazil; principally because of its high cost. The coffee is first placed for some days in mounds on the terraces, until fermentation of the outer skin begins, which afterwards hastens desiccation when coffee is spread flat in a thin layer on the terraces. When once the coffee berries have been freed from their pulpy envelope and skin, the desiccation—if the weather is propitious—takes place in a few days. Care must be taken to move the berries constantly, so that they dry evenly on all sides, as perfect desiccation is necessary in order to preserve the coffee in good condition after it is packed for shipment.
There are two ways of preparing coffee for export—the humid and the dry. In the humid process the berries are placed in a special machine called despolpadore, which leaves the beans merely covered and held together in couples by the membrane immediately enclosing them after the skin and viscous sugary coating have been removed. Those coffees are called in commerce, lavados, or washed.
The dry process consists, after the berries have been skinned and dried, in removing part of the pulp and membrane in a special machine and a series of ventilators. They are then quite ready for export.
The preparation of coffee from the drying terraces is slightly more complicated. The coffee passes through a first ventilator, which frees it from impurities such as earth, stems, stones, filaments, etc.; from this it is conveyed by means of an elevator into the descascador, where the membrane is removed. Subsequently it passes through a series of other ventilators, which eliminate whatever impurities have remained and convey the coffee into a polishing machine (brunidor). There the coffee is subjected to violent friction, which not only removes the last atoms of impurity but gives the beans a finishing polish. The coffee is then ready for the market.
I spent a most instructive day inspecting the fazenda of Conselheiro Antonio Prado and having things clearly explained by his intelligent overseer, Mr. Henrique P. Ribeiro.
From that place I drove across country, through endless groves of coffee trees—for miles and miles—as far as the next great coffee estate, belonging to the Dumont Company, an English concern, with an authorized capital of L800,000, the estates being valued at L1,200,000. It is not often one sees an estate so beautifully managed and looked after in a country like Brazil. The buildings, the machinery, the "drying terraces," everything was in capital order. To indicate on what scale the Company does business, it will be sufficient to state that in 1911 the coffee crop amounted to 109,368 cwts., which realized on a gross average 56s. 101/2d. per cwt. This crop was not as plentiful as in the previous year, when 110,558 cwts. were harvested. The gross profit for the year up to June 21st, 1911, was L123,811 2s. 5d., which, less London charges, still showed the substantial sum of L119,387 11s. 8d. There had been a considerable rise in the rate at which coffee was sold in 1911—viz., 56s. 101/2d. per cwt. as compared with 41s. 81/2d. the previous year; but notwithstanding the high price, the high rate of exchange, and the cost of laying the coffee down in London—which had risen on the estate by 1s. 111/2d. and by 1s. 31/2d. in respect of charges between the estate and London, the Company had been able to earn a profit of 20s. 43/4d. per cwt.
I was taken round the estate by Mr. J. A. Davy, the general manager, whose good and sensible work was noticeable at every turn. The trees seemed in excellent condition and likely to have a long life on the specially suitable rich red soil, and with sufficient breathing space allowed to maintain them in good health. The soil was of such unusual richness in that particular spot that no artificial stimulation was required in order to keep the trees healthy and vigorous. One could walk for miles and miles along the beautiful groves of coffee trees, clean-looking with their rich deep green foliage.
They seemed to have no great difficulty on the Dumont estate in obtaining sufficient labour—greatly, I think, owing to the fair way in which labourers were treated. Mr. Davy told me that over an area of 13,261 acres a crop had been maintained which averaged 81/4 cwts. per acre.
Experiments have also been made on the Dumont Estate (at an elevation of 2,100 ft. above the sea level)—chiefly, I believe, to satisfy the wish of shareholders in London—in the cultivation of rubber, but it did not prove a success—as was, after all, to be expected. It is not easy to make the majority of people understand that coffee grows lustily in that particular part of the State of Sao Paulo mainly because of the eminently suitable quality of the soil; but it does not at all follow that soil or climatic conditions which are good for coffee are suitable for rubber trees, or vice versa. In the case of the Dumont Estates, although the best possible land was chosen and three different varieties of rubber—the Para, Ceara and the Castilloa were experimented with, it was soon discovered that only one kind—the Ceara—attained any growth at all, and this gave very little latex—owing undoubtedly to the nature of the soil and the climate. The cost of extracting the latex was prohibitive. With wages at four shillings a day a man could collect about one-third of a pound of latex a day. Rubber trees could, in that region, not be expected to produce more than one-fifth of a pound of rubber a year, so that the cost of collecting and shipping rubber from ten-year-old trees would amount to 3s. 3d. per lb., without counting the cost of planting and upkeep.
By a special train on the Dumont Railway line I travelled across beautiful country—all coffee plantations—the property of the Dumont Company and of Colonel Schmidt, the "Coffee King," whose magnificent estate lies along the Dumont Railway line. I regretted that I could not visit this great estate also, but I was most anxious to get on with my journey and get away as soon as possible from civilization. It was pleasant to see that no rivalry existed between the various larger estates, and I learnt that the Dumont Railway actually carried—for a consideration, naturally—all the coffee from the Schmidt Estate to the Riberao Preto station on the Mogyana Railway.
On the Mogyana Railway
I ARRIVED at Riberao Preto at 3.45 p.m. on March 29th. Riberao Preto—421 kil. N.N.W. of Sao Paulo and 500 kil. from Santos—is without doubt the most important commercial centre in the northern part of the State of Sao Paulo, and is a handsome active city, neat and clean-looking, with an Italian, Spanish and Portuguese population of some 25,000 souls. Its elevation above the sea level is 1,950 ft. The people of Riberao Preto subsist chiefly on the coffee industry. There are one or two theatres in the city, the principal being a provincial one. There are several hotels of various degrees of cleanliness and several industrial establishments. Unlike other cities of the interior, Riberao Preto boasts of a good supply of agua potavel (drinking water), and the town is lighted by the electric light.
The value of land in the vicinity of Riberao Preto varies from 300 milreis to 1,500 milreis for the alqueire, a price far superior to that of other localities on the same line, where cultivated land can be purchased at 300 milreis an alqueire and pasture land at 100 milreis.
At Riberao Preto I was to leave the Dumont Railway. Special arrangements had been made for me to meet at that station a special Administration car which was to be attached to the ordinary express train on the Mogyana Railway line.
I had been warned at the Dumont Estate that a brass band had been sent to the Riberao Preto station, where some notabilities were awaiting my arrival in order to greet me with the usual speeches of welcome. As I particularly dislike public speaking and publicity, I managed to mix unseen among the crowd—they expecting to see an explorer fully armed and in khaki clothes of special cut as represented in illustrated papers. It was with some relief that I saw them departing, with disappointed faces, and with their brass instruments, big drums and all, after they had entered the luxurious special car placed at my disposal by the Mogyana Railway and found it empty—I humbly watching the proceedings some distance away from the platform.
Thanks to the splendid arrangements which had been made for me by Dr. Jose Pereira Reboncas, the President of the Mogyana, I was able to take a most instructive journey on that line, the Traffic Superintendent, Mr. Vicente Bittencourt, having been instructed to accompany me and furnish all possible information.
A few words of praise are justly due to the Mogyana line for the excellence of the service and the perfection of the rolling stock. I inspected the entire train and was amazed to find such beautiful and comfortable carriages, provided with the latest improvements for passengers of all classes. It is seldom I have seen in any country a train look so "smart" as the one in which I travelled from Riberao Preto to the terminus of the line. The appointments of every kind were perfect, the train ran in excellent time, and very smoothly over well-laid rails. The special car in which I travelled was "palatial and replete with every comfort," if I may use the stock words invariably applied to railway travelling.
Here are a few interesting points regarding the Mogyana Railway.
By a provincial law (Sao Paulo) of March 21st, 1872, a guaranteed interest of 7 per cent on a capital of 3,000,000 milreis was granted for ninety years for the construction of a railway of 1 metre gauge from Campinas to Mogymirim, and of a branch line to Amparo, to the north-east of Campinas and due east of Inguary. By a similar law of March 20th, 1875, a guaranteed interest was granted for thirty years as to the capital of 2,500,000 milreis for a prolongation of the line to Casa Blanca.
By a provincial law (Minas Geraes) of October 1st, 1881, another guarantee was granted of 7 per cent for thirty years, upon a maximum capital of 5,000,000 milreis, for a continuation of the railway through the provincial territory from the right bank of the Rio Grande to the left bank of the Paranahyba River. Finally, by a provincial contract of Minas Geraes of October, 1884, a further guarantee was granted of 7 per cent for thirty years, on a maximum capital of 5,000,000 milreis, for the construction of the prolongation of the railway from its terminal point at the Rio Grande as far as the Paranahyba via the city of Uberaba.
In view of other important concessions obtained, one may consider that the Mogyana Company is perhaps the most important railway concern in Brazil, up to the present time. It does great credit to Brazilians that the railway was constructed almost entirely by capital raised on bonds in Brazil itself, the only foreign loan issued in London being a sum raised amounting merely to L341,000 at an interest of 5 per cent. Between the years 1879 and 1886 the Company returned to the Government of Sao Paulo the interests received, thus liquidating its debt. A decree of October 18th, 1890, fixed the capital spent on the Rio Grande line and a branch to Caldas at 4,300,000 milreis gold and 1,853,857.750 milreis paper as guarantee of the interest of 6 per cent conceded by the National Treasury.
In the year 1900 the value of interests received amounted to 3,190,520.418 milreis in paper, and 1,963,787.300 milreis in gold, out of which 544,787.300 milreis were in debenture bonds. On the same date the value of interests repaid to the National Treasury amounted to 1,606,578.581 milreis in paper currency.
The federalized lines of the Company were: from Riberao Preto to Rio Grande (concession of 1883); from Rio Grande to Araguary (concession of 1890); with a total extension of 472 kil., and a branch line from Cascavel to Poco de Caldas, 77 kil., the last 17 kil. of which were in the Province of Minas Geraes. The extension from Rio Grande to Araguary, 282 kil., was also situated in the Province of Minas Geraes.
Having dodged the expectant crowd at the station unnoticed, I did not go with the Traffic Superintendent, Mr. Vicente Bittencourt, into the luxurious special car as the train was steaming out of the Riberao Preto station, but preferred to travel in front of the engine so as to get a full view of the beautiful scenery along the line. We went at a good speed over gentle curves rounding hill-sides, the grass of which bent under a light breeze. Here and there stood a minute white cottage—almost toy-like—where coffee gatherers lived. On the left we had a grandiose undulating region—what the Americans would call "rolling country"—combed into thousands of parallel lines of coffee trees, interrupted at intervals by extensive stretches of light green grazing land. Only now and then, as the engine puffed and throbbed under me, did I notice a rectangle of dried brownish yellow, where the farmers had grown their Indian corn. These patches were a great contrast to the interminable mass of rich dark green of the coffee trees and the light green of the prairies.
Near these patches—prominently noticeable in the landscape because so scarce—one invariably saw groups of low whitewashed or red-painted houses, mere humble sheds. Where the land was not yet under cultivation—quite a lot of it—low scrub and stunted trees far apart dotted the landscape.
On nearing villages, as the express dashed through, goats stampeded in all directions: sleepy women and men looked at the train half dazed as it went by, and children, with quite a characteristic gesture, screened their eyes with their elbows to protect them from the dust and wind the train produced. I was astonished to notice how many fair-haired children one saw—curious indeed in a population of Latin races and negroes. That golden hair, however, seemed gradually to grow darker, and became almost black in the older people.
Hideous barbed-wire fences gave a certain air of civilization to those parts, but the landscape was nevertheless getting desolate as we proceeded farther north. Except in the immediate vicinity of habitations, one felt the absolute lack of animal life. Only rarely did we see a black bird of extraordinary elongated form dash frightened across the railway line, much too fast for me to identify to which family it belonged.
One could not help being impressed by the immensity of the landscape, endless sweeping undulation after undulation spreading before us, but not a real mountain in sight. It was like a solid ocean of magnified proportions. Just above the horizon-line a large accumulation of globular clouds of immaculate white intensified the interesting colour-scheme of greens and yellows on the earth's surface to its full value by contrast.
The large proportion of cultivated land which had impressed me so much in the vicinity of Riberao Preto gradually diminished; and at sunset, by the time we had reached Batataes, only 48 kil. farther on, hardly any more coffee plantations were visible. Only fields of short grass spread before us on all sides. An occasional bunch of trees hiding a humble farmhouse could be perceived here and there, but no other sign of life upon the immense, silent, green undulations of symmetric curves, not unlike enormous waves of the sea.
Farther north upon the Mogyana line, land seemed to diminish in price considerably. Its quality was not so good, especially for coffee plantations. At Batataes, for instance, 548 kil. by rail from the coast, prices were cheaper. Good land for cultivation could be obtained at 200 milreis, and campos at 25 milreis an alqueire.
Such low prices were general north of Riberao Preto, although naturally they were likely to increase as the country got slowly opened up with new roads and railroads. Away from the railway the price of land was much lower.
One thing that particularly struck the traveller straying in those parts was the poverty of all the minor towns and villages. The industrial development of the larger settlements consisted merely of a distillery of "fire-water" (aguardente), or, if the city were modern and up-to-date, of a brewery, the only two profitable industries in those regions.
Batataes—according to Brazilian statistics—was stated to "deve ter"—"it should have perhaps" some 5,000 inhabitants. The zone around it was said to be suitable for coffee growing; in fact, the municipality possessed much machinery for the preparation of coffee.
At 7.50 p.m. punctually—as she was due—the engine steamed into the Franca station, where the train was to halt for the night. The passenger traffic was not yet sufficiently extensive on that line to allow trains to travel continuously during the twenty-four hours. Passenger trains ran only in the daytime.
I was treated with the greatest consideration while travelling on the Mogyana. Not only was the Administration saloon car, containing a comfortable bedroom, placed at my disposal, but telegrams had been sent all along the line with orders to supply me with anything I required. At Franca, much to my surprise, I found an imposing dinner of sixteen courses waiting for me in the station hotel—with repeated apologies that they were distressed they could not produce more, as the telegram announcing my arrival had been received late. On no account whatever was I allowed—as I wished—to pay for anything. I was rather interested to watch in the station restaurant the wonderful mixture of people who had assembled: priests, monks, railway porters, commercial travellers—some black, some white, some a combination of the two—all sitting together in a jovial manner sipping coffee or devouring a meal.
The city of Franca itself, 2 kil. away from the station, 617 kil. from the sea at Santos, 528 kil. from Sao Paulo, was in the most remote northerly corner of the State of Sao Paulo, and had a population of 9,000 people or thereabout. The electric light had been installed in the town, and there was a theatre. Much difficulty was experienced in obtaining sufficient water for the needs of the population. In the municipality there existed a number of machines for use in the rice and the coffee culture, as well as two steam saws, a butter, and a sugar factory.
There were several trails—so-called roads—branching off from this town and leading to Borda de Matta, Garimpo das Canoas, Potrocinio do Sapucahy, S. Jose da Bella Vista, etc.
The climate was healthy and delightful. While I was there the Fahrenheit thermometer registered 76 deg. at an elevation of 3,450 feet. With a fairly good soil, the municipality could produce cereals in plenty under proper cultivation. Land was cheap enough in that region—150 milreis per alqueire for good land for cultivation, and 25 to 30 milreis per alqueire for campos.
We proceeded on our journey north the next morning, passing through Indaya, 3,450 ft. above the sea level—a settlement boasting of two houses upon the highest point of the railway line in the State of Sao Paulo. We were nearing the Rio Grande, or Great River, which, flowing in a westerly direction, formed in that region the northern boundary of the State of Sao Paulo with the State of Minas Geraes. As we got near the river a greater lack of cultivation was noticeable, with more extensive zones of wooded country, especially in the depressions of the land. The undulations of the landscape were more accentuated as we approached the Minas Geraes province. Clouds hung low in the valleys, and we occasionally went through banks of mist not unlike those of Scotland. At Chapadao the ground was more "accidente"—to use an appropriate French expression—with deep depressions and indentations in the surface soil caused by erosion.
The high land on which we had been travelling between Franca and Igacaba, the station after Chapadao, gave birth on the west to several important tributaries of the Rio Grande, enumerated below, from south to north; the Rio Salgado, the Rio do Carmo, Riberao Ponte Nova, Rib. Bandeira, Rio da Soledade, Rib. S. Pedro; on the east was the Rib. S. Jesus, also a tributary of the Rio Grande.
As the train sped down the incline towards the Rio Grande we were now treated to magnificent scenery on our right. An isolated hill stood at the bottom of the valley with higher mountains on either side of it, and, beyond, a high flat-topped plateau. The railway line skirted snake-like along the hill-side. The hill-tops were getting more rounded and fairly thickly wooded. As we got to a lower elevation the isolated hill assumed the appearance of an elephant's back. A grassy valley several miles wide opened up before us.
At Rifaina Station we had reached the level of the banks of the Rio Grande, that is to say, 1,950 ft. above the sea level. The valley of the river was formed, in this case also, by erosion which had left isolated hills in terraces, one with as many as six distinct terraces, others with rounded backs, but all plainly showing in their stratification, which was identical with that of the surrounding elevations, that in former days there stood, where the valley was now, a plateau which had subsequently been gradually eroded by the action of water and wind.
Having crossed the river, we arrived at Jaguara—we were now travelling in the Minas Geraes Province—where a breakfast awaited us of rice, pork, dried beef, as hard as leather, omelette with shrimps (a much cherished dish in those parts), beans, mandioca, and coffee. Black railway porters, firemen and engine drivers all sat round the table and ate heartily, the meal costing 2 milreis, or about 2s. 8d.
The railway ran almost parallel with the river on the north side round the immense curve which the Rio Grande describes in that particular section. We passed Sacramento (elev. 1,850 ft.), and, in numerous curves, the railway rose by a gradient of 31/2 per cent among hills seemingly worn out by torrential rains into rounded shapes with huge gaps between. We left the Rio Grande, there about 100 yards wide with thickly wooded banks and islands. At Conquista we had already again reached an elevation of 2,350 ft., but we still continued to rise by a gradient of 21/2 to 3 per cent, until a pass was reached from which two exquisite panoramas were obtained. One, particularly interesting, looked over Conquista with its whitewashed houses—some 250 of them—and red-tiled roofs against the background formed by the rugged sides of the natural cauldron worn in the tableland by erosion.
At 538 kil., 2,700 ft. above the sea level, a view was obtained of a small coffee plantation, but most of the country around was scantily wooded, grassy in places, barren in others.
The railway, having descended to 2,500 ft., rose again to 2,900 ft. near Paneiras Station. Then, through beautiful grazing country, gently undulating, we descended and mounted and went round sweeping curves, which formed in places regular loops not unlike a horseshoe. Two pits producing a considerable quantity of lime existed some 2 kil. from Paneiras. Weak attempts were noticeable here and there at growing coffee. We were now in an eminently wonderful pasture land—getting more and more beautiful as we neared Uberaba, where we found ourselves on almost flat country at an elevation of 2,900 ft., with hardly any trees at all and with a delicious climate. The town of Uberaba, with some 12,000 people, was situated at a slightly lower elevation—only 2,700 ft.
Uberaba was perhaps the most important distributing centre in the western part of Minas Geraes, for many trails branched from that place to various distant points in the farther interior. The most important trail was the one to Sta. Rita do Paranahyba, thence to the capital of Goyaz Province via Marrinhos and Allemao; whence a second trail went to Fructal via Conceicao das Alagaos; a third, to Sant' Anna do Paranahyba, going on the whole almost due west, but with great deviations, went almost across South America as far as Pulacayo, in Bolivia, crossing first the State of Matto Grosso in its southern and narrower point via Coxim and Corumba, then all Bolivia, eventually joining the La Paz-Antofagasta Railway line at Uyum (Pulacayo is connected by rail to Uyum), and ending at the Pacific Ocean. Another trail led to Monte Alegre; yet another to Uberabinha—although the railway had already connected that town with Uberaba. This last trail continued, making great detours, to Bagagem, then to Patrocino, from which place it deviated due north to Paracatu, where three ramifications occurred: one to Sta. Lucia, Pyrinopolis, and Goyaz (capital); the second to Jamarria, Jocare (on the San Francisco River), and Carrinhan (on the Carinhaha River, a tributary of the San Francisco), and eventually by water to the Atlantic Ocean; the third trail proceeded due east—across the S. Francisco River to Montes Claros and Grao Mogol; a fourth in a south-easterly direction led to Curvelho and Sta. Lucia, where it met the railway to Rio de Janeiro. Another route proceeded south to Sta. Rita do Paraiso.