Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 122
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BRA    122    BRA

For nearly fifty years, however, it was but little
appreciated ; there being no indications of gold,
silver, or gems, upon the coast: it was merely
used as a place of transportation for criminals,
the ships conveying them, carrying back nothing
but the red wood so important in dyeing ; and its
capabilities would probably have remained much
longer undisclosed, but for the banishment of the
Jews from Portugal in 1549, who, by the assistance
of their friends in other parts of the world, intro-
duced the sugar-cane from Maderki, which flour-
rished to such a degree as soon to render it an ob-
ject of great importance. Although its profuse
ireasures of gold, silver, and gems, remained un-
disclosed, enough had heen discovered, and the
celebrity of the colony became sufficiently general
by the close of the century, to excite the jealousy
and cupidity alike of the French, Spaniards, and
Dutch. In 1724 the Dutch dispatched a squadron
under the command of Admiral Willikens, who
succeeded in taking possession of St. Salvador, or
Bahia, the principal settlement, and proclaimed
the conquest of the whole territory. The Span-
iards next sent a formidable squadron, who com-
pletely dislodged the Dutch; but, in 1630, the
Dutch again returned to the country with a force
of not less than forty-six armed ships, and after
seven or eight years of continued warfare, suc-
ceeded in extending their influence over more
than half the country ; but their oppressive, mean,
and grovelling policy became so obnoxious to the
settlers as to render their tenure exceedingly
precarious. After various collisions and alterna-
tions of success between Dutch, Spaniards, and
Portuguese, towards the close of the seventeenth
century, the Dutch by treaty ceded all their inter-
est to the Portuguese, and the influence of the
Spaniards having been previously subverted, at
the commencement of the 18th century the whole
territory came into the possession of the Portu-
guese. With them it remained for more than a
century, silently advancing in-cultivation and im-
portance, though, comparatively speaking, but
little known to the world until the events of the
twenty years’ war growing out of the French
revolution in 1793, led, in 1807, to the emigration
of the Portuguese court from Lisbon, to Rio Ja-

From this period, the barriers whieh had pre-
viously confined the intercourse of Brazil to Por-
tugal, were at once annihilated, and its features,
condition, character, and resources, laid fairly
open to the view and intercourse of the world.
Since then, cultivation has been vastly extended,
and its supply cf productions doubled, trebled,
and in some cases, quadrupled. For purposes of
civil and military jurisdiction, it has been divided
into the thirteen following districts, viz. 1st, Gui-
ana, comprising the whole extent of country north
of the main branch of the Amazon river, bounded
on the north by the New Colombian Territory
and French Guiana. 2d, Para, which comprises
a vast tract extending from the frontier of Peru,
the whole breadth of the country parallel with
Para, south of the main branch of the Amazon to
♦he Atlantic Ocean, and the following nine border
on the Atlantic coast, beginning at the north:

3. Maranham.    8.    Rio Janeiro.

4. Seara.    9.    St. Paul.

5. Pernambuco    JO.    St. Catherine.

6. Bahia    11.    Rio Grande.

7. Minas Geraes.

12. Goias, interior; and 13. Matto Grosso, on the
frontier of the United Provinces of Buenos Ayres
The extent and production of each of these dis
tricts will be more fully elucidated under theii
respective heads. Independent of the noble river
Amazon, which has one of its sources near the
shore of the Pacific Ocean, and by numerous col-
lateral branches opens a communciation with the
whole interior of Peru, and dividing the before-
mentioned provinces of Guiana and Para. The
Maderia, Tapajos, Xingu, Araguay, and the Toc-
antins, all flowing from the south into the Amazon,
intersect all the interior and northern part of
Brazil; whilst the Paraguay, and Parana, with
innumerable branches, intersect all the southern
part, running south into the great river La Plata.
In addition to these the Pinare, Barbadoes, Parai-
ba, St. Francisco, and numerous others of minor
note, water all the maritime provinces falling into
the Atlantic Ocean.

A chain of mountains intersects the maritime
provinces from south to north, from Rio Grande
to the St. Francisco River, which separates the
province of Bahia from Pernambuco. The ground
rises gradually from the coast to the summit of
this ridge, which varies in altitude from 3,000 to

5,000 feet above the level of the sea. Westward
of this ridge, the ground gradually slopes till it
again ascends to form another mountain ridge of
somewhat greater altitude than the preceding,
dividing Goias from the maritime provinces, and
running east of, and parallel with, the Tocantins
to its entrance into the Para mouih of the Ama-
zon. From this chain a collateral ridge branches
off, intersecting the province of Seara, in a direc-
tion from south to north, to near the shore of the
Atlantic Ocean.

Over so vast a tract of land, it cannot be imag-
ined that the climate will be found at all equal, or
the seasons uniform. The northern provinces
are subject to heavy rains, variable winds, torna-
does, storms, and the utmost fury of the elements;
while the southerly regions are favoured with all
the comforts which a fine fertile soil and temper
ate climate can afford. In some of the provinces
the heat of the climate favours the generation of a
variety of poisonous insects and reptiles ; some
of which, as the
lihoya, or roebuck snake, are
said to extend to the length' of thirty feet, and to
be two or three yards in circumference. Lizards,

which are found in almost every part of the world,
grow here to an enormous size, and are often found
2 or 3 feet in length. The rattle-snake, and other
reptiles of the same kind, grow likewise to an in-
credible size ; and the serpent called
ibabaloka, is
affirmed to be seven yards long, and half a yard
in circumference, possessed too of a poison instan-
taneously fatal to the human race. Here also are
scorpions,ant-bears, the jaguar, porcupines, ja non -
veras, and tapirs. No part of the world affords a
greater number of beautiful birds or greater vari-
ety of the most exquisite fruits. The chief indig
enous vegetable production which gave name
to the country and title of prince to the heir pre-
sumptive of the sovereignity of Portugal, is the
lignum Brasilianum, or Brazil wood, so justly
celebrated for its colouring properties. Forests

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Brookes' Universal Gazetteer of the World (1850)


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