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Anatomy of the Amazon Gold Rush by David Cleary

By David Cleary

For many the word "gold rush" evokes photographs of the 1849ers panning for gold within the western usa. yet in 1979, the most important gold rush of this century all started within the Brazilian Amazon and has persevered unabated ever since.

Despite makes an attempt through governments and mining businesses to manage it, the Amazon gold rush has flourished, related to millions of miners in an informal-sector which produces over 1000000000 funds' worthy of gold each year. additionally, the mining job has turn into famous—or infamous—well past Brazil, because of the furor it has raised within the environmental community.

This very important anthropological examine takes the 1st wide and balanced examine the gold rush to give an explanation for its heritage, the social association of the gold camps, the politics and the economics of gold in Brazil, and the consequences of the gold rush for Amazonia and its people.

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Sample text

They spoke two languages; a bit of Portuguese and some other language they used to talk amongst themselves, but I don't know what it was. We used to call them crioullos. There were two things they were good at. One was prospecting, they were always doing that, always moving around in the forest and not staying in any one place for very long. And the other thing was the lontona. They knew how to build the lontona. It seems likely, then, that the lontona and dalla were introduced to Brazil in the 1950s, and have since become established for reworking material already processed by a less efficient machine.

9 In 1956 gold was discovered in the Tapaj6s region south of the city of Santarem. News of the discovery filtered through to the Guianas, and Guyanese garimpeiros travelled south bringing knowledge of how to build and operate lontonas and dallas with them, which they passed on to the more inexperienced Brazilians. One garimpeiro from Maranhao who was in the Tapaj6s in 1958 remembered them: There were blacks there at that time. I don't know where they came from, maybe the interior, or Africa. They spoke two languages; a bit of Portuguese and some other language they used to talk amongst themselves, but I don't know what it was.

The first person to make the trip overland from Sao Luis to Belem was the explorer Pedro Teixeira, later to make himself famous as the leader of an epic journey from Belem to Quito. He crossed what would later become one of the two zones of gold production in Maranhao in 1624, but never made any mention of finding gold. Silveira's assertion that Maranhao was 'a region rich in gold and silver' can be dismissed as part of the hyperbole which generally accompanied the reporting of discoveries in the Americas.

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