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Orellana expedition (1541-1542; 8 months; chronicled by Spanish Dominican Gaspar Carvajal in Relación del nuevo descubrimiento del famoso río Grande que.

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Presentation on theme: "Orellana expedition (1541-1542; 8 months; chronicled by Spanish Dominican Gaspar Carvajal in Relación del nuevo descubrimiento del famoso río Grande que."— Presentation transcript:

1 Orellana expedition (1541-1542; 8 months; chronicled by Spanish Dominican Gaspar Carvajal in Relación del nuevo descubrimiento del famoso río Grande que descubrió por muy gran ventura el capitán Francisco de Orellana (published only in 1895). Francisco Orellana (1511-1546); traveled to Caribbean at 17 (1527); he served in Nicaragua until joining army of Francisco Pizarro in 1533. He was second in command of expedition of Gonzalo Pizarro (1502-1548), recently appointed governor of Quito (Ecuador), east in search of La Canela (the Land of Cinnamon) and El Dorado, fabled city of gold in 1541. Left Quito in Feb. 1541 with 220 Spaniards and 4,000 Native Americans. By lat e1541, about 140 of the 220 Spaniards and 3,000 out of 4,000 natives had died. On February 1542, they decided Orellana would continue sailing down the Napo river in search of food along with 50 men. At confluence of Napo/Amazon, he decided to continue following the river, until he reached the estuary of the Amazon in August 1542. River named Rio Grande, Mar Dulce or Rio de Canela (Cinnamon), was renamed Amazon, because of fierce female warriors like the mythological Amazons described by Homer. This expedition met significant misfortunes, particularly downriver from the Negro. Carvajal recorded numerous things of interest about indigenous groups, such as the size and density of communities, tactics of war, rituals, customs, utensils, and the like, notably large, densely settled populations.

2 2/1541 8/1542 6/1542 2/1542

3 We went among some islands which we thought uninhabited, but, after we got to be in among them, so numerous were the settlements which came into sight … that we grieved; and, when they saw us, there came out to meet us on the river over two hundred pirogues [canoes], that each one carries twenty or thirty Indians and some forty …; they were quite colorfully decorated with various emblems, and they had with them many trumpets and drums …. and on land a marvelous thing to see were the squadron formations that were in the villages, all playing on instruments and dancing about, manifesting great joy upon seeing that we were passing beyond their villages Gaspar Carvajal, 25 June 1542 (Medina 1988:218) This short passage, but one of many from early chronicles, attests to the vigorous and populous societies that thronged the banks of the river, but it suggests how foreign this complexity was to the European eyes. “Great was their [early European colonial authorities] disapproval on seeing that those strapping men glowing with health preferred to deck themselves out like women with paint and feathers instead of perspiring away in their gardens (Clastres 1987:193).”

4 Pedro de Ursúa (1526 – 1561), as governor of Panama (1550s), Ursúa subdued a (ex-slave) revolt by deceiving leader (Bayano) into meeting, captured him and sent him to King Phillip II of Spain. In 1560, Ursúa set out from Lima to the Amazon region in search for El Dorado with the mercenary Lope de Aguirre, nicknamed “El Loco” (the madman), who assassinated Ursua and the subsequent leader of the expedition, Guzman. Ursua-Aguirre Expedition (1560-1561)

5 Lope de Aguirre arrived in the New World (Peru) in 1536-37 and became renowned for violence, cruelty, and sedition. Chronicle by Pedro Simon has little of interest about native peoples, particularly from later parts of journey. Together with his daughter he joined the 1560 Ursua expedition down the Maranon and Amazon with 300 Spanish men and hundreds of natives. A year later, he participated in the overthrow and killing of Ursúa and his successor, Fernando de Guzmán, whom he ultimately succeeded. He and his men reached the Atlantic (probably via the Orinoco River), destroying native villages on the way. In 1561, he reportedly said: I am the Wrath of God, the Prince of Freedom, Lord of Tierra Firme and the Provinces of Chile. In 1561, he seized Isla Margarita and brutally suppressed any opposition to his reign, but when he crossed to the mainland to take Panama he was captured and killed, but not before killing his daughter and several followers. His body was quartered and pieces sent to various cities in Venezuela.




9 The “Wild Coast”

10 Pedro Teixeira (1585-1641), first expedition up the Amazon, and third descent (first round-trip). In 1637, two Franciscan friars and six soldiers paddled the length of the Amazon from Quito and arrived at Presidio (Belem). This aroused Portuguese concerns over Spanish colonization of the Amazon, which resulted in expedition led by Texeira (with 47 canoes, 70 soldiers, and 1200 native and African slaves), which departed in Oct. 28, 1637. Texeira was a veteran in campaigns in the lower Amazon to capture and control indigenous groups and expel colonial rivals, notably Dutch, English, and Irish. Spain and Portugal were both under the rule of Philip IV of Spain, but still colonial rivals. Commisioned by governor of Maranhao (chronicled by Maurício de Heriarte, 1662). After almost one year, in October 1638, the expedition reached Quito. Based on the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) and Orellana’s expedition, Spain considered the Amazon Spanish. Texeira founded town – Franciscana – on margins of the Napo (8/16/1639) to establish Portuguese presence. On return, Cristobal de Acuna (Jesuit) chronicled the expedition, published in 1641 as Novo Descobrimento do Grande Rio das Amazonas (Madrid). In it, he gives a glowing account the Amazon regions and is especially complimentary towards the indigenous Brazilian natives and their way of life. The expedition itself appears to have been uneventful, apart from a disagreement between the Jesuits and the Portuguese officers over slaving around the Rio Negro. Expedition reached Belem (Presidio) 12/12/1639. In 1640, Joao IV was proclaimed king of Portugal and, in 1641, king of Brazil as well. Texeira accepted the post of governor of Grao-Para on 28 February 1640 but he yielded the office after three months due to ill health. He died on 4 July 1641.

11 When the revolution of 1640 placed Joao IV on the throne in of Portugal and Brazil. Antonio Vieira (1608-1697) went to Lisbon and so impressed the king, he was appointed royal preacher with free access to the palace. He was regularly consulted on the business of the state. Vieira devoted his life to the conversion of the African slaves and indigenous peoples in Brazil, as well as their defense against abusive colonial forces. In 1653, he returned to Maranhao and Grao Para, and began tireless campaign to establish missions and defend indigenous peoples in the Lower Amazon. Due to abusive colonial administrators, Vieira argued that indigenous peoples must be placed under the control of Jesuits and returned to Lisbon in 1654 to plead the cause. In 1655, obtained royal decrees to give Jesuits unprecedented control over indigenous affairs (particularly missions), except in extreme cases (just wars). Organized many missions across coastal Maranhao and Grao Para, on Marajo and along the Amazon, where he described massive native populations, as well as the injustices to them in the context of colonialism. Colonists and secular authorities actively opposed Vieira, attributing the shortage of slaves and the consequent diminution in their profits to the Jesuits. They were joined by members of the secular clergy and the other Orders who were jealous of the monopoly enjoyed by the Jesuits in the governing native groups. In 1661, was sent back to Portugal with other Jesuits, and with death of Joao IV power over indigenous affairs returned to secular authorities.

12 Pombal Directorate, (1755-1798) Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquês de Pombal (1699-1782)

13 During two centuries of colonial rule, every indigenous people living on the main Amazon and its navigable tributaries had been destroyed. The diseases brought by European settlers – smallpox, measles, influenza, and later malaria - had annihilated tribe after tribe. The few survivors were mercilessly brought down the river in slaving expeditions; or ‘descended’ from their forest homes to fill denuded mission villages [resgates, “rescues”]. Slavery of Indians (but not of blacks) was officially abolished in the 1740s; but it continued in all but name. The Marquis of Pombal, strongman of Portugal in the mid-eighteenth century, expelled first the Jesuits then the other monastic orders. He tried to replace them in the mission villages with lay Directors, under the crazy impression that these laymen would be disinterested towards their Indian charges. Hardly surprisingly, the Directors were appalling oppressors. They forced men and women to work ceaselessly for them, and often abused girls in harems that shocked visiting ecclesiastics. Pombal’s Directorate was abolished in 1798; but exploitation of the poor did not abate. By that time, the total population in villages under government control throughout Pará and Brazilian Amazonia had fallen to under 20,000. The European ruling class needed native labour for every aspect of life: paddling canoes, farming, hunting, fishing, construction of buildings and forts, shipbuilding, gathering forest produce, plantations, and all domestic service. There were few black slaves, because Amazonia was generally too poor to afford them. Hemming (2006); see Hemming Red Gold (1978) and Amazonian Frontier (1987)

14 Charles Marie de La Condamine (1701 – 1774) La Condamine went to South America to measure the equator (1735). Travelled from Quito down the Amazon, ultimately reaching Cayenne (French Guiana). Discovered rubber from indigenous peoples in the region, but generally described the Amazon River as desolate with small and dispersed indigenous populations, in stark contrast to the descriptions of the previous centuries. Considered first scientific exploration of the Amazon. The journal of his ten-year long voyage to South America was published in Paris in 1751. Journal du voyage fait par ordre du roi à l'équateur (Paris 1751, Supplement 1752) Relation abrégée d'un voyage fait dans l'intérieur del'Amérique méridionale (Paris 1759)

15 By the mid-18 th century, when naturalists began describing the Amazon, the floodplain polities had been destroyed as intact indigenous polities, reduced to mixed blood ribeirinho (“caboclo”) groups dispersed along the Amazon and it’s major tributaries By the 19 th century, overall population of the Amazon had been drastically reduced and intact indigenous groups concentrated in upland areas, removed from the major navigable rivers (the U-shaped distribution of native peoples noted by Steward in the Handbook of South American Indians, 1946-1950, six volumes)

16 Gold & Slaves

17 Lecture to ‘Religion, Science and the Environment’ Symposium by Dr John Hemming Rio Negro near Manaus, July 2006 Treaty of Madrid of 1750 its diplomats effectively secured Brazil’s modern boundaries – which embrace half South America. So Portugal was paranoid about protecting this jewel in its colonial crown from prying foreigners. Captain Cook was not allowed to set foot on Brazilian soil when his ships watered at Rio de Janeiro. When the great German polymath Baron Alexander von Humboldt in 1800 made his way up the Orinoco and crossed to the remote headwaters of the Rio Negro, he was refused entry into Portuguese dominions and forced to retrace his route through what is now Venezuela. All this changed during the Napoleonic Wars, when in 1808 the Portuguese court escaped to Brazil; and in 1822 the Bragança prince Dom Pedro declared Brazilian independence. The first foreign scientists allowed onto the Amazon, in 1818-20, were the Bavarians Von Spix and Von Martius. [Followed by …] three remarkable young English naturalists. Alfred Russell Wallace and Henry Walter Bates scraped up the money to sail to the Amazon in 1848 – when aged 25 and 23 respectively. They were followed a year later by the Yorkshire botanist Richard Spruce, who was in his early thirties. Remarkably, all three came from humble origins and had no higher education. Wallace was a struggling schoolmaster with socialist beliefs that he retained throughout his life. Bates left school at thirteen to work in his family hosiery business. The two met in Leicester, collecting insects on Sundays. Spruce was the son of village schoolmaster, and he also started by teaching; but his heart was in botany. Spruce published papers about Yorkshire plants. The head of Kew Gardens was impressed and recognised him as a potentially great botanist. For a while the three young naturalists roomed together in Santarém, and each then sailed far up the Rio Negro and Solimões, sometimes together but more usually alone. They collected constantly, passionately and prodigiously – for selling their specimens to European museums and collectors was their sole means of support. They were dazzled by Amazonia. Bates wrote to a friend: ‘The charm and glory of the country are its animal and vegetable productions. How inexhaustible is their study! It is one dense jungle: the lofty forest trees, of vast variety of species, all lashed and connected by climbers, their trunks covered with a museum of ferns, Tillandrias, Arums, Orchids, &c.’ When Bates finally left after eleven years of non-stop collecting, he was heartbroken to leave ‘the glorious forest for which I had so much love, and to explore which I had devoted so many years. It is a region which may fittingly be called a Naturalist’s Paradise.’ The others were equally staggered by the size and exuberance of everything. Spruce wrote: ‘The largest river in the world flows through the largest forest. Fancy if you can two millions of square miles of forest, uninterrupted save by the streams that traverse it.’ Wallace left the Amazon after six years, in 1855; but he went on to achieve fame researching in the forests of South-East Asia. Bates left in 1859. Spruce returned to England in 1864, after 15 years of arduous exploring. The three young naturalists adored the Amazon and generally got on very well with Brazilians and other South Americans. They of course had tremendous adventures – near drowning, getting lost, hunger, near-fatal malaria for each one of them, terrible bites and illnesses, almost killed and robbed, and suffering loneliness and depression. But their achievements were utterly amazing. Hemming (2006)

18 Henry Walter Bates, 1825-1892

19 Alfred Russel Wallace, 1823-1913

20 Richard Spruce, 1817-1893 Notes of a botanist on the Amazon & Andes, being records of travel on the Amazon and its tributaries, the Trombetas, Rio Negro, Uaupés, Casiquiari, Pacimoni, Huallaga and Pastasa : as also to the cataracts of the Orinoco, along the eastern side of the Andes of Peru and Ecuador, and the shores of the Pacific, during the years 1849-1864

21 Prince regent João VI moved Portuguese court to Brazil in 1808, to escape Napoleon. Returned to Portugal in 1821; appointed son, Dom Pedro, regent in Brazil. D. Pedro refused to return to Lisbon, established a legislative assembly in São Paulo and proclaimed Brazil's independence from Portugal on Sept. 7, 1822 (Brazilian 4 th of July) Up until that point the colony of Grão Para dealt directly with the Portuguese crown, and only after independence claimed allegiance to Brazil. Cabanagem revolt (1835-40). Caused by extreme poverty of Paraense people, exacerbated by political irrelevance of region after Brazilian independence. Province had 120,000 inhabitants, being 32,750 Amerindians, 30,000 black slaves, 42,000 mixed-race, and only 15,000 European background (mostly Portuguese). The Cabano leaders declared autonomy for Para, establishing a new government, but were brutally defeated. Estimated 30-40% of population died in revolt.


23 Belém, founded in early 1600s (1.4 million)




27 Rubber, 1850-1920 The Rubber Boom (1850s-1910s) increased interest in more remote regions of Brazil, which brought many groups into direct contact with “uncontacted” indigenous groups, typically with dire consequences. In 1839 Charles Goodyear developed vulcanization. Then, useful for hoses, tires, industrial bands, sheets, shoes, shoe soles, and other products. Bicycle “revolution” spurred early boom, followed and greatly intensified after 1900 by automobiles. The Brazilian rubber industry: high-wage cost structure from labor scarcity and lack of competition. Workers borrowed money to move in and survive in region from employers, paid back through work (patrao/fregues; regatao), basically indenture servitude. Between 1900 and 1913, these conditions ceased to hold. First, the demand for rubber skyrocketed, providing a huge incentive for other producers to enter the market. After 1880s, SE Asia market with low cost labor, slowly eclipsed Brazil monopoly. In order to compete in rubber production, Brazil would have to have had significantly lower wages – needed vastly expanded transport network and agriculture. Such an expensive solution made no economic sense in the 1910s and 20s when coffee and nascent industrialization in São Paulo offered much more promising prospects. Bio-piracy (seeds left Brazil clandestinely in 1877 to England)

28 From 1890 to 1920, during rubber boom, Amazonian cities like Manaus prospered enormously; although conditions of urban and rural poor extremely bad. 1900 1870 5k tons 25k tons

29 1900 900 k tons 50k tons 1930

30 Teatro Amazonas, 1896 Manaus (1.7 million)





35 Santarém, Brazil (200,000) Home of the primary town of the Tapajós polity in 1500-1600s Estimated at 20 km² with a core area of 100 ha (350 acres) in 1500 (largest prehistoric settlement in Amazon)

36 Iquitos, Peru (375,000)

37 Natureindigenous Agencycommunity Subjectivitycaboclo Placepatrao Social relations/allianceregatao Gender Race “Slavery” & Debt Colony State Commodity Globalization The “Local”

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