Monte Alegre

March 19, 2014

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Look straight up and you will see the static result of centuries of struggle toward the light: the vines are intertwined with the trees, the branches come more and more high in an attempt to defeat the other in a desperate fight for the light of the Sun. So efficient is this fight a point on the ground can receive directly the brightness of the Sun once every 50 years, time in which some neighboring tree abandons the fight, dies, falls to the ground and leave an opening in the vault, a pinch of hope for newborns trees. Such abundance of life is unimaginable, but it is also overwhelming. More than 20 million people live alongside such natural exuberance. The history of human occupation in the Amazon goes back to 11 thousand years, around the Monte Alegre, where archaeological sites indicating the existence of fairly complex communities much earlier than expected, and in a region in which its existence was not considered possible a few years ago have been discovered. The adventurous traveler with a few available days can take a small plane from Santarem to Monte Alegre and visit murals paintings of natives, visible even today. Ancient indigenous populations are still present, although rarely invites outsiders to visit them.

Although it is shocking to some, there are some small Indian tribes that have never been found or identified by us, Westerners; No it’s a tribute to our inability, but rather to the incredible size of the jungle. However, the occupation important non-indigenous came with the discovery of valuable natural products: in particular, the rubber.Hevea brasiliensis, locally known as hevea, is the tree that produces this precious product since Charles Goodyear invented vulcanization of rubber process in 1839. At the end of the 19th century, with the industry’s production of bicycles and cars at record pace, the rubber market overheated.