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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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or Grad Para, a northern state of. Brazil, bounded N. by the three Guianas and the Atlantic, E. by the Atlantic and the states of Maranhao and Goyaz,! S. by Goyaz and Matto Grosso and W. by Amazonas. It is the third largest state of the republic, having an area of 443,922 sq. m.; pop. (1890), 328,455, (1900), 445,356. The Amazon valley has its outlet to the ocean through the central part of the state, the outlet, or neck, being comparatively narrow and the territory on both sides rising to the level of the ancient plateau that covered this part of the continent. In the north is the Guiana plateau, sometimes called Brazilian Guiana, which is "blanketed" and made semiarid by the mountain ranges on the Brazil-Guiana frontier. In the south the country rises in forested terraces and is broken by escarpments caused by the erosion of the northern slope of the great central plateau of Brazil. With the exception of the xx. 24 a Guiana highlands, and some grassy plains on the island of Marajo and in some other places, the state is densely forested, and its lowest levels are covered with a network of rivers, lakes and connecting channels.

The rivers of the state may be grouped under three general systems: the Amazon and its tributaries, the Tocantins and its tributaries and the rivers flowing direct to the Atlantic. The Amazon crosses the state in a general E.N.E. direction for about 500 m. Its channels, tributaries, furos (arms), igarapes (creeks, or literally, "canoe paths"), by-channels and reservoir lakes form an extremely complicated hydrographic system. From the north seven large tributaries are received - the Jamunda (which forms the boundary line with Amazonas), Trombetas, Maecuru, Jauary, Paru, Jary and Anauera-pucu. The first is, strictly speaking, a tributary of the Trombetas, though several furos connect with the Amazon before its main channel opens into the Trombetas. All these rivers have their sources on the Guiana highlands within the limits of the state, and flow southward to the Amazon over numerous rapids and falls, with comparatively short navigable channels before entering the great river. From the south two great tributaries are received - the Tapajos and Xingu - both having their sources outside the state (see Amazon). The Para estuary, usually called the Para river, belongs to the Tocantins, although popularly described as a mouth of the Amazon. Very little Amazon water passes through it except in times of flood. It is connected with the Amazon by navigable tidal furos, in which the current is hardly perceptible. The estuary is about 200 m. long and 5 to 30 m. wide, and receives the waters of a large number of streams, the largest of which is the Guama and its chief tributary, the Capim. A number of small rivers discharge into the Atlantic north and south of the Amazon, the largest of which are the Gurupy, which forms the boundary line with Maranhao, the Araguary, which drains a large area of the eastern slope of the Guiana highlands, and the Oyapok, which forms the boundary line with French Guiana.

Lying across the mouth of the Amazon and dividing it into three channels are the islands of Caviana and Mexiana, the first 47 m. and the second 27 m. in length, north-west to south-east, both traversed by the equator, and both devoted to cattleraising. Somewhat different in character is the island of Marajo, or Joannes, which lies between the Amazon and Para estuary. It is 162 m. long by 99 m. wide, and its area is about 15,000 sq. m. This island is only partly alluvial in character, a considerable area on its eastern and southern sides having the same geological formation as the neighbouring mainland. The larger part, the north-western, belongs to the flood-plains of the Amazon, being covered with swamps, forests and open meadows, and subject to annual inundations. There are several towns and villages on the island, and stock-raising, now in a state of decadence, has long been its principal industry. Of interest to archaeologists is the largest of its several lakes, called Arary, in the centre of which is a small island celebrated for its Indian antiquities, chiefly pottery. On the Atlantic coast the principal island is Maraca (lat. 2° N.), 26 m. long by 20 m. wide, which lies, in part, off the entrance to the Amapa river.

Para is crossed by the equator, and its climate is wholly tropical, but there is a wide variation in temperature and rainfall. In general, it is hot and dry on the Guiana plateau, and hot and humid throughout the forested region. In the latter, there are two recognized seasons, wet and dry, which differ only in the amount of rainfall, a strictly dry season being unknown. The trade winds, which blow up the Amazon with much force, moderate the heat and make healthy most of the settlements on the great river itself; but the settlements along its tributaries, which are not swept by these winds, are afflicted with malaria. The population is concentrated at widely separated points on the coast and navigable rivers, except on Marajo island, where open country and pastoral pursuits have opened up inland districts. The principal occupation is the collecting and marketing of forest products such as rubber (from Hevea brasiliensis), gutta-percha, or balata (Mimusops elata), Brazil nuts (Bertholetia excelsis), sarsaparilla (Smilax), cumaru or tonka beans (Dipterix odorata), copaiba (Copaifera officinarum), guarana (Paulinia sorbilis), cravo (an aromatic bark of Dicypellium caryophillatum) and many others. In earlier days cotton, sugar-cane, rice, tobacco, cacao and even coffee were cultivated, but the demand for rubber caused their abandonment in most places. Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is still widely cultivated, as also mandioca (Manihot utilissima) in some localities. Para produces many kinds of fruits - the orange, banana, abrico, caju, abacate (alligator pear), mango, sapotilha, fructa de Conde, grape, &c., besides a large number hardly known beyond the Amazon valley. The pastoral industries were once important in Para, especially on the islands of Marajo, Caviana and Mexiana, and included the rearing of horses, cattle, and sheep. At present little is done in these industries, and the people depend upon importation for draft animals and fresh meat. There remain a few cattle ranges on Marajo and other islands, but the industry is apparently losing ground. Mining receives some attention on the Atlantic slope of the Guiana plateau, where gold washings of no great importance have been found in the Counani and other streams. There are no manufactures in the state outside the city of Para (q.v.).

Transportation depends wholly on river craft, the one railway of the state, the Para & Braganca, not being able to meet expenses from its traffic receipts. The capital of the state is Para, or Belem do Para, and its history is largely that of this city. Other important towns are Alemaquer (pop. about 1500; of the municipio in 1890, 7539), on a by-channel of the Amazon; Breves (mun. 12,593 in 1890), a river port in the south-west part of Marajo, on a channel connecting the Amazon with the Para estuary; Braganca (mun. 16,046 in 1890), a small town in one of the few agricultural districts of the state, 147 m. by rail north-east of Para, on the river Caete, near the coast; Obidos (about woo; mun. 12,666 in 1890), on the north bank of the Amazon at a point called the Pauxis narrows, a little over 1 m. wide, attractively situated on a hillside in a healthful locality; and Santarem (12,062 in 1890), on the right bank of the Tapajos, 21 m. from the Amazon, dating from 1661, and the most prosperous and populous town between Para and Manaos.

Parr (officially Belem; sometimes Belem DO PARA), a city and port of Brazil, capital of the state of Para, and the see of a bishop, on a point of land formed by the entrance of the Guama river into the Para (86 m. from the Atlantic), in 1° 28' S., 4 8° 28' W. Pop. of the city and rural districts of the municipality (1890), 50,064; (1900, estimate), 100,000. There is a large Portuguese contingent in the population, and the foreign element, engaged in trade and transportation, is also important. The Indian admixture is strongly apparent in the Amazon valley and is noticeable in Para. A small railway, built by the state, runs north-eastward in the direction of Braganca (112 m.), on the sea-coast. The Guama river is enlarged at its mouth to form an estuary called the bay of Guajara, partially shut off from the Para by several islands and forming the anchorage of the port, and the Para is the estuary mouth of the Tocantins river. The Para is about 20 m. wide here.

The city is built on an alluvial forested plain only a few feet above the level of the river, and its streets usually end at the margin of the impenetrable forest. The climate is hot and humid, but the temperature and diurnal changes are remarkably uniform throughout the year. The annual rainfall, according to Professor M. F. Draenert, is 70 in. (Reclus says 120 in.), of which 56 in. are credited to the rainy season (January to June). H. W. Bates gives the average temperature at 81° F., the minimum at 73°, and the maximum (2 p.m.) at 89° to 94°. favourable climatic conditions tend to make the city healthy, but through defective drainage, insanitary habits and surroundings, and improper diet the death-rate is high. The plan of the city is regular and, owing to the density of the forest, it has no outlying suburbs. The streets are usually narrow, straight and well paved. Among the many public squares and gardens the largest are the Praca Caetano Brandao, with a statue of the bishop of that name; the Praga da Independencia, surrounded by government buildings and having an elaborate monument to General Gurjao; the Praga Visconde do Rio Branco, with a statue of Jose da Gama Melchior; the Praga de Baptista Campos, with artificial cascades, lake, island and winding paths; the Praga da Republica, with a monument representing the Republic; and the Praga de Prudente 1t'Ioraes, named in honour of the first civilian president of Brazil. Another public outdoor resort is the Bosque, a tract of forest on the outskirts of the city. The public buildings and institutions are in great part relics of an older regime. The great cruciform cathedral, on the Praga Caetano Brandao, dates from the middle of the 18th century. In the vicinity, facing on the Praga da Independencia, are the government and municipal palaces - built by order of Pombal (c. 1766), when Portugal contemplated the creation of a great empire on the Amazon. The bishop's palace and episcopal seminary, near the cathedral, were once the Jesuits' college, and the custom-house on the water-front was once the convent and church of the Mercenarios. One of the most notable buildings of the city is the Theatro da Paz (Peace Theatre), which faces upon the Praga da Republica and was built by the government during the second empire. Other noteworthy buildings are the Caridade hospital, the Misericordia hospital (known as the "Santa Casa"), the military barracks occupying another old convent, and the Castello fort, a relic of colonial days. Path has a number of schools and colleges, public and private, of secondary grade, such as the Ateneo Paranense, Instituto Lauro Sodre and Lyceu Benjamin Constant. There is an exceptionally fine museum (Museu Goeldi), with important collections in anthropology, ethnology, zoology and botany, drawn from the Amazon valley. The private dwellings are chiefly of the Portuguese one-storey type, with red tile roofs and thick walls of broken stone and mortar, generally plastered outside but sometimes covered with blue and white Lisbon tiles.

Path is the entrepot for the Amazon valley and the principal commercial city of northern Brazil. It is the headquarters of the Amazon Navigation Company, which owns a fleet of 40 river steamers, of 500 to 9 00 tons, and sends them up the Amazon to the Peruvian frontier, and up all the large tributaries where trading settlements have been established. Two or three coastwise companies also make regular calls at this port, and several transatlantic lines afford regular communication with Lisbon, Liverpool, Hamburg and New York. The port is accessible to large steamers, but those of light draft only can lie alongside the quays, the larger being obliged to anchor some distance out. Extensive port improvements have been undertaken. The exports of Path include rubber, cacao, Brazil nuts and a large number of minor products, such as isinglass, palm fibre, fine woods, tonka beans, 'deerskins, balsam copaiba, annatto, and other forest products.

Path was founded in 1615 by Francisco Caldeira de CastelloBranco, who commanded a small expedition from Maranhao sent thither to secure possession of the country for Portugal and drive out the Dutch and English traders. The settlement, which he named Nossa Senhora de Belem (Our Lady of Bethlehem), grew to be one of the most turbulent and ungovernable towns of Brazil. Rivalry with Maranhao, the capital of the Amazon dependencies, slave-hunting, and bitter controversies with the Jesuits who sought to protect the Indians from this traffic, combined to cause agitation. In 1641 it had a population of only 400, but it had four monasteries and was already largely interested in the Indian slave traffic. In 1652 the Para territory was made a separate capitania, with the town of Path as the capital, but it was reannexed to Maranhao in 1654. The final separation occurred in 1772, and Path again became the capital, continuing as such through all the political changes that have since occurred. The bishopric of Path dates from 1723. The popular movement in Portugal in 1820 in favour of a constitution and parliament (Cortes) had its echo in Path, where in 1821 the populace and garrison joined in creating a government of their own and in sending a deputation to Lisbon. The declaration of Brazilian independence of 1822 and creation of an empire under Dom Pedro I. was not accepted by Path, partly because of its influential Portuguese population, and partly through jealousy of Rio de Janeiro as the centre of political power. In 1823 a naval expedition under Lord Cochrane, then in the service of Brazil, took possession of Maranhao, from which place the small brig "Dom Miguel" under the command of Captain John Grenfell was sent to Para. This officer conveyed the impression that the whole fleet was behind him, and on the 1 5th of August the junta governativa organized in the preceding year surrendered its authority and Path became part of the newly created Brazilian empire. An uprising against the new government soon occurred, which resulted in the arrest of the insurgents, the execution of their leaders, and the incarceration of 253 prisoners in the hold of a small vessel, where all but four died from suffocation before morning. Conspiracies and revolts followed, and in 1835 an outbreak of the worse elements, made up chiefly of Indians and half-breeds, occurred, known as the "Revolucao da Cabanagem," which was chiefly directed against the Portuguese, and then against the Freemasons. All whites were compelled to leave the city and take refuge on neighbouring islands. The Indians and half-breeds obtained the mastery, under the leadership of Antonio and Francisco Vinagres and Eduardo Angelim, and plunged the city and neighbouring towns into a state of anarchy, the population being reduced from 25,000 to 15,000. The revolt was overcome in 1836, but the city did not recover from its effects until 1848. But the opening of the Amazon to foreign trade in 1867 greatly increased the importance of the city, and its growth has gone forward steadily since that event. (A. J. L.)

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Para'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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