Group Title: functional relationship of Manaus to the Amazon basin
Title: The Functional relationship of Manaus to the Amazon basin
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 Material Information
Title: The Functional relationship of Manaus to the Amazon basin
Physical Description: ix, 233 leaves : illus. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Williams, Jerry Ray, 1939-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1969
Copyright Date: 1969
Subject: Amazon River Valley   ( lcsh )
Manaus (Brazil)   ( lcsh )
Geography thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Geography -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 225-232.
Additional Physical Form: Also available on World Wide Web
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Thesis - University of Florida.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00097784
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000537937
oclc - 13022435
notis - ACW1143

Full Text






C opu-;:Aht by
Jerry Ray I'i'slliams


The twelve months spent in Brazil conducting the

field research for this study were the most rewarding

educational experience in my nine years of undergraduate

and g-raduate studies. To all of the people who have

encouraged my interest in Latin America during these earso,

I a sincerely thankful.

I am especially grateful to Dr. Edmund E. Hegen,

Chairman of my Supervisory Committee, for his enthusiastic

support of my research project and his thoughtful suggestions

in the field. I also appreciate the encouragement and

assistance offered by Dr. Raymond E. Crist and Dr. HIugh

Pcpenoe, my other committee members.

A special debt of gratitude is due the Brazilian

people as a whole. I found them to be warm, friendly

individuals, sincerely interested in developing their

fascinating, many-faceted giant of a country. The h.lpful,

cooperative efforts made on my behalf by countless Brazilians

throughout the country can never be adequately ackn:>led3ed.

To the gracious Abdoral Cesar-Carlos Almeida family, ;ho

lit;erally inccrpor-atcd s into their f mily life while we

were irn lanaus arid made .s feel at home in Brazil, w: will

always be indebted.


The National Institute for Amazonian Research, the

Commission for the Eccnomic Development of Aaazonas, and

the Brazilian Institute of Geography were especially helpful

with my research. Although it is impossible to liet all the

helpful individuals in Manaus, special recognition should be

offered for the interest and assistance of: Antonio

Loureiro, Julio Souza, Saul Benchimol, and Buy Alencar.

I am indeed grateful to the Foreign Area Fellowship

Program whose support made possible a semester of inter-

disciplinary study at Columbia University under the guidance

of Dr. Charles Wagley, twelve months of field research in

Brazil, and seven months of dissertation writing. Obviously,

the conclusions, opinions, and other statements in this

study are those of the author and not necessarily those of

the Fellowship Program.



ACK OWLEDGEENTS . . . . . * * iii

LIST OF FIGURES . . .. . . . *. vii

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . *vi

I NTR RUCTION . . . * * * . .

A Metropolis in the Rainforest . ... . . .
Ke thodology . . . . * * * .
Definitions and Terminology . . . . . 7
ct s . . . . * * * * 12


Fistorical Development . . . 13
Contemporary Kanaus . . . . * 26
Notes . . . . . . . 56


Rivers: A Natural System ... .e . 1
Air Transportation: An Integrating Force . . . 72
Eighusy Transportation: An Occupying Force . . .
Notes . . . . . * * * * * > * Q


Lhe. Administrative Function . . . . . . 101
=1 Pinnc ial Center . . . . I. 11
Educational Services . . . . . . .
IKe ical S-rvi~; ces . . . . . * * * 21
A Cei tc,, for Re.ligious Activity .. . .... .. 23
T-e Co -.uiication Network . . .. .. 13
Not s . .* * * . * 36


recentt Port Activiv y . . . . .......... * 13-
Exit Port actions . . . . .. * *
Po-ri cf Entr-y and Di'str" i.tio. Center . . . 1.0
Ix tra-Az azc a Tr . . .
i.otes . . . . . . . . 16

Raw Material-Processing Industries . . .
The Petrole.u Industry . . . . . . .
New Industrial De-velopments . . .
Zona Franca--An Attemrpt to Stir.ulate Development
Notes . . . . . . . . . .


Population . . . . . . . .
Settlement Functions . . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . . . . . .


Notes . . . . . . . . .

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . .



. 165

S. .166
. 171
. 179
. 184
. 189
. 195

. 197

. 197
. 201
. 212

. 213

. 224

. 225

. 233



1. Manaus, Aazonas, 1968 . . . .

2. Amazonia . . . . . . . .

3. Man aus . . . . .

4. Meteorological Norms for Manaus, 19~8-1967

5. Transportation in Western Ar.azoia . .

6. Manaus Port Activity 1953-1967 . . .

7. Export Hinterland of Aiazonas--1967 . .

8. Imlport Hinter~led of Amazonas--1967 . .

9. VolIure of Intra-Amazonian Trade 1967 . .

10. Value of Intra-Amazonian Trade 1967 .

11. Urban Centers in nAmazonia . . .

12. Amazonian Spheres of Urban Influence . .


. ix

. . .

S. 31

S. . 64

S. 76

. . 141

. . 151

. . 16054
. ... l60

S . 161

S . 206

. . 208


Table Page

1. A Record of Banking Activity in Western Amazonia,
as of December 31, 1967 . .. . . . . . 115

2. University of AJazonas--Enrollment by Faculty--
1968 . . . . . . . . . . 120

3. University of Amazonas--Student Origin--1968 . 120

4t. Regional Products Exported from Amazonas--1967 .. 16

5. Destination of Amnazonas Exports 1967 . . . 4

6. Crigin of Ainazonas Imports 1967 . . . . . 152

7. Merchandise Imported by the State of Amazonas in
1967 by Class, Weight, and Value . . . 156

8. Census of Industry and Food Processing in
:-anaus--june 1968 . . . . . .. . 167

9. Production Pigures for the ianaus Refinery--!967 1811

10. Distribution of Petroleum Products from the
Marnaus Refinery--1967 . . . . . . .. 183

11. 'opulation of Amazonia--1960 . . . .. 198

12. Urban Centers in Amazonia Exceeding 2,500--1960 . 200



ri :

f" I;Y~VII

"'~S'C ;rAV

1 s ~:'Li 4s

~ i. of.


A Metropolis in the Rainfor&st

It is difficult to consult a map of South America

and not notice, at least in passing, the vast apparently

unoccupied area collectively known as Amazonia. In the

center of this enormous expanse of selva is the city of

iancus, capital of the state of Amazonas. At first glnce,

it appears to be just one of a half dozen names cc.m on:l

listed on maps of this area of the world, some,,heire bftw'en:

P$rto Velho, Rio Branco, Tefe', Boa Vista, Santar-6em and

Belom, However, Manaus emerges from even the mcst. cursoryy

examination as a rather unique geographical; a

metrpcrolis of some 225,000 inhabitants completoly -rroand ~d

by millions of square kilometers of tropical raini'or'st

which for all practical purposes virtually isolate. .hi"s city

fromi the ;'est of Brazil and the world.

The northern portion of Brazil contains a .1'Ter-

of other cities, predominantly administrative center,-

equallay isolated in this selva surrounded limbo. !'0.3 1.-st

of these interior cities exemplified very Ic.; r-stes of

ecot'-ric growth and dev!lcp.n.:- d r'in. the list fsifco' -

.yoars, ,'s e;:per:.c. Cd a period of0 rapid '-rowth. end

econ.oic expr.n.ion ?iid e'/eloped into a reQional cent,., of



increasing importance. The continued growth and development

of a city in such an unlikely surrounding stimulated the

professional interest of this student and resulted in the

present research project to exarmine the contemporary role

of ,'anaus as a tropical metropolis, or, more specifically,

the functional relationship of Manaus to the Amazon Basin.

A favorable location in respect to the river system

which dominates transportation in the region has traditionally

been cited to explain the growth of Manaus.1 The influence

of the transportation system in Amazonia which encouraged

the development of Manaus appears to have also prevented a

typical hierarchy of urban centers from developing in the

region. The lack of an integrated transportation network

restricted the occupation of Amazonia to riverine settle-

nents strung along an extended linear axis. An examination

of ,anaus' present function as an expanding urban center'

within this distorted urban pattern serves to place an atypical development in its proper regional

perspective. If Manaus is still dependent upon its fuocticn

as a transportation center, it is also important to antici-

pate how Bria;zs aggressive road building program and the

partially cor-pleted Cuiaba-Porto Velho-Manaus road ",ill

effect the city's future role.

Me thodolog

Prior to dopair-ting from the United States, this

writer reviewed pertinent materials in the hcwldiDgs of the

University of Florida, Columbia University, and New York

City Public Library. Existing published material cn Amazcnia

is primarily historical in nature and provides an excellent

basis for analyzing the historical development of Mianaus.

Contemporary materials, however, are predominantly travelogue

accounts of life and adventure in the "green hell" of


In the forefront of the considerable number- of

studies concerning the functions of cities as central places
are the works of Christaller, L'sch, Berry, and Haggett.

Studies of central places, in general, demonstrate that in

a region characterized by a well-developed hiera.rchy of urban

centers a wide variety of cities would exist. The functions

of these cities can be accurately classified according to

their order within the hierarchy. The vast majority of

these studies, however, concern cities in developed countries,

either the United States and Canada or Western Europe.3

Since prelimrinar-y research revealed the absence of a normal

ur.bban hierarchy in northern Brazil, this writer attemipt3,d

to determine to that extent the findings of studies carried

out in developed countries applied to the obviously unique

case of -' aneus.

The best existing study of urban centers in Brazil

is EvouiaH du rado urbana brasileiro (Ejvolution of the

Brazilian Urban Network) by Pedro F. Gciger.4 Also usefu.

for this particular area is a study of the urban organization

of nAazonia prepared by Michel Rochefort.5 Even more

important though, is a recent nationwide study prepared by

the Brazilian Institute of Geography (IBG) whose findings

were published in 1969.6 This Brazilian study appear-s to

accurately locate Manaus in relation to the other major

urban centers of Brazil; but it is lacking in details on

the city's regional importance.

The on--site research efforts conducted in IManaus,

throughout Amazonia, and finally in Rio de Janeiro, evolved

around seven major topics: the establishment and growth of

the city to its present stage of development; the existing

transportation network; the implementation of overland

transportation to Manaus and its possible effect on the city;

the influence of the city as a service center; the extent to

which aInaus has maintained its traditional function as the

import-export center of the interior; modifications in the

city's historic role resulting from the move toward

industrialization; and finally, an attempt to evaluate the

city's present and future role as the dominant center in

Western 1 a-aonia, the problems involved in uting a foreign

language to conduct research .nve tigations in an unf.:uiliar

culture, this mritor began researching in the libraries of

Ysnanus while improving his facility for, and confidence in,

speoaking the Portuguese language. Th' VIanaus library of the


National Institute of Amazonian Research (Instituto Nacicnal

de Pesquisas Amjazonia) or INPA, as it is ccamonly known,

contains a reasonably complete collection of works concerning

Amazonia. A thorough review and examination of their

holdings, however, reconfirmed earlier beliefs concerning

the lack of contemporary published data on this region.

Notable exceptions are the special reports being prepared

by regional and local organizations for limited circulation.

Two of the most important of these organizations are SUDAM

(Superintendencia do Desenvolvimento da Amazonia), a federal

agency charged with coordinating regional development, and

CODEAMA (Comiss~o para desenvolvimento do Estado dc Amazonas),

a state development agency for Amazonas.

The department of statistics for the state of

Amnazonas was the source of a considerable amount of

unpublished economic data on a statewide basis. To a lesser

extent comparable offices in the state of Acre and Pard

and the territories of Rondonia, and Roraima provided .ri.ilar

infcrrnation. For the city itself, the unpublished records

of the Port of Uanaus, which went back to 1953, were very

useful. Federal and state agencies in Iran.?us, and later in

Bele'm', and Rio de J-aneiro, were extremely cooperative in

providing copies of pecifc reports pd for limited

dist2.ibu'tion and/or periiittring consultation of existing

ma t eri5als.

It is cor~i:on knowledge that the reliability of

statistical data coming from underdeveloped countries,

including Brazil, is suspect. Needless to say, many an

hour tediously spent copying statistics was later revealed

to have been a waste of time when -conflicting data revealed

glaring inconsistencies. Only by constantly double checking

one source against another was a consistent record of

statistical data compiled. The department of statistics

in Manaus and the records of the Treasury Department

(Iginisterio da Fazenda) in Rio de Janeiro proved to be the

most consistently reliable sources of data. When this

research was being conducted, statistical information on the

values of imports and exports was only complete through

1967. That is the year most frequently referred to in this

study, although occasional references are also made to 1966,

and 1968. The reliability of statistical data presented

herein is considered, by this writer, to be very good.

Interviews were a particularly valuable source of

information. Public officials and private businessnen were

quite killingg to discuss their particular oper'aticn and how

it ,el',ted t tthe problems and prospects of development

taking place on the city', state, and regionall level. Private

individuals from all strata of society were no less willing

to relate the advantages and disadvantages of lifc in Ianaus

and/or in one. of the small -coruunitics in te interior of

the stat.3 Although officials and businTessmen frequently

provided data of one sort or another during an interview,

the informal talks with individuals often resulted in a

better understanding of what life is like on a day-by-day

basis for the great majority of Amazonian society.

Obviously, for an accurate and comprehensive view of the

situation, it was desirable to have a combination of as

many relevant factors as possible.

In an effort to accumulate comparative data, visits

were made to the other administrative centers in the region:

Porto Velho, Rio Branco, Boa Vista, and Belem. The major

urban centers in the state of Amazonas were also visited.

In each of these locations local leaders were interviewed,

economic data and records were consulted, and pertinent

material was recorded.

Definitions and Terminology

The use of the term "Amazonia" requires an explicit

definition as to which or to what Amazonia one is referring.

In its broadest sense Amazonia includes the northwestern

half of Brazil; eastern Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador; south-

eastern Colombia; and southern Venezuela. In a more specific

sense it refers to a certain area within each of the above

countries. The general location of this study is in Brazil's

"Anmazonia," but even there the term suffers from a certain

degree of ambiguousness. Traditionally it included the

states of Amazonas, Para, and Acre, and the territories of

A 9apa, Roraina, and Rondonia. In 1953, the federal govern-

mcnt established a. regional organization, SPVEA (Superin-

tendernte do Piano de Valoriazco Eccnonmica da Anmazonia), to

forrmulate and execute a coordinated plan for the economic

development of the entire area. According to the law

creating the agency, Arazonia is defined as

the States of Para and Amazonas; the Federal
Territories of Acre, Amapa', Guapore (Rondonia),
Rio Branco (Roraima) and that part of the State
of Mato Grosso north of the 160 parallel, the
State of Goias north of the 130 parallel; sond
the State of Maranhao west of the 44 meridian.7

Much of the published material, including the census

data and the statistical yearbook of Brazil (Anua'rio

Estatistico do Brasil), still utilizes the traditional

definition of Amazonia, which coincides with the North

Region (Grande Regiao Norte), a geographical and statistical

region commonly referred to throughout the ccuntry. The

traditional definition does not include the portions of

Mato Grosso, Goias, or Maranhao. These areas have no direct

relations with Manaus, and consequently do not pertain to

this study; Amazonia, as used in this paper, si~nifies the

political entities of Amapa, Para', Amazonas, Rora-.ima, Acre

and Rondonia. See Figure 2. A further differentiation of

Am..zonia also commonly used within Brazil refers to Eastern

A...:;i. a and k'stern Amazonia. Est.rn Amazonia consists

of the state of Para and the territory of Amaa', while

Western kmazonia includes the states of Amazconas and Acre

ar~. the territories of Rondonia and Roraima.

-,%- ,



A foreigner could conceivably acquire the impression

that Brazilians have a special facility for formulating

lengthy titles for private companies, state and federal

agencies. Fortunately, most of these titles condense very

vell into a pronouncable acronym, which, of course, every-

one uses. Some of the more common acronyms which appear in

this study are SUFRAMA (Superintendencia da Zona Franca de

Manaus); COPAN (Companhia de Petroleo da Amazonia); and the

previously mentioned INPA; CODEAMA; and SUDAM, which

officially replaced the SPVEA in 1966.8

Unfortunate though it may be, the words "inflation"

and "Brazil" are almost synonymous to many people, including

a considerable number of Brazilians. The current monetary

unit in Brazil is the novo cruzeiro (NCr$) which is equiva-

lent to 1,000 cruzeiros (Cr$) or old cruzeiros as they are

commonly called to distinguish them from the new. Unless

otherwise indicated, the monetary values used in this study

are naw cruzeiros. Throughout 1966, the official exchange

rate was NCr$2.2 per U.S. $1.00. In February, 1967, the

new cruzeiro was devalued to NCr$2.7 per U.S. $1.00 and

continued at that level until November when it was devalued

to NCr?3.2. The average exchange rate for 1967, was NCr$2.7

per U.S. $100. In 1968, the exchange rate began at NCr$3.2

and held that value until July when a succession of smaller

devaluations began which finally reached a NCr$3.8 exchange

ratG by the end of the year.9

The term "interior" appears frequently in this study

and therefore requires some clarification. Fromr Belem a

trip to the interior means anywhere in Amazonia, including

Manaus. In Manaus "interior" refers to any place in the

state or region outside of the city itself. In the smaller

co-iiurities it is used to indicate any other less inhabited

location inland, upriver, or downriver from that particular

community. To the rural peasants scattered alcng the

numerous rivers of Amazonia, the interior is just outside

the door of their thatched hut.


1. Henry Walter Bates, The Naturalist on the River Amnazonas
(London: John Iurray, l892), p. 173; Michel Rochefcrt,
"A Organizaeao urbana da Ariazonia Brasileira," Boletim
Carioc, XII (1959), 16-17.

2. Brian J. L. Berry and William L. Garrison, "Functional
Bases of the Central Place Hierarchy," Economic
Geography, XXXIV (1958), 304-11; Peter Haggett,
Locational Analysis in Human Geography (New York:
St. Martin's Press, 1966); the theory of central place
as originally introduced by Walter Christaller and
subsequently expanded by August Lbsch is thoroughly
examined in the above book by Peter Haggett.

3. Brian J. L. Berry and Allen Pred, Central Place Studies:
A Bibliography of Theory and Applications TThiladelphIa:
Regional Science Research Institute, 1965).

4. Pedro Pinchas Geiger, Evolucao da rede urbana brasileiro
(Rio de Janeiro: Centro BrasileiFo de Pesquisas
Educacionais, 1963).

5. Rochefort, op. cit., pp. 15-29.

6. Subsidios a Regionalizacao (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto
Brasileiro de Geografia, 1968).

7. SPVEA 1954/1960: Politica de Desenvolviiento da An-azonia,
Vol. I (Rio de Janeiro: Graica Editora Livro, 19blT
p. 24.

8. "Lei no. 5,173, de 27 de outubro de 1966," Uiia '$va
Filosofia de Governo (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto
Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatfstica, 1966), pp. 13-30.

9. ':Dolar sobe 1.65 em 20 dias passando a valer XCr$3.805,"
Journal do Brasil, 12 Dec., 1968, p. 4.


Historical Devaelopent

As a former outpost and subsequent collecting point

for tropical forest products, the fortunes of -Manaus have

ebbed and flowed in response to outside stimuli over which

the inhabitants of the city seemingly exercised little or

no control. Dependence on an economic system based on

collecting instead of producing repeatedly resulted in

difficult times for the city and region. This "collecting

mentality," which still dominates the regional economy,

originated with the colonizers. As one writer characterized

it, "A society without an economic conscience developed in

Amazcnia, uncontrolled in the process of life, always after

the easiest way to stability."I Instead of developing a

rational system of agriculture, pastoralism, or even

industry, "they utilized what nature delivered to them in

abundance, generously."2

After an initial two hundred years in the backwuater

of civilization, the city emerged from obscurity cn a surge

of prosperity based on the international demand for rubber,

a native pro'uact. Unable (or unwilling) to compete with

rational projcr-ion techniques. the economy of the region

soon. collapse.d an6 the prosperity of Marnau quickly faded.


Riapid decline rnd stagnation followed the financial collapse

and the city sarJn once again into oblivion.

The raw material demands of World War II temporarily

rejuvenated the -conormy of the region. Since then, the city

has experienced a painfully slo- economic revival. In an

attempt to stimulate economic development, a free zone was

established in Manaus in 1967. The result has been a renewed

boon-town atmosphere, reminiscent of earlier days, and a

growing apprehension that it may, once again, be a short

lived prosperity.

The Forott cn City 1669-1869

The increasing Dutch and Spanish intrusions into the

Amazon re-ion during the mid-seventeenth century alarmed

the Portuguese crown and resulted in a move to protect the

Portug.uese claim to the region bordering on the Rio Negro.

Accordingly, in 1669, a fort was established on a site three

leagues upriver from the mouth of the Rio Nero. This now

bastion of the ?'rtuguese crown was appropriately named

7ortzIsz. de S.o Jose do Rio Nezro.3

Evidently the Dutch and Spanish ithrcat to the area

:;as not too s:;riuc s beca-use the Fortalcza de SZ'o Jose do

Rio ITer:-o never ~o.Ti,,ourtcd to anything mror- than a token

military establisient. At the sane t-ime, however,'it was

a cent.:r f'ro- ';hich the accct.panying Car 'n2ite priest

worked to Chris ticnie the native inhabitants. A historic

of the city, Mario Monteiro, says that the soldiers of the

fort married the local Indian women and a small community

developed.4 In 1774, 105 years after its founding, Lugar

da Barra, as it was then commonly called, consisted of

"220 people, including the vicar, the director and ten women

more than ninety years old."5 Four years later (1778) a

visitor described the inhabitants as consisting of "34

whites, 220 Indians, and 2 Negro slaves employed in the

manufacture of butter."

By 1783, the old fort had reached such a stage of

deterioration that it was finally ordered disarmed. At

about the same time, the seat of the Capitancy of 3'o Jose

do Rio Negro was transferred from Lugar da Barra to Barcelcs,

approximately five hundred kilometers up the Rio Negro.

During the next twenty-five years the Capitancy wao; returned

to Lugar da Barra, transferred back to Barcelos, and finally

ended up in Lugar da Barra again in 1808. In 1648, by

virtue of a legislative act of the Para' assembly, the

comuiunity of Lugar da Barra became a city, henc.efcrth to be

kncon as the city of Barra do Rio Negro. Two years later

the Province of Amazonas was created, and, finally in 2856,

the locality of Barra do Rio Negro changed its destination
to the "City of Manaus."

The coi;rranity grew very slo.:ly. In 1890, after

almost two years, it only contained aboutt 3,000

inhabitants During rhe late 1830's livingg conditions

in the city deteriorated seriously. A terr.porary resident in

the city at that time stated that:

Earra was formerly a pleasant place of residence,
but it is now in a most wretched plight, suffering
from a chronic scarcity of the cost necessary
articles of food. The attention of the settlers
was formerly devoted almost entirely to the
collection of the spontaneous produce of the
forests and rivers; agriculture was consequently
neglected, and now the neighborhood does net
produce even mandioca-meal sufficient for its
own consumption.9

As the city completed its first two hundred years,

there was no indication that it would ever be anything more

than just a sleepy little tropical village. At that ti7.e

a visitor described Manaus as "an insignificant little town

of about 3,000 inhabitants" with "unpaved and badly leveled

streets, low houses, and cottages of most primitive

construction. ."10 That description soon becamo little

more than an unpleasant memory as the combination of

advantageous location and international demand for rubber

tr-ansfor-med Manaus into a modern city and the rubber capital

of ths world.

The Rubber Caoital 1870-1912

Technological innovations and political decisions

contr ibuted to Manaus' eiergonce froS obscurity. Ir 18>3,

stea-lships were introduced into the Ama. zon Valley and

provided a "tremsndous stimu;lus to Iansos. It expanded

trade and gave the city the opportunity to become the

transportation center."11 No less important was the opening

of the Amazon Piver to the merchant marines of all nations

in 1866, which enabled Manaus to develop direct com-mrcial

connections with the rest of the world.1

In combination with the favorable political climate,

improved transportation, and demand for a regional product,

an essential factor in Manaus' rapid rise to pour and

prosperity was the advantageous location. Its central

position in the Amazon basin,and accessibility to the

largest ocean-going vessels, made the city an ideal

collecting and transhipment center for rubber on its way to

foreign markets and for the supplies needed to sustain the

rubber tappers (seringueiros) in the interior. The city's

excellent natural harbor was markedly improved at the burn

of the century by the construction of modern por' facilities.

The new port began operating in 1903 and gave Manaus "a

great advantage over Itacoatiara and other rival towns.'1

As rubber exports and demands increased, a

corresponding need developed for new sources cf labor to

explore the selva, locate new rubber trees, mark rubber

trails (s:el, and collect the precious liquid. In

1877, when the Aeazon basin was trying to attract new man-

power, a severe and prolonged drought- set.cled on the more

densely populated Northeastcrn Erazil. Refugees from the

drought were enccur:aged to migratee to the ARazon basin and,

as Celso Furbado states,

Once the migratory flow had started, it became
easier to keep it under way. Interested in
emigration, the government of the Amarzon states
organized propaganda services and granted
subsidies for costs of transportation. In this
way the great migratory current was formed,
permitting the expansion of rubber production
in the Amazon basin, . .4

Reliable records do not exist, but it is estimated

that no less than a half million people were attracted to

the Amazon basin during this period.15 Along with the flow

of immigrants from the Northeast, who, for the most part,

became the rubber tappers of the interior, a considerable

number of foreign immigrants were also attracted to the

urban centers of Belem and Manaus. In Manaus

Englishmen set up the tram lines, sanitary
systems, subfluvial telegraph lines, telephone lines,
and the floating docks. Americans built the water-
works. Germans and Englishmen settled as big exporters.
Portuguese established themselves as "aviadores,"
importers, and grocers. Syrians became mostly
merchants, itinerant traders, peddlers, "regatoes."
Italians specialized in the shoe business, but most
of them were employed as unskilled workers, porters
mainly. Polish grrls came to explore the prosti-
tution business.

Manaus was not transformed from a river village

into a glittering city overnight, in spite of the influx

of new inhebi'tants, but the process was rapid and dramatic.

In 1867, the city contained only seventy-four commercial

establishments; by 1869, the total had increased to two

hundn.ed and twelve; by 1904 there were sixty-twvo businesses

exclusively devoted to the rubber trade.17

The boom reached its peak in 1910, when the city

accurately reflected the prosperity and good tines brought

on by the demand for rubber.

This capital cf 50,000 inJabitants was bound
together by a steel band of fifteen miles of
electrical raila-aey, whose streetcars came and
went from the prapa. MKanaus loudly boasted of
all the amenities of any European city of similar
size or even larger. An excellent system of
waterworks, an efficient garbage collection and
disposal system, electricity, telephone service,
handsome public buildings and comfortable private
residences attested to the modernity of the city.18

The residents were justifiably proud of their modern

city and the crowning monument to its position as a center

of economic and cultural importance was the Manaus opera

house. Construction of the impressive structure was

completed in 1896, at an estimated cost of two million

dollars. 1 Located on a hill overlooking the city, the

huge domed theater symbolized the city's progress and


The false prosperity of the Amazon basin was based

o n n irrational and uneconomical system of collecting wild

rubber. Artificially high prices, maintained by increasing

d-emand, rencouraged thho development of a planta.i on system

of production. 'Un"fo ,tunately for Amazonia, this achievement

took place in 1ialasia--not the Amazon Valley. Once the

plantations started prodcing, they quickly dominated the

entire market, Tho percentage f lanr.ation-growrn Asian

rubber on the world market "grew from 0,3 in 1905 to 9.0 in

1910 to 67.6 in 1915. Ey 1922, plantation rubber accounted

for 93.1 per cent of the sales."20

Once it began, the development of Manaus was steady

and dreiatic. Its decline was sudden and frightening. As

E. Bradfcrd Burns described it

In Manaus, prosperity began to give way to panic as
the historic year of 1910 drew to a close The
frontier activities so characteristic of a bcom town
subsided. The docks and warehouses would deteriorate;
the banks would close; foreign merchants would move
away; the opera house would fall into disrepair.
Rubber had followed a course marked by dyewood, sugar,
gold, diamonds, tobacco, cotton, and cacac.. ianaus
took its place beside Olinda and Ouro Preto.21

Depression and Stagnation 1913-1942

Rubber had so dominated the regional econcmy that

production, co-mmerce, and transportation were almios;t solely

dependent upon this single product. During the rush to take

part in the general prosperity, the agricultural areas of

the Lower _Aazon were largely abandoned and '"Manaos and the

rest of the region became completely dependent on foodstuff

and other products from the outside."22 With the collapse

of the inflated rubber market, comr.ercial activity came to

a standstill. Banks closed their doors and went out of

business, "well settled commercial houses in MIaraos went

bankrupt; and mnny b;sinesnen became impoverished since

they dealt on a credit basis."23 Th; effects on all levels

of society were i-rmedia te and severe.

The entire system. of rubber production operated on

an interwoven network of credit. When the market failed

and credit suddenly disappeared, the seringueiros in the

interior were left with no market for their rubber and no

supplies to sustain them. They were the tragic victims of

a vicious system of exploitation which kept them isolated

in the jungle and forever in debt.

Without means for returning home and unaware of
what was happening to the world rubber economy,
the migrant resigned himself to staying. Com-
pelled to eke out his budget through local
hunting and fishing activities, he regressed to the
most primitive form of subsistence economy--that
of the man living in the tropical forest. 24

Many of these impoverished and abandoned rubber

tappers eventually drifted into Manaus seeking employment.

"Full of diseases, mainly beri-beri and malaria, they

contributed to the high index of mortality in the city,

becoming at times a burden to the community. 25' They also

contributed to the growth and outward spread of the city.

Unable to pay rent, they built their own thatched houses

on the outskirts of the city. As a result, "the suburbs,

which up to that influx were mainly small semi-rural

settlements, became important residential areas.26 At the

same time, other refugees from the interior began building,

their houses and shacks on logs and rafts in the river and

anchoring them in the harbor. These eventually constituted

a floating city (cidade flutuante) of tremendous proportions

that continued in existence until the mid 1960's.

The effects of the depression that settled on Nanaus

in 19J., were long and severe. .with the sOas of the rubber

nrocnopo-ly, the regional economy gradually returned to other

native products, -pr:i-.icipally: timber, essence of rosewood,

Brazil nuts, .tri al fibers, and animal skins. It was a

difficult time for the region and the city As one writer

put it, "rubber, changed 1-sanaos from a poor village into a

modern city, Since the boom, it has had a hard struggle,

but it has remained a city."27

With i'w prospects for an economic revival, the

city stagnated and gradually deteriorated. In 1947, a

resident of K:a~us described the changes that took place

during this period,

There has been an increase in the population of the
whole city since the boom, but there has been an
increase in poverty as well. Very few buildi-gs and
residence have been constructed. Travelers who
visited the city twenty or thirty years after the boom
fc~id it :s it was or even worse.28

Tho Gr'--th of a metropolis 1943-1960

The octbrera of World War II and the subsequent loss

of then F.r East u2'ber supply once again focused world

at t.ti on on the. r n:.tural. reserve of rubber lying dor.nt

In the tr-oic forests of The Ar11 '-on alle An ;e;'r.fncy

progr-. .-r:a init: .Iatcd by the Unitcd Sta;,tes to develop and

maintain a ne supply of rubber. The rubber Deve!opicnt

- Corporation, chard with he erp nsibilit' of ra.:iniZang

Scrubber production on a h'rt-ter. basis, w a c gacized by

the Unitied States Go-vermnent and, with Erazil's pern-issicn

ar.d cooperation, installed in Ar.azonia.

A public health organization called SESP (Servico

Es racial de Saudie iblica) was jointly founded by the two

countries at the sane time. The new health organization

performed e.n essential service in the war effort to extract

rubber frrcm Aazcnia. Its primary purpose was to provide

S"medical protection to the producers of strategic raw

materials -the rubber gathers in the Amazon Valley."29

Fort-,nately this program never completely disappeared and

it is still the only organized attempt, h-owever inadequate

it nay be, to provide medical assistance to the interior

i.n';abi;ants of this vast region.

The lazge amounts of foreign capital channeled into

the ocono-ny during the 1940's had a revitalizing

effect upon The increase in commieerce 'a,

by a rnew of immigrants--rubber collectors for the

int4erior- an.d trerchants hoping to turn a. quick profit :in the

city. To f~ iltlLate sC rnsportation to cnsd from, t he city,

3.n a-. ri _sc bs was built on the cu..okir.'.s It later

bec&re th, coL..arcial la"-.dl.n strip Ed" d .helped c.stablisL

inr& as c.nj a. -trannpot't ccntr.

r; co:pai.:. to previous pc-riods of ai f'l.nce, the

prospreo's3 day,-: -,~ th,. 9;40's were rolacively short lived,

A,.te- the ;:wr c: ~-d it ; no longr- necorezary to subsid-i..e

hI;ih-ccst ribbh i:ro4-.;cfion in Afr.cni. other marked

decline in the local rubber industry occurred. This time,

hov:ever, the city's economy did not completely collapse.

An initial period of economic readjustment was followed by

a slow but steady trend toward industrialization.

According to a local economist, there was an accumu-

lation of excess capital during the war--a result of the

very high prices paid for rubber. Following the war this

capital w s invested in new industry--priimarily plants to

process regional products: rubber-washing factories, Brazil

nut processors, saw mills, tanneries, brickyards, and rose-

wood oil distilleries.31 Many of the new industrialists

were foreigners: Portuguese, Englishmen, Jews, and

Brazi-ians from other states. As the new industries survived

the initial skepticism and even prospered, they began to

dispel the widely held belief that "the only thing that can

flourish in !Kanaos is trade. . 32

Plants equipped to handle only the rudimentary

processing of traditional Amazonian exports were soon followed

by completely new industries. In 1951, construction started

on the first factory of a na3cent jute industry--<~ relatively

new: crop in The first :plant; 2Br1si Ju''ta, began

operatting in 19 and w-vas followed by increasir.gly sophisti-

c.ted plants as other industrialists exp: nded into the new


A major novel toward diversificatic:- of the industry

centered in T'c.naus canoe -Jth the const-trcticn of an oil

refinery. A smsll reofinery, initially limited to 5,000

barrels per day, it began processing in 1956, and quickly

became the principal source of petroleum products for

Anazonia.34 The new refinery also established its owner,

I. B. Sabba, in the vanguard of the progressive, new

industrialists of Amazonas.

The new industrial growth of the city was more than

matched by substantial population increases. In 1910, at

the height of the rubber boom, Manaus was estimated to have

50,000 inhabitants. The collapse of the rubber market was

followed by an exodus, of those financially able, from

Manaus and the interior. Thirty years later, even with the

influx of seringueiros from the interior, the city only

numbered 66,854 The economic upturn of the 1940's

renewed tie flow of immigrants and by 1950; the city's

population had expanded to 110,678; ten years later it

totaled 1554, L00.36

The steadily increasing population exerted tremendous

pressures on the c.ty's infrastructure. Virtually untouched

since their installation at the turn of the century, these

facilities quickly became woefully inadequate to meet the

increased demands. Sower lines drained only- the central

core of' the city. The city's water supply floweed through

a jorry-bu.ilt Vstea which pumped river water straight into

the wat~r lines in a futile effort to keen up with the

deman-d. The city's electricity generating plant deteriorated

so badly that the electric street cars had to be discontinued

in the late 1950's due to a chronic lack of power. Privately-

owned generators wore standard equipment in all factories,

shops, and stores which required a constant and reliable

source of electricity. By 1960, the situation was so

desperate that residents in the center of the city were using

candles for illumination at night.37

Contemporary Manaus

Site and Situation

Located eleven kilometers above the juncture of the

Rio Negro and the Solimoes at Latitude 3008'o7"S. and

Longitude 60001'34'3W., Manaus fronts on an enormous bay

in the Rio Hegro. This combination of a good harbor at the

convergence of two major rivers and central location within

Amazonia have been widely acclaimed as the. basis for the

city's development. In the 1850's, Henry Walter Bates

reflected on the ci-y's advantageous location

The situation of the town has many advantages; the
climate is healthy; there are no insect pests; the
soil is fertile and capable of growing all kinds of
tropical iprduce, and it is near the fork of two
great navigable rivers. The imagination bcores
excited when aone reflects on the possible future
of this place, situated near the centre of the
equatorial part of South Ar.erica, in the midst of
a region almost as large as Europe. . .39

One hundred years later a Brazilian geographer,

Aziz Nacib Ab'Sabor, credited KCanaus' development to the

region's exclusive dependence on fluvial transportation and

the city's "absolutely privileged geographic situation."'40

Another explanation for Manaus' emergence as the region's

dominant center, instead of Itatcoatiara, Parintins, or some

other equally endowed location, was put forth by Michel

Rochefort--a French geographer. He attributes the city's

present importance to the "appreciation of its natural

advantages, during the golden era of rubber, when an English

company there installed the only modern port of the region."'4

Form and Internal Structure

Spreading over the rolling terra firms on the left

bank of the Rio Negro, Manaus is well above the annual

inundations that occur in this region. The urban area,

though, is heavily dissected by small tributaries (igarap's)

of the Rio Negro. Some of the smaller igarapes were filled

or covers as the city grew, but for the larger ones, which

are trAnsformed from a small stream in the dry season into

a swollen torrent in the rainy season, such action is

impossible. Even though they are bridged by the city's

principal streets, these igarapes effectively separate the

central core of the city from the outlying neighborhoods

(bairros). These outlying bairros with their difficulty

of access and lack of facilities constitute the favelas of

YIanaus, where the new migrants from the interior build their

thatch huts.

Like every other community in the Amazon Vll.ey,

Vanaus is oriented toward the river. The waterfront and

port facilities are still the terminal point of the city's

life line. Regional products depart from that point while

food and manufactured goods for the city and region enter

there. Lacking an alternate supply line, the central

market place and wholesale business establishments continue

to concentrate near the waterfront. The central business

district extends northward from the wholesale area and is

itself only slightly removed from the port area.

As late as 1966, the waterfront area of Manaus was

the site of a unique neighborhood called the cidade

flutuante. It began in the 1920's, following the collapse

of the rubber boom. Individuals no longer able to support

their families reduced living expenses by constructing houses

on logs floating in the river. From the 1920's onward the

neighborhood continued to grow as new people migrating to

Kanaus followed the example of their prcdece sors. A study

of the "city" in 1964, reported more than 9,000 inhabitants.42

In addition to the residents, the "city" boasted stores:s,

bars, offices, boat repair shops, pharmacies, night clubs,
an ice plant, electricity, piped water and telephone .

Aware of the very real navigational hazard caused by the

continuously expanding "city" and an:zious to eliminate a

s ri-ous sanitation problem and eyesore., the city and state

government and the Captain of the Port of -Tanaus joined to

force its rernoval. By 1968, the ice plant and several

floating service stations were all that remained of a once

active "floating city."

The most desirable residential areas in Manaus are

interspersed with and clustered around the downtown area of

the city and in the adjoining northeastern area. A separate,

exclusive suburb has also developed in Adrianopolis, a

bairro in the more elevated northeastern section of the

city. Two large igarapes parallel the central urban area

on the east and west and effectively separate that part of

the city from the less desirable residential areas on the

opposite side.

In gross numbers, the residences are evenly divided

between the central area and the outer zone across the

igarapes to the east and west. The state Secretary of

Health took a special census in 1967 which enumerated

43,556 houses in the city, with 22,355 (51 per cent) in the

surrounding outer zone. Houses were classified in five

general categories: (1) two-stor.3 tile roof; (2) one-story

tile roof; (3) ono-story, palm-thatched roof; (4) collective--

containing i-ore than one family; and (5) under construction.

The final tabulation listed only 9.2 per cent of the houses

as category one roughlyy equivalent to good housing); 49.6

per cent as one-story tile roof; 37.9 per cent as palm-

thatched houses (very poor housing); 1.6 per cent as

containing more than one fatly; and 1.7 per cent in

construction.'. The outer residential zcon contained 75

per cent of the houses with thatch roofs and only 4.0 per

cent of the one-story tile roof homes.45

Inadequate and insufficient housing is a serious

problem throughout Brazil. In a nationwide effort to

improve living conditions the federal government created

the National Housing Bank (Banco Nacional de Habitac.o)

to help finance low-cost housing. A special company was

organized at the state level to receive national funds and

to have responsibility for their application within the

individual states. In Amazonas COCAB-Ar. (Coroanhia de
Habitas.'o de Amazonas) was formed in 1967 to help alleviate

the generally poor housing conditions that exist in Mianaus

and other urban centers in the state.

The new company undertook as its primary task the

construction of 10,494 low-cost houses in Manaus during the

five-year period 1968-1972. The new houses will be built

in a ntumbe-r of housing projects around the periphery of the

city. Each project is to be about equally divided into

one. two. and three bedroom homes. The houses are very

compact and are crcv-red, barracks style, into small areas

with virtually no yard. The largest hor,'Is, three bedrooms,

ha ve fifty-two square meters of floor s-ace (about 510

square. feet), and the smallest plan encloses thirty-tvwo

square meters (about 314 square feet). As small as they are,

the fac- that they have wator, electricity, sanitary

C> N

L J -
-r U

E g -
o ~b -
0 Z J

facilities, solid walls, and a good roof, makes then a

tremendous improvement over many of the city's existing


The new homes are sold through a twenty-five-year

financing plan with monthly payments of NCr$30 or KCr$35.

Monthly payments are in current prices; if the rate of

inflation is 20 per cent a year, the individual's payments

are automatically increased by that amcunt. Fnailies with

children have first preference in buying these homes.

Families that already own a house elsewhere in the city,

however, are not eligible. To be eligible to buy one of

these low-cost homes, the man of the family cannot be

earning more than three times the minimum salary--which was

NCr$91 at that time.47

Construction of the first project actually began in

1967, and by April of the following year new occupants were

already moving into the 609 houses in the first two completed

projects. Work was well under way on a third project and,

if the momentum can be maintained, there is a distinct

possibility that the original goals may be obtained.

Similar projects scheduled for construction in four interior

citieS, al"tough on a much smaller scale, are rlr-eady in the

planning stages.

At first glance Manaus appears to be expanding in

all directions. New thatch houses sseeingly sprout over-

night in the rural-urban fringe encircling the city as the

flow of migrants deserting the interior continues to augment

Manaus' natural growth rate. A mixture of public and private

landholdings surround the city. Some now residents join

existing groups already renting their homesites; others squat

on public lands or private holdings belonging to absentee

owners. In the latter case, the residents often hope to

occupy the land long enough to establish a legal claim after

fifteen years of occupancy. Some are successful; more often

though, they end up paying rent or being evicted fro.i one

temporary location to another.

In reality, the city is expanding in two directions--

east and west. The Rio Negro obviously prevents expansion

south of the city and the area due north is preerpted by

recreational use, The northern zone is dissected by numerous

small igarape"s which are popular for weekend bathing and

recreation. A portion of the area is devoted to public

facilities, but the majority of it is owned by the various

private social clubs that dominate social life and recreation

in the city. So far, this recreation zone has continued to

be an effective buffer against a northern expansion of the

urban area. Growth to the west of the city is also restricted

by a military zone and public facilities such as the city

water supply line and reservoir. Consequently, urban

expansion in this area is less significant than it is toward

the east.

The northeastern section is experiencing the fastest

growth rate and every indication is that the city will

continue to gr(ow in that direction. West and slightly south

of the city is the airport with the in-between area already

well settled. During the latter part of 1968, a large area

northeast of the airport was designated as an industrial

zone, with the objective of consolidating new industry in

one area instead of throughout the city as is presently the

practice. The proximity to employment offered by the lightly-

populated area between the new industrial zone and the city

makes it a logical area for future urban expansion. New

state and federal construction on the northeastern fringe

of the city is also encouraging development in that direction.

A new center for the stete Secretary of Agriculture was

completed in that area in 1968. Other sites in the same

vicinity are already being prepared for a new University

City and for a new INPA research center. With the river to

the south, a buffer zone on the north, and restrictions to

the west, the only area close to the city with a major growth

potential is the northeast.

The Citls Infrastructure

Msnaua experienced a period of rapid u-rcb-n grcwth

during the 1950's and 1960's. The city's services were

antiquated in the 1950's and, if it did nothing else, the

expansion focused attention on the desperate situation in

the city's utilities, transportation, educational system

and public facilities in general. Viewed collectively,

the deficiencies in the infrastructure appear almost

insurmountable. Improvements are invariably long awaited

and often inadequate and outdated when impleinmntcd. Accom-

plislhments are being achieved through a series of programs,

but they continue to be heavily outweighed by the continuously

increasing demands.

With more than 50 per cent of the city's population

living across the two major igarape's, an acute problem of

accessibility exists. For the inhabitants of the west side

of the city, there is only one bridge across the barrier.

To get to or from that section of the city requires a long

round-about trip. The other six bridges in the city cross

the igarapes on the east side of town. The largest of these,

a metal structure across the garaec dos Educandos, normally

provides access between the downtown area and the airport.

This bridge was declared unsafe two years ago and closed for

repairs--it is yet to reopen. Again, a long out of the way

trip is necessary to get from one of the largest urban areas

of the city to the downtown area. The need for now bridges

to facilitate intraurban transportation ia very real.

Since ste'-cars were discontinued in the early

1950's, due to a shortage of electricity, buses have provided

the bulk of the city's transportation system. The standard

city bus consists of a locally-ccnjtructed wooden body

attached .to a bruck frare--;ith a twenty-five to thirty

passenger seating capacity. Uses are privately owned and

only mini Tally regulated by the city, and drivers are

usually paid on a percentage basis. The result is an

aggressive system where each driver tries to beat his

competitors to the next stop while he overloads his own

vehicle in order to carry every possible passenger. Racing

is the norm and accidents are co-.on. Bus routes and

vehicles are concentrated along the city's major arteries

which connect the larger neighborhoods and the downtown

area. The poorer outlying bairros, which desperately need

the service, are infrequently and irregularly visited--if

at all.

The city's transportation system is complemented by

a considerable number of taxicabs. Most of the taxis are

privately owned Volkswagen sedans with the front passenger

seat removed. The city also regulates taxi fare and

requires that all cabs be metered. As they are everywhere,

taxis in Manaus are concentrated in the downtown area. Taxi

fares are reasonable, except for the tourist arriving at the

airport where, for some inexplicable reason, the meter is

always out of order for the trip into town and the standard

fare is customarily tripled or quadrupled.

The road situation ia n .anaus is slowly but steadily

improving. The local refinery does not produce asphalt, and

stone suitable for road surfacing is a scarce cov-u.odity in

this area. As a consequence, road building materials have

to be shipped in at considerable expense. In the central

part of the city, streets were paved with stone during the

rubber boom days. Kost of these stones came from Europe

as ballast in ships and they were put to good use in Vanaus.

Since then the main streets in the downtown area have been

asphalted, as have the major roads connecting the city to

the airport and other outlying areas, such as Pcnta Negra,

a popular beach on the Rio Negro. Most of the downtown

side streets still retain their original stone paving.

After more than fifty years of use they still provide a

rough, bouncy ride. Away from the center of the city, most

of the sido streets are unpaved; the user is liberally

coated with red dust in the dry season and plenty of red mud

when it rains.

The city's growth rate has continued to frustrate

attempts to install adequate new service facilities or to

expand existing facilities. The crisis with the cityts

ancient steam-driven generators in the 1950s' finally led

to the installation of a new 22,500 kilowatt thermo-electric

generator in 1962. As it w-s originallys planned, the new

generat~o would be able to meet expected demands until some-

time during the mid 1970's, when its capacity would be

increased. The original projection turned cut to be somewhat

optimistic as continuously increasing demand began to over-

take increases in production. In the thraee-year period

ending on December 31. 1967, the city electric company added

4,195 new consumers and increased its sale of kilowatt hours

by 148 per cent.-8 The magnitude of the potential market

still not being serviced was indicated in a study conducted

in 1966, which reported that only 69 per cent of the city

residences had electricity at that time.49

By the end of 1968, the electric company was forced

to initiate a program of modified rationing. Public lighting

in the streets and city parks was shut off in a different

section of the city each evening in order for the company to

meet consumer demands. Plans were also made to purchase and

install another 7,500 kilowatt generator to boost production.

One of the arguments presented in the decision to establish

an industrial zone was that a separate generating plant

would be built for the zone with the single purpose of

supplying industrial needs. By attracting industry to the

industrial zone, the city plant is expected to be able to

meet the continuing demands for electricity--after the new

generator is installed.

The city's sewage system, or rather lack of a system,

has always been a serious problem. At the turn of the

century, when Xanaus really developed, two large igarapes

that cut through the center of the city were drained and

enclosed for use as storm drains. These drains empty into

the Rio Negro directly under the port facilities. The city's

cnly attempt to build a sewage system was foiled in 1911,

when the local populace went on a rampage and burned the

equipment and partially completed works of an English

company with a concession to install and operate such a

sys tem. 50

Following the subsequent departure of the English

company, it became cormrion practice for the residents of the

central part of the city to connect their sewer lines to

the storm drain system. That practice has continued to the

present day. The resulting foul smell which emanates from

the drains at certain locations has caused them to be nick-

named the "wolf's mouth" by the local people. The highly

polluted waters that surround the port facilities are a

secondary result.

At least the residents in the central pa-t of the

city are able to utilize a makeshift sewage system. The

other residents of the city are not so for't.unate. In 1966,

it was reported that 23 per cent of the city residents were

connected to the makeshift systemr; 25 per cent; had septic

tanks, and the remaining 52 per cent utilized other

facilities.51 It is co tovn practice for residents bordering

on the numerous iga.rapes that wind through the city to drain

their raw sewage directly into the open channel. Conse-

quently, the igarapeis arc presently little better than open

sewers. The lack of a sewage system also reu-lts in

pollution of the subterranean water.

Like almost every other facility in the city, the

water system was originally built during the r-ubber boom.

Initially the system was well constructed cid provided for

the filtering and treatment of the river water before it

reached the consumer. In the ensuing years, the system

gradually deteriorated; the filtering and treatment processes

were the first parts to prove inadequate and were bypassed.

For a number of years the water has been pumped from the

Rio Negro, west of the city, into the reservoir and from

there into the city line. The first major modification

of the original system was made in 1950, when SESP substi-

tuted modern electric purips for the original steam-driven

pumps. At the same time SESP laid a trunk line from the

reservoir to the large residential area across the igarape

to the east of the city.52

As the city continued to grow, nsw lines were laid

in a haphazard fashion without benefit of a master plan for

rational expansion, Water, being an absolute necessity, was

made available in new neighborhoods faster than any other

city service. In 1966. 75.2 per cent of the city's

residences had water piped into the house; 15.6 per cent

had shallow ;-.lls; 7.6 per cent drew their water fr-om public
faucets; and 1.6 per cent collected rain water.5

Again, the public facilities were overtaxed by a

growing population. The old lines deteriorated and developed

leaks. In the dry season, when temperatures soar to their

yearly peak, the eyeten cannot keep up with demands and

pressure drops until only a trickle of water is going through.

the lines. During the dry season, it is quite cornmmon for

the water lines to be without pressure day after day.

Pressure builds up during the early hours of the morning,

but it dissipates rapidly after the day begins.

In a determined effort to keep some pressure in the

lines during the summer of 1968, the city water department

sent crews throughout the city with orders to disconnect

any self-installed clandestine connections and those whose

water payments were delinquent. It was a hopeless effort

and, needless to say, the water pressure was not restored.

Whren the pressure is low, water from the subsoil seeps back

into the lines. The contamination resulting from a non-

existent sewage system in turn pollutes the drinking water.>

Replacing the present conglomeration with a modern,

adequate water system is one of the city and state's top

priorities. Accoi-ding to preliminary studies the entire

systeLn will have to be replaced--which is a major undertaking

in such a large city. Indications are that the mid 1970's

are the earliest that the new system cculd be operational.

In marked contrast to the other najor city services,

the telephone company of ,anaus does not date from. the days

of the rubber boom. In 1938: the Para Telephone Company

was granted a thirty-year contract to provide telephone

service in the city. The company originally had a maximumi

installed capacity of 2,000 connections--plus extensions.55

In .967, in a city with more than 200,000 inhabitants, the

Para Telephone Company still maintained a 2,000 line


In 1965, CAMTEL (Cor.panhia Anazonense de Tele-

corunicaq~ es) was formed to replace the existing company

when its contract expired in 1968. The new company commenced

the task of installing a completely new telephone system in

1967. Facilities were installed to provide an initial

capacity for 10,000 connections--with space for expanding

to 20,000 as demand increased. By March of 1968, CAKTEL

had installed 2,000 commercial and 3,600 residential tole-

phones.-' In October of that same year, the company was

already making plans for the acquisition of the additional

equipment necessary for expansion to maximum capacity.

The most adequately handled city service, at the

present time, is the removal and disposal of garbage. The

fact that the city has two systems, a natural system and an

artificial one, is undoubtedly the reason for its remarkably

good record in such an important area of city sanitation.

The artificial system is maaintained by the city government

and consists of a nightly pick up, six nights a week, of all

garbage in the city. It is true that come stretches may be

overlooked two or three nights in a row, especially if they

are in an outlying neighborhood; but the overall record of

the night crew's service is quite good. Manaus also has a

very active natural removal system. The city's large

population of buzzards makes the rounds every morning picking

up any leftovers from the night crew. The buzzards are

always on duty and their constant policing keeps the streets

remarkably clear of refuse during the day.

Public Facilities

A growing population exerts pressures on city

facilities for the living and for the dead. Manaus' main

cemetery, an extensive area in the northern section of the

city, reached its absolute capacity in October of 1968, and

was subsequently closed to further burials, Faced with

another crisis for which it was unprepared, the city govern-

ment arranged a temporary solution while it hurriedly worked

to arrange an adequate new cemetery for the city. In the

meantime, new burials wore directed to two small neighborhood

cemeteries in the outlying bairros on the east and west sides

of the city. It was finally decided to set aside a sufficient

area for a new cemetery on the northeastern fringe of the

city, near the new state Secretary of Agriculture facilities.

One aspect of city development that seems to have

kept pace with the city's growth is the popular practice of

creating new parks (pra .as). The city has a large nur,-bcr of

pracas and, in the pre-television society of IKsnaus, they

still retain their traditional popularity and are heavily

frequented. During the day their shade provides a welcome

respite from the hot equiatorial sun. In the evenings the

pra~as are popular as a cool place to sit and visit, while

observing the night life of the city and waiting for the

houses to cool off. The largest and best maintained pracas

are in the center of the city. One of the most attractive

is the Praca de Saudade in the "better" residential area

just north of the coiriercisl zone. The Praca de Saude, on

the hill at the north end of the central corm-ercial area,

and the Praa Osewaldo Cruz, which surrounds the ":cathedral"
--,- 3-- -- -.
between the downtown area and the port of Manaus, are also

very popular.

The old Opera House, or Amazonas Theater, as it is

now called, continues to function as a public center for

cor~iunity events. The theater has been renovated three times

in the past sixty yeara--ala:ays with the objective of

maintaining it as nearly original as possible. As the site

for touring concerts, theatrical performances, lectures and

public n.cctings of all sorts, the theater has managed to

retain its position as the main public center and primary

attraction of the city--even though it has deteriorated so-e-

what from its former days of elegance.
f^ ^o6\ ^
Although K.:anaus does not have a television station,

it does have nie movie theaters. Four of the theaters are

located downtown while the remaining five are scattered

among the larger bairros. :o-vie-going is a very popular

pastime in Manaus as the long lines of eager patrons clearly

demonstrate each time there is a change in programs. In a

city with a constant high humidity and no refrigerated

cooling in the movie theaters, it takes a hardy breed, or

determined fan, to wait in line for thirty minutes to an

hour, literally push through the other struggling fans to

get inside, and then sit or stand in a super-heated room for

an hour and a half "sweat bath" while reading the subtitles

of a foreign-made movie. The continued popularity of

movies, in view of these conditions, either indicates the

existence of avid movie fans or the non-existence of

alternate forms of entertainment and recreation in the city.

The only recreation which can outdraw a new movie

is a soccer game (futebol). In a country which appears to

have a passion bordering on outright mania for soccer, there

is no substitute or co.:petition for a soccer game. Manaus

has four professional soccer teams competing against eech

other, against teams from neighboring towns, territories,

and states, and against the real professionals from southern

Brazil who occasionally fly to Nanaus for exhibition games.

Consequently, there is a game at least once a week or, more

coonlr.y, one during the week and one on the weekend. With

this groat enthusiasm for soccer, the motivation behind a

recent decision to construct a new soccer stadium,, at a

reputed cost of a quarter of a million dollars, is obvious.

Although the city ;,ay be lacking in other amenities, it w-ill

soon have a soccer stadium worthy of city pride.

Most of the recreation and social life in is

centered around private social clubs. Those clubs are very

popular and range from the formal and exclusive Rio Negro

Club to the all inclusive neighborhood associations in the

poorer bairros. 1ost of these clubs have their own private

recreation areas, with swimming pools and sport fields

where the members relax on weekends. There are also several

public recreation areas in the imri-ediate vicinity of Manaus.

The most popular is Ponta Nepra, a large beach area on the

Rio Negro about eight kilometers from the city. The

Cachoeira de Taruma', a swift running stream with a small

waterfall, is a relaxing site for weekend picnics and parties. Parque 10 de Novembro, a municipal

recreation area north of the city, is well utilized, but

primarily by people who cannot afford to belong to a social


MIedical services in Manaus derive from a combination

of federal, state, and private efforts. Even so, the medical

assistance provided by this combined force is woefully

inadequate for the population it serves. The federal

government operates a tuberculosis sanitarium in the city.

The state of Aiazonas mraintnains: one general hospital (150

beds); a r.atLe-nity hospital (70 beds); a children's hospital

(55 beds); an isolation ward for contagious diseases (20

beds); a mental hospital with 360 patients living in horrible

conditions: and a leprosy colony with 1,300 patients. The

state also supports ten diapensaries scattered throughout

the city. Two private hospitals, with a total of 250 beds,

complete the city's facilities.5

Medical treatment at the state maintained hospitals

and dispensaries is without charge, but conditions and

service are often deficient. Although facilities are

utilized at maximum capacity, they are still unable to cope

with the constantly growing demand. Dispensaries are

customarily the scene of long lines and crowds of people

waiting, sometimes for hours and even occasionally for days,

to receive medical aid, Even for the more serious cases

that are eventually admitted to the state hospitals, the

over-crowded conditions usually result in long periods of

inattention and even superficial treatment. Getulio Vargas,

the state's general hospital, has a reputation for neglect

and poor treatment among many of the city's poorer inhabi-

tants. Iany of these people only turn to the hospital as a

last resort when they are unable to raise the money to pay

for treatment at the private hospitals--both of which are

held in much higher esteem than the state hospitals.

The problem of inadequate medical facilities is

cor:pounded by the almost complete non-existence of similar

services in the interior of the state, Hot only must these

facilities sorve the city's population of over 225,000, but

they also are the focal point for sick and injured people

coming from the interior in search of medical assistance.

The magnitude of the lack of medical assistance in the

interior, and the resulting 'low of patients to Manaus, is

reflected in the shortage of qualified doctors outside of

the capital city. In 1968, there were one hundred. and

twenty-six practicing doctors in the state of Amazonas, of

which one hundred srad thirteen were located in the city of


The concentration of medical doctors in .'anaus has

not resulted in reduced fees for their services. In 1968,

the fee for a consultation with a private doctor seezred

unreasonably high in Manaus. In July of that year the

standard fee, according to signs posted outside m-edical

offices, was NCr$20 a visit--at a time when the minimum

wage was NCr$91 a month. For a great many of the city's

inhabitants, NCr$20 is an exorbitant fee and they are

either forced to endure the long waits at the dispensaries

or rely on the advice of friends, who nay have had what they

think is a. similar illness, or pharmacy owners. Fortunately,

medicine and drugs in Brazil are excellent in quality end

reasonable in price because both are strictly controlled by

the federal governiGent. Any medicine can be purchased

without a prescription and injections are ccr-.ionrly given in

pharmacies. Consequently, a person who cannot afford to go

to a doctor will often go to a pharmacy, describe his illness

to the proprietor, Lad rely on his judgment to prescribe

'"something" to make him feel better.

The educational system in Ianaus is in as dire a

condition as any other system in the city and for the same

general reason--too many people and too few resources.

Ideally a student would progress through a three-stage

program consisting of: primary school; secondary school

or middle level; and superior level (university). The

program is markedly different at the secondary level from

that used in the United States. The secondary program in

Manaus can lead to a terminal degree via separate school

programs emphasizing industrial courses, technical-comnercial

courses, or normal schools for the training of elementary

teachers. The secondary program can also be pre-university

training, if the student attends the gymnasium (college

preparatory school). The ineffectiveness of the educational

system in reaching the population of IManaus was revealed in

a city survey take n in 1966 which reported that 56.9 per

cent of the population had never completed primary school

and only 4o4 per cent of the population had finished

secondary school.59

In 1966, the ninety-two separate priiaary schools

in the city of Manaus had a combined enrollment of 34,365.

Approyximat~ely 12 per cent of these students attended

parochial or private secular schools. At the secondary

level, twenty-six schools (nine public, eleven parochial,

and six private secular schools) attended to the 16,687

secondary students in Yanaus. The University of Amazonas,

a federally maintained university, completed the system with

a total enrollment of slightly more than 1,000 students.60

It is readily apparent to anyone walking through the

streets of Manaus that a considerable number of school age

children are not attending schools. It is also possible to

arrive at a close approximation of the nur-ber of children

receiving no formal education, either as a result of quitting

school after a few years, as is often the case, or from

never having started. The 1960 Census of Brazil listed 32

per cent of the population of i-anaus as being between the

ages of five and seventeen--the years most likely to be

spent in school.6 Assuming that the proportion of the

population in each age group remained approximately the sane,

there were 70,400 school-age children in the city in 1966.

Of these approximately 70,400 children, only .0,0'2 or 71

per cent were enrolled in a primary or secondary school.62

The remaining 29 per cent, some 20,000 children, were without

the bonerit of formal schooling in 1966.

The irrmediate prospects for a better educational

system in Manaus are bleak indeed. In 1968, the city

schools were operating on double sessions with half of the

students attending classes during the morning hours qnd the

other half attending in the afternoon. Classes were also

being held in the evening for secondary students who' worked

during the day. Aside from the fact that there is not

enough classroom space to accommodate the existing school-

age population, the system has other serious deficiencies.

Teachers' salaries are unbelievably low and their working

conditions are generally comparable to the salaries. There

is also some concern among parents and teachers about how

much a child can learn during a four-hour school day in a

seven-and-a-half-month school year.

The Urban Population

Brazil is often pointed out, and justifiably so, as

one of the countries with the fastest growing population in

the world. As a developing country, it characteristically

has a high birth rate and a high mortality rate. The

reduction of the latter has been primarily responsible for

the overall increases in the rate of growth. Between 1950

and 1960 the population of Brazil increased at a rate of

3 per cent a year. o During this same period, the population

of the state of Pnmazonas increased 3.3 per cent a year.61

The city of Manaus has experienced almost three

decades of substantial growth. In the first decade the

population jumped from 66,854 in 1940 to 110,678 in 1950--

a 65.5 per cent increase. At the end of the second enr-year

period, the city recorded a 39.1 per cent increase in

population for a total of 154,040 residents in 1960.65 A

special city census in 1967 enumerated 228,313 inhabitants--

a 48.2 per cent increase in seven years.

The migration from rural to urbsn areas is a world-

wide phenomenon and one that is contributing strongly to

Manaus' continued growth. Unfortunately, it is impossible

to accurately ascertain the proportion of the city's growth

resulting from migration at any given time during the

interim between national censuses. The 1960 Census of

Amazonas listed 60,302 persons as living in a county

(rmunicjpio) other than where they were born, for ten years

or less. In that ten-year period 20,8314 of these people,

34.5 per cent of the state total, !had relocated to the

municlpio of Manaus. It is also noteworthy that 51-. per
cent of the new residents were females.7

One characteristic of the Manaus population that

emerged from the special 1967 census was the relatively

high percentage of females in the city's population. Urban

populations in Brazil are generally characterized by a

higher proportion of females than males. In part, this is

due to the selective nature of migrations to urban areas;

unskilled females, who can w..ork as domestics, are usually

in greater demand than their counterpart--the unskilled

male. In 1960, urban populations in Brazil averaged ninety-

three males for every one hundred females.6 In .anaus,

in 1967, the ratio was eighty males for every one hundred

females, with females constituting 55 2 per cent of the

city population.69

In Manaus' case, the disproportionate number of

females is also partly explained by local economic con-

ditions. A considerable amount of the regional economy is

based on extractive activities--the collecting of forest

products. The economically active males, in the segment of

the population dependent upon collecting for its livelihood,

spend most of the year working in the interior, while the

rest of the family remains in the city. In one of the

poorer neighborhoods of the city, where such families

customarily live, 71.3 per cent of the inhabitants were


The Brazilian population is also characterized by a

high percentage of young people. In 1960, the nation's

urban areas had a population with 48.6 per cent of the

people under twenty years old; nationwide the percentage was

52.9.71 The population of the state of Amazonas exceeded

the national average in both categories. In Amazonas 55.9

per cent of the population in urban areas was less than

twenty years old and for the state as a whole this figure

reached 57.6 per cent.72

The combination of a young population and a high

growth rate in Amazonas can only result in greater pressures

on the already seriously inadequate and overtaxed educational

system. Under such circumstances, it is unlikely that much

progress can be made in reducing the present high rate of

illiteracy. In 1960, 57 per cent of the population over

five years old was illiterate in Amazonas. In view of the

acute shortage of educational facilities in the interior of

the state, it is remarkable that 43 per cent of the popu-

lation was ablo to road and write. Urban areas have a

better record of literacy, even in Amazonas, and Nanaus is

no exception. In the irunicipio of Manaus, which includes

the city and surrounding rural areas, only 31.3 per cent of

the population over five years old was illiterate.73

Unemployment and underemployment are common problems

in a society with a preponderance of young and unskilled

labor. In a survey taken in 1966, the economically active

population of ,anaus, that portion of the population between

the ages of fourteen and sixty-five physically able to work,

totaled 122,71? The youngest age group, fourteen to twenty-

five, accounted for )42,2 per cent of the potential work

force; the oldest group, fifty-five to sixty-five, included

only 6.4 per cent. The results of that survey reported 26.6

per cent of the economically active population of the city

as being unemployed--nainly those in the youngest age group

(21.7 per cent).74 Unfortunately, the study did not attempt

to enurerate the percentage of underemployed which must be

phenomenal. With 143 per cent of the city's population

presently less than fourteen years old and many of them

preparing to enter the already flooded labor market in the

next fow years. ciploymsnt prospects for the future are

certainly not favorable.

The general low level of education and the high

percentage of unskilled workers in the Manaus labor force

are reflected in the average monthly income of employed

workers. In 1966, when the minimum monthly salary was

NCr$61, 17 per cent of those employed were paid less than

the minimum and 63.5 per cent were receiving less than

NCr$100 a month. At the other extreme, 0.4 per cent of

those employed were making NCr$1,000 or more and 3.1 per

cent were averaging between NCr$500 and NCr$1,000.75

The average monthly income is just as disproportionate

when viewed on a family basis. The monthly income of 8.6

per cent of the families in Manaus, at that time, was less

than the minimum salary and no fewer than 38.7 per cent of

the families had average incomes of under NCr$100 a month.

While 67.8 per cent of the families in the city averaged

less than NCr$200 each month, 12.8 per cent exceeded NCr$400

and 1.6 per cent averaged NCr$1,000 or more.76

It is readily apparent in Vsnaus to even the most

casual observer that education, economic well-being,

political power, social position, and all the other amenities

of life are concentrated in the hands of a very small group

of city residents. While this small elite group enjoys the

proverbial "finer things in life," the vast majority of

Manaus' residents are engaged in a daily struggle to house,

feed, and clothe their families and themselves, in a city

where the cost of living is high, salaries are low, and hope

for the future is very slim. The polarization of wealth and

power on one side and misery and neglect on the other con-

tinuo3 to be a very serious social problem in 'Manaus and

elsewhere in Brazil,


1. Moacyr Paixao e Silva, S'bre uama Geo rafia Social da
Amazonia (Manaus: by the author, 1943), p. 27. T(Trans-
lated by this writer.)

2. Ibid.

3. Mario Ypiranga Nonteiro, Fundaco de Manaus (Manaus:
by the author, 1948), pp. 13-14.. (Translated by this

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid., p. 19.

6. Ibid.

7. Sinopse Estatistica do Municipio de aManaus, Estado do
Amazonas THio de Janeiro: Instituto Bras'ilir e
Geogra.ia e Estatistica, 1948), pp. 1-6.

8. Henry Walter Bates, The Naturalist on the River kAnazonas
(London: John Murray, 1892, p. 172.

9. Ibid., p. 173.

10. Franz Keller, The Amazon and Nadeira Rivers (Phila-
delphia, 1875), p.-)~50,~Tni E. Bradford Burns, "Manaus,
1910: Portrait of a Boom Town," Journal of Inter-
American Studies, VII (July, 196), 400.

11. Samuel Benchimol, "Kanaos, The Grcwth of a City in the
Amazon Valley" (unpublished Master's thesis, Miami
University, 1947), p. 37. The older spelling (Manaos)
is no longer in common usage.

12. Ibid., p. 36.

13. Ibid., pp. 38-40.

14. Celso Furtado, The Economic Growth of Erazil1: A Survey
from Colonial to Modern Times, trans. R. .. de Aguiar,
and E. C. Drysdale (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1965), p. 146.

15. Ibid., p. 142.

16. Benchimnol, op. cit., p. 43.

17. Arthur C. Ferreira Reis, 0 Processo Historico da
Econoria Anazonense (Rio de Janeiro: Impronsa Nacional,
1 .U6. (TF. tnslated by this writer.)
18. E. Bradford Burns, "Manaus, 1910: Portrait of a Boom
Town," Jou'nal of Inter-American Studies, VII (July,
1965), 401.

19. Ibid., pp. 405-06.

20. Ibid., p. 419.

21. Ibid., p. 421.

22. Benchimol, op, cit., p. 45.

23. Ibid., p. 53.

24. Furtado, oa cit., pp. 147-48.

25. Benchimol, op. cit., p. 42.

26. Ibid., p. 84.

27. Tbid., p. 5li.

28. Ibid., p. 53.

29. Charles Wagley, Am.zcn Toun, A Study of Man in the
Tropics (NIew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 e7 p* v11

30. Benchicol, op. cit., p. 85.

31. Saul Benchimol, Econoi.rst-Businessman. Porscnal inter-
view in 1anaus, Amazonas, 2 Sept., 1968.

32. Samuel Benchimol, op. cit., pp. 102-03.

33. Saul Benchinol, loc. cit.

34- Julio Souza, Companhia de Petroleo da Amazonia.
Personal interview in ianaus, Amazonas, 6 May, 1968.

35. Brasil: Sinopse Preliminnar de Cnso Demografico, 1960
Tio de Janiro: ervio ac al de Recnsmento,
1962), p. 21. (Hereinafter referred to as Brasil:

36. Ibid.

37. Abdoral Cesar, Businessman. Personal interview in
Kana-us, Amazonas, 6 July, 1968.

38. Anuario Estatistico do Brasil. 1968 (Rio de Janeiro:
Institute Brasileira de Estcatstica, 1968), p. 16.

39. Bates, cp. cit., p. 173.

40. Ariz Nacib Ab'Saber, "A Cidade de Manaus," Boletim
Paulista de Geografia, XV (Oct., 1953), 18-19.

41. Miichol Rochefort, "A Organizagao urbana da Arazonia
Brasileira," BoleItim Carioca de Geografia, XII (1959),

42. Celso L. R. Serra and W. R. Cruz, Aspectos Econ^miios e
Socn is da Cidade Flutuanto (Manaus: Grafica Amazonas,
T9??n, p7 27.

43. Institute Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica
(unpublished infor-mation from the regional office in
iianaus, Amiazonas, 1968).

44. "Situagao Demografica de ianaus" unpublishedd report
prepared by the Servigo de Vigilancia Sanitaria,
Secretaroia de Saude, M1anaus, Amazonas, 1967). (Herein-
after referred to as "Situag'do Demogra&fLica")

45. Ibid.
46. Jose Ioreira, Companhia de Habitaiao de Amazonas.
Personal interview in Manaus, Araazonas, 24 April, 1968.

47. Ibid.

48. "Companhia Elec.trica de Manaus," 0 Jornal, .Manaus,
Amazonas, 3 March, 1968, p. 5.

49. A Cidade de (iManaus: Comissao de Desenvolvimcnto
Econrmico do Estadc do Aimazonas, 1968), p. 40. (Herein-
aftier referred to as A Cidade.)

50. Reivindicacies dc Amazonas a VI Re .ne-o de Governadores
TRio de Janeiro: Grafica Editoria Livro, S.A., 19b1),
p. 7. (Hereinafter referred to as Reiiniicages.)
1. A Cidade, p. 4.

52. Menaaus Agi1 Ralatorio Tecnico Preliminar e Estudo de
Via'il.-da de Econr ii ca- do Sistemia de Abasteciitento da
Aua v (Rio de Janeiro: Guandu Engenheiros Ascoclados,
Ltd., 1967), p. 77.

53. A Cidade, p. 39.
14. Reivindicaj^'es, p. 71.

55. Ibid., p. 276.

56. Jose MIaria ?into, Companhia Amazonense de Tele-
comiCnicac'es. Personal interview in !Manaus, A:iazonas.
6 March,"1968.

57. Antonio Loureiro, assistant Secretary of Health.
Personal interview in Manaus, Amazonas, 22 April, 1968.

58. Ibid.

59. A Cidade, p. 37.

60. "Informies Socio-Economicos," Guia dos Telefones de
M'anaus 1967/1968 (Manaus: Companhia Amazonense de
Telecomunicag'es, 1967), p. iii. (Hereinafter referred
to as "Infornes.")

61. Censo Dorogra'fico de 1960, Acre, Akrazonas, Para (Rio de
Janeiro: Servigo Nacional de Recenseamento, 1967),
Do. 136-39. (Hereinafter referred to as Censo Demo-
grafi co.)

62. "Informes," p. iii.

63. Novo Paisatens do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto
Brasileiro de Geografia, 1968), p. 81.

64. Ibid., p. 199.

65. Brasil: Sinopse, p. 21.

66. "Situa,-o D6.ografica."

67. Censo Demografico, pp. 130-31
68. Novo Paisa-ens do rasil, p. 94.

69. "Situacao Demografica."

70. Ibid.

71. Novo Paisagens do Brasi3, p. 93.

72. Censo Demogra.fico, p. 83,

73. Ibid., p. 136.


74. A Cidade, p. 27.

75. Ibid., p. 29.

76. Ibid.


Rivers: A Natural System

The Anazon then looks to me, properly symbolical,
as a monstrous tree, and its tributaries, paranas,
furos, and igarapes, as the great bough, little
boughs, and twigs of its ascending and spreading
ramifications, so minutely dissecting the continent
with its numberless w.,ater-courses that the mind
sees that dark region as an impenetrable density
of green and secret leaves; which, literally, when
you go there, is what you will find. --H. M.

The rivers that jointly drain the Amazon Basin

constitute an extensive natural system of transport. The

Rio Amazonas-SolimrSes provides over 3,300 kilor.eters of

permanently navigable waterways within Brazilian tcrrixtory

and is the trunk of the syiteom. The upper extent of

navigation on the tributary rivers is determ.1ned by

cataracts and the annual fluctuations of these rivers.

Cataracts at PSrto Velho, some 1.100 kilometers above the

river s mcuth, ar.k ,the upIpermost limits of navigation on

the Rio Madeira. Although the river is trave-sed throughout

the year, a-rge ships can only go as far as Porto Velho when

the river is at flood stage. During periods of low water,

only shallow-draft boats can reach the city. When the Rio

?urus is in flood, boats can go upstream as far as Sena

Yadureira, over 2,900 kilometers.

The northern and southern tributaries of the Rio

Amazonas do not reach their respective flood stages at the

same time. The headwaters of the northern tributaries lie

north of the equator while those of the southern tributaries

are all south of the equator. As a result of the migration

of the Continental Equatorial Mass, the southern portion of

the basin receives the major portion of its rain during the

southern summer, and the northern portion experiences this

effect during the northern summer. Fed by two enormous

river systems which reach their peak flood stage at different

times of the year, the Rio Amazonas maintains a relative

stability--with a much smaller range of fluctuations than if

it were supported by a single system. The annual flooding

of the Rio Amazonas results from the normal overlapping of

the flood waters from the two systems.

Fluctuations in the water level of the Rio Amazonas

ere accurately measurable in the Port of Manaus, eleven

kilometers above the juncture of the Rios Amazonas and Negro.

In the sixty-four years since the port began operating (1903),

the highest flood stage of the river was recorded during the

disastrous flood of 1953, when it reached 29.69 meters above

sea level.3 The lowest level of the rivsr, 13.64 meters, was

measured in November of 1963. Ths maximum recorded range

in fluctuations was 16.05 meters, while the average yearly

range during this period was 10.21 meters. Maximum flood

stage at Manaus is invariably attained in June or July. The

annual low-water mark usually occurs in October or November;

five times in the last sixty-foure years the minimum level

was reached in December.

Amazonia's tropical climate creates special problems

for transportation. Fluctuation in water level either

prmnits or impedes fluvial access to communities located up

river on the innumerable tributaries. High rainfall and the

rapid regrowth of vegetation complicate construction and

maintenance problems for roads and airports in the region.

Unfortunately, reliable meteorological information is still

seriously lacking in Amazonia. M'anaus is one of the few

regional stations adequately equipped and staffed to gather

accurate meteorological data. In the ten-year period 1958-

1967, the imene temperature in Manaus was 27.3C. (81.10.),

relative humidity averaged an uncomfortable 83 per cent. and

yearly precipitation totals averaged 2,142.3 millimeters

(8k4.3 inches). See Figure 4.

In 1900, 'ianaos Harbour Limited, an English firm,

was granted a seventy-year concession to construct and

operate the Port of ianaus. The new pert facilities began

to function in 1903, and quickly became a symbol of the

city's progressive development. To acco modate the harbor's

yearly fluctuations, ranging from six to sixteen meters, the

new company designed a system of floating docks. The docks

were constructed on a series of large stoel drums anchored

in the harbor. The first dock, two hundred and sixty-one



Average Relative Humidity 83%
Source: Regional office of, Instituto Brasileiro de
Geogrofio e Estatistica.

Figure 4

meters long, had three permanent tcers on it. Aerial tram

lines, from the towers on the dock to the warehouses ashore,

transferred cargo back and forth.

The second floating dock, two hundred and fifty-two

meters in length, is firmly attached to shore by a two

hundred and fifty meter floating roadway--making it resemble

a giant floating T. A dual system of railways was originally

laid on the dock, roadway, and into the warehouses. After

the small rail cars were loaded with freight, a system of

cables and winches pulled then up the roadway and into the

warehouses. The grade from the dock, up the roadway, is

very slight during periods of high water, but it becomes

quite steep when the water level reaches its annual low.

The average depth of water at the floating docks is

thirty-five meters, which makes them accessible to large

ships throughout the year. During the low-water period,

from September to March, the docks can accommodate eight

ships at a time. An enormous stone wall iuns 'along the

front of the harbor, facing the floating docks. During the

high-wVater season, f.rom April to August, this wall provides

an additional five hundred meters of a docking space, and

the port can handle thirteen ships at the r<':e time.7

Like most of the city's other facilities, which

originated during the rubber boom years, port equipment

gradually wore out and was not replaced, .odern methods of

cargo handling were .ever introduced, and a gradual

deterioration of the port took place. With their concession

scheduled to expire in 1970, and with no hope of having it

renewed, Manaos Harbour Limited became increasingly reluc-

tant to invest additional funds in the facilities. Instead,

they resorted to a holding action, doing only what was

absolutely necessary to keep the port facilities operating.

In April of 1963, the federal government intervened,

abrogated the original contract and assumed control over

the Port of Mansus. The port is presently under the

direction of the National Department of Ports and Navigable


The new administrators initiated an ambitious program

of reorganization and modernizing of the port facilities,

One of the first improvements was the replacement of the

fixed system of cable cars on the main dock, roadway, and

warehouses with more flexible tractor-drawn trailers. How-

ever, of the original nineteen tractors, five are no longer

operational. The administration is expanding its training

program to reduce the problems of inaCcquately trained


On the second dock, one of the three towers is out

of' order and cannot be repaired because parts are no longer

available. The other two towers are antiquated but con-

tinue to operate until a better system can be employed. A

temporary floating bridge is being used to connect the two

docks, which enables the tractor-trailer system to be used

on both docks. The old wooden-plank surface of the docks

and the road-way was replaced by concrete in 1968, and another

floating roadway, providing a direct connection between the

second dock and the warehouses, was almost completed at that


In 1967, the port owned a total of six forklifts and

palletizing was only possible for a very limited amount of

the cargo entering and leaving the port. Virtually all

freight is still loaded and unloaded by hand in the ware-

houses and on the docks; damage to merchandise is common,

handling and processing is slow, and costs are high. The new

administration is trying to repair and improve existing

warehouses while making plans to expand their storage

capacity. The port presently has fifteen warehouses with a

total of 18,807 square meters of floor space and 95,C93

cubic meters of storage space.9 It does not have any cold

storage warehouses nor any bulk storage facilities for

liquids. The Port of Manaus does have an aggressive,

military administration which is determined to bring it up

to modern standards. In view of the rapid pace of port

improvements in Ianaus, this appears to be a distinct

advantage in a country controlled by the military.

With the installation of modern facilities in 1903,

ianaus acquired the dual role of river and seaport. The

port handles four categories of merchant shipping: (1) long

course (lcnrgo cu-rso) between Brazilian and foreign ports;

(2) large coastal shipping (grande cabotagem) between

Brazilian ports and including ports in the Rio Plata and the

Guianas; (3) small coastal shipping (pequena cabotagem)

between Brazilian ports, with four hundred and sixteen

kilometers as the maximum distance between ports of call, and

no further than thirty-three kilometers from the coast of

Brazil; and (4) interior (interior) in the rivers and lakes

of one or more Brazilian states.10

A number of companies engaged in longo curso and

grande cabotagem shipping maintain office in Manaus. The

most important of these is Booth Brasil, Limited, which

imports and exports to and from Europe and the United States.

The company has twelve ships calling at Manaus on a regular

basis. Six of these ships operate between rAmazonia and the

United States, and one is scheduled to arrive in Manaus

every fifteen days. The other six connect Europe and

Amazonia, with one due to arrive in Nanaus every twenty days.

A second company, Companhia de Navepaco Maritima

Netumar, ships to and from southern Br'asil, Argentina, and

the United States. It has ships arriving in -anaus twice a

month. Lloyd Erasileiro ships between Amazonia and southern

Prasil with stops at all the major ports between Manaus and

Porto Alegre. The Ccmuanhia de Navegacae da Am.azcnia combines

grande cabotagem to southern Brasil and shipping within

A:razonia. Other firms have ships arriving on an irregular

basis and ships with special cargos arrive from all over the

world on an occasional basis. Much to do was made of the

first Turkish ship to dock in Manaus when it arrived in 1968

with a load of cement. The establishment of a seaport at

iManaus was a major development in the evolution of the city,

and it continues to be one of the most important factors

influencing the local economy.

Centrally located in Amazonia and accessible to large

ocean-going vessels, Manaus functions as a break of bulk

point for shipments arriving by freighter. These goods are

redistributed to smaller, shallow-draft vessels for delivery

into the interior---via the natural waterways. On their

return trip, these smaller vessels carry regional products

from the interior to Manaus; from there they are exported to

southern Brazil and foreign countries. The variety of vessels

engaged in this interior and peqi.ena cabotagem is almost

unbelievable. Some of the more common ones are: vaticanos,

800 to 1,000 ton ships with three decks and ample cargo and

passenger space; gaiolas, between 200 and 500 tons with two

decks; ch-tinhos (paddle .-heclers), 80 to 100 tons, shallow

draft and two decks; lanchoes, a small version of the

gaiolas; lanchas, generally less than 20 tons--these are the

real load carriers, carrying passengers and cargo to every

corner of the region; and motors, very small boats, mainly

for personal use, propelled by a small motor.11 The vaticanos

and gaiclas, due to their deeper draft, can only go into the

upper reaches of the major rivers in flood season. The

shallow-draft chatinhios and lanchas, however, are relatively

unrestricted by low water.

The largest shipping line with operations exclusively

in Amazonia is ENASA (Err.presa de NaveaCao da Amazornia,

S.A.). The company has shipping lines originating from

Eelem and M4anaus. Eight of their ships are based in Manaus

and the company provides more or less regular passenger and

cargo service to: Rio Branco--once or twice a month,

depending on cargo; Rios Solim.'es, Japura, Ig', and Javari,

a combined route requiring approximately forty-five days;

and to the Ric Purus--depending on cargo. Service on the

Rio Madeira originates in Bslem with Manaus as a port of

call on the twice monthly trip to PSrto Velho. Service is

best and most frequent along the Rio Anazonas, where the

rrajority of the regionIs population is located.

A countless number of small, privately-owned boats

also ply the river trade. Some operate regular lines

carrying passengers and cargo between iManaus and communities

located on the upper and lower Rio Amazonas. Others alter-

nate, with the high water, be-tween the upper reaches of the

northern and southern tributaries. It is only during these

periods of high water that boats can get supplies into

communities located on the headwaters of these tributaries.

They return loaded with local products--destined for the

markets in Manaus.

The complex interrelations between imports, exports,
supplies to the interior, and production from the
interior, all dependent on the water level in one
way or another, form a delicate balance.12

The distances involved in some of these supply lines

are astronomical. One of the longest lines from Manaus,

when the water is sufficiently high, is up the Rio Jurua to

Cruzeiro do Sul, a community on the border of Acre and

Amazonas, a distance of 3,991 kilometers--one wayj Only

slightly shorter is the route, via the Rio Purus, to

Erasileia, Acre, some 3,211 kilometers.13 Fluvial trans-

portation is an inexpensive means of transporting bulky and

lou-value products; it is also a slow system of transport.

The trip by boat from Manaus to Eirunepe, on the Rio Jurua,

3,192 kilometers distant, requires nineteen days and ten

hours to get there and eleven days and twenty-one hours to

return. A less extreme exaTmple is the time required to go

by regular boat from MIanaus to Parintins, some 4L7 kilometers

down the Rio Am-szonas. It still takes two days and ten

hours to get there and three days to return.14 Traveling

by boat within Amazonia requires a considerable amount of

waiting, due to the irregular schedule of boats, and an

infinite amount of patience once on board the slow-moving,

frequ n t- a topping vessels.

The vastness of Amazonia, the difficulties involved

in penetrating the natural vegetation, and the existence of

an extensive natural waterway, all combine to force an


almost absolute reliance on fluvial transportation. This

natural system of transportation lies on an east-west axis

which extends across the northern portion of an enormous

country spread out along a north-south axis. This exclusive

dependence on the existing river network as the only system

of transportation has resulted in regional isolation of

Amazonia from the rest of Brazil; and it has certainly been

a contributing factor to the maintenance of a colonial

economy in Amazonia.

Air Transportation: An Integrating Force

Commercial air transportation to Amazonas commenced

in 1933. In that year Fanair do Brasil initiated regular

flights between Bele'm and Manaus with intermediate stops.15

With landing strips nonexistent in interior Amazonia, Panair

employed amphibious airplanes to provide service in the

region. These amphibious crafts utilized the extensive

river system for landing strips; thereby enabling the

company to initiate commercial service, without being

burdened by the expense of constructing or maintaining

regular airfields.

Panair eventually extended amphibious service to all

of the larger communities in Amazonia. In 3958, six lines

originating in Manaus regularly serviced Western .Amazcnia.

The flights, with stops at the larger intervening cormiunities,

went from MKanaus to: (1) Belcm; (2) Iquitos, Peru; (3) the

upper Rio Negro region; (4) Porto Velho; (5) Rio Branco; and

(6) Cruzeiro do Sul.16 Amphibious airplanes were an ideal

solution to early air transportation problems in Amazonia.

Interior communities were all located on rivers or lakes,

which provided a natural medium for la.nding. Although

these planes have a limited carrying capacity, this limitation

presented few problems in the early days of air transportation

in Amazonia.

In 1945, a second company, Cruzeiro do Sul, inaugurated

a commercial line connecting Manaus to Rio de Janeiro and

SVo Paulo, via PSrto Velho. Two years later, the company

extended service to Boa Vista. Capitalizing on the landing

strip constructed in Manaus during World War II, Cruzeiro

do Sul operated conventional airplanes, mainly DC-3's, capable

of landing and taking off from short, relatively unimproved

landing strips. These planes are capable of carrying a

larger payload, both passenger and cargo, than the amphibious

crafts. Their use. was initially restricted, however, by the

number of landing strips in the region.

In 1965, Panai: do Brasil, confronted with a severe

financial crisis, closed its doors and went out of business.

Three Catalinas (ar-nhibious planes) were still flying an

average of seven hundred and fifty hours per month from

Manau3 io the interior when the corrpany went bankrupt. These

World War II vintage planes were constantly plagued with

breakdowns. .Whlen Panair ceased operations, Cruzeiro do Sul

assumed the defunct company's routes. The federal govern-

ment required that Cruzeiro do Sul maintain all existing

service lines in Amazonia, even though the planes were out-

dated and uneconomical to operate. Cruzeiro do Sul began

actively substituting DC-3's for Catalinas, by using new

landing strips, and reduced the amphibious crafts to two

hundred and fifty hours per month. In October, 1968, one of

the two remaining crafts crashed while attempting to land

on an interior river in Amazonas. The crash killed four

passengers, destroyed the plane, and marked the end of

commercial amphibious air service in Amazonia--after thirty-

five years of valuable service.17

The Manaus airport, Ponta Pelada, is the only one

in the state of .Aazonas with a paved runway. The others

are unimproved strips, cleared from the surrounding forest

and leveled. During the rainy season, some of these strips,

such as the new ones at Tefe' and Kaues, become quagmires of

red earth, and planes are unable to land for weeks at a time.

The only other paved runway in Western Amazonia is the

recently paved one at Boa Vista. Only a portion of the Rio

Branco airport is paved, with locally-manufactured bricks,

and Porto Velho still relies on an unimproved strip. A

specially created federal commission, COMARA (Comiss7 o Para

Aercportos no Aazonia), is working to open up new landing

strips in Amazonia. Weather permitting, regular flights are

now servicing twenty-four landing strips in W:estern Amazonia

and the number is increasing every year. See Figure 5.

The runway at the Kanaus airport was enlarged in

1953, to its present size, 2,000 meters long and forty-five

meters wide. Terminal facilities were improved at the saxe

time, and it was designated an international airport. At

present, the largest airplanes the airport can accommodate

are medium size coi cercial jet aircrafts.8 The runway is

not long enough to handle the larger jets such as DC-8's.

Plans are completed to lengthen the runway an additional

one thousand meters, which is the maximum extension possible

due to the local topography. There is also some discussion

about eventual construction of a new international airport

in a more convenient nearby location. So far it has not

advanced beyond the discussion stage.

Five airline companies, Avianca, Varig, Vasp,

Paraense, and Cruzeiro do Sul, provide a variety of inter-

nnationala tional, and regional coiLmmercial air service to

the inhabitants of 1Jsanaus. Avianca, Varig, and Cruzeiro do

Sul all have international flights, Avianca, a Colombian

airlines, has a rourd--trip flight, once a week bet-ween

Bogota and with a stop in Leticia. Varig Airlines

connects I'anaus uith Caracas and IiiaEmi on its weekly round

trip between Rio de Juaeiro and Miami. Cruzeiro do Sul

flies once a week from ;anaus to Georgetown, Guyana and back,

via Boa Vista.


v~ N't~ZELA


"/ Eiruneoe
--- Cru ze a r j
do SuI1I?.E -
Torouacu i'a

\r eo
4 Sena Moadire.ra.

SRio Broncoo




Ccmr.r.erciol ir t'erv.ce .'
Normal Shipping Limits '
Existing Roads
Roads Under Construction
.- It. .C. .C.C. O. ? I.

Figure 5


With the exception of Avis.nca, all of the airlines

have national flights connecting Manaus to southern Brazil

and/or the Northeast. Paraense links Manaus to Belem and

to Cuiaba, Mato Grosso. Varig, Cruzeiro do Sul, and Vasp

all provide flights to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. They

offer either direct flights between Manaus and southern

Brasil, via Brasilia, or indirectly through Belem. Commercial

air service between Manaus and southern Brazil is excellent.

Several flights are available every day and there are a

variety of planes and prices for these flights.

The continuous inflation in Brazil requires frequent

price adjustments and air fares are no exception. In March,

1968, air fares increased 10 per cent in Brazil. At the

saie time a new airport tax of NCr$3 for domestic flights

and NCr$10 for international flights was initiated. The

avowed purpose of the new tax is to maintain and improve

existing airport f.aclities. In December, 1968, an

additional 22 per cent fare increase on all domestic flights

was authorized by the government. Briazilians are inured to

constant pricc increase, even for airline fares, and, on

the whole, accept them stoically.

Within A:a-scnia, Cruzeiro do Sul dominates commercial

air service. A list of weekly round-trip flights ori-inating

in 'lanaus, and their frequency, reflects the company's

coverage of the region. From Manaus, conventional planes

carry passengers and cergo to and from: (1) the upper Rio

Negro region--l; (2) the upper Rio Amazonas to Leticia--l;

(3) the upper Rio Anazonas to Cruzeiro do Sul--l; (4) Boa

Vista--3; ($) the lower Rio Amazonas--5; (6) Porto Velho--7;

and (7) Rio Branco--a continuation of the Porto Velho


The Cruzeiro do Sul operation in Amazonia is heavily

subsidized by the federal government under a program

entitled the National Integration Network (Rede Integrao

National). The federal government, which controls air fares,

keeps passenger transportation prices artificially low in

Amazonia to help facilitate transportation in the area. The

cost of maintaining the interior landing strips, private

radio communications, and personnel in each community with

an airfield is excessive. Even with the federal subsidy,

the Cruzeiro do Sul company loses money on its Amazonian


Cruzeiro do Sul does not fly any regular cargo flights

in the region; instead it combines cargo and passengers on

the same flight. Paraense, a relatively new company,

started as an Amazonian cargo carrier and has now expanded

to include passenger service. It is expanding its service

in the area and increasingly competing with Cruzeiro do Sul

for the regional traffic.

Since Cruzeiro do Sul assumed Panair's old routes,

the new company has worked for complete substitution of

DC-3's for the antiquated Catalinas. The goal was officially

achieved in October, 1968, when comr-ercial flights were

perm-anently suspended for the remaining amphibious plane.

The DC-3's have been a real work borse in the air trans-

portation system in Amazonia; but, like the Catalinas they

replaced, they too are now showing their age. Cruzeiro do

Sul, and some of the other companies, are now substituting

new turboprop planes for the aging DC-3's. In November,

1968, two new Japanese-made turboprops had already replaced

the DC-3's on the Boa Vista flights and on most of the

flights between Manaus and Belem. Turboprops were scheduled

to start on the heavily trafficked Manaus to Porto Velho-

Rio Branco line by the first of 1969.

The turboprops are much faster than the older DC-3's

and can carry more than twice the payload. Unfortunately,

for the local residents, the introduction of the neoer

planes has been accompanied by higher fares and often by

reduced service. The new planes can carry twice as many

passengers as the old ones, so the number of flights per

week are often reduced. The new aircraft are not quite as

adaptable as the DC-3's and cannot use some of the more

precarious landing strips. The result for such communities

a s' aues and Parintins, whcse Inadequate landing strips are

on the new turboprop routes, is a reduction in total service.

Flights by DC-3's have been reduced to once a week to keep

from duplicating the turboprop flights which are servicing

the same line, but are unable to land in these communities.

As the needed modernization of airline fleets continues,

a corresponding improvement in existing fields becomes ever

more urgent.

As the increase in airlines indicates, Manaus has

experienced a marked increase in commercial air traffic in

recent years. In May, 1955, the airport recorded 228

airplanes, landing or taking off, 2,351 passengers and

149,229 kilos of cargo.21 Thirteen years later, May, 1968,

the airport processed 676 airplanes, landings or take offs,

9,316 passengers, and 246,660 kilos of cargo.22 Recent
increases in passenger traffic have continued to be

impressive. In 1964, 40,803 passengers embarked from Manaus

while 41,547 disembarked. Four years later, 1967, embarking

passengers totaled 53,552, and disembarking passengers

reached 52,949.23

There was not, however, a corresponding increase in

cargo handled by the Manaus airport during these same four

years. In 1964, the airport received 1,934,942 kilos of

cargo and shipped 1,348,469 kilos. The figures, for 1967,

show a decline to 1,780,433 kilos received and 686,873 kilos

shipped.2 When the figures are available for 1968, they

should indicate a considerable increase in incoming air

cargo. A 'tremendous saount of air freight was arriving in

Manaus, during 1968, to supply the new Zona Franca.

Reliable statistical data concerning the origin

and/or destination of air cargo and passengers arriving at

or departing from the Manaus airport are nonexistent.

Published information shows only the yearly totals of

passengers and cargo. However, each flight that arrives

at or departs from the local airport is required to file a

flight bill listing the flight origin, destination, the

number of passengers, and the amount of cargo loaded or

unloaded in Manaus. A sample of these flight bills was

taken for 1966 and 1967 in order to better ascertain the

main flow lines of passengers and cargo into and out of the

Manaus airport. Traffic for 1967 was the primary concern,

although 1966 was included in the sample for comparative

purposes. A clustered sample was used, with a 100 per cent

survey of three randomly selected months from each year.

The sample of 1967 flight bills revealed a high

concentration, 96 per cent, of arriving cargo originating

in six Brasilian cities. In their order of importance the

cities were: (1) Bel-m, which accounted for 64 per cent

of the total incoming cargo; (2) Rio de Janeiro; (3) Rio

Branco; (4) Cuiab:- ($) Sao Paulo; and (6) Fortaleza. With

one exception, Recife in place of Fortalcza, the same six

cities, with some variations in rank, accounted for 87 per

cent of the cargo arriving in Manaus in 1966. A similar

concentration, 88 per cent, was observed in air cargo

departing from Manaus in 1967. The ostensible destination

of cargo, in rank order, was (1) Rio Branco, 25 per cent;

(2) Belem; (3) Sao Paulo; (4) Rio de Janeiro; (5) Boa Vista;

and (6) Fortaleza.25

A concentration of origins for passengers arriving

in the Manaus airport was also evident in the sample,

although to a lesser degree than for air cargo. Six cities--

Rio de Janeiro, Belem, Rio Branco, Boa Vista, Sa'o Paulo,

and Fortaleza--accounted for 79 per cent of the arriving

passengers. The same six cities, with only one variation

in order, Rio Branco second instead of third, were the

apparent destinations for 78 per cent of the passengers

embarking at Manaus.26

An analysis of the flight bill sample also furnished

some insights into Manaus' function as a center for

ccrmrercial air transportation within Western Am&.zonia. The

extent to which the inhabitants of Western Amazcnia utilize

and benefit from the air service reflects on the nature of

air transportation and its value in this underdeveloped

region. Only 10 per cent of the air cargo arriving in

Manaus in 1967 originated in Western Amazonia. With the

exception of wild animal skins, live tropical fish, and

rosewood oil, few regional products have a sufficiently

high value to justify being shipped by air.

Western Amazonia was the destination of 38 per cent

of the air cargo shipped from Manaus in 1967. Medicinal

products, destined for interior communities, constituted a.

considerable portion of this cargo. Other high value

products that are often air shipped include replacement

machine par-s, tobacco, liquor, perfumes, and cosmetics.

Acre is an exceptional case in Amazonia; it has to depend

on air transport for its imported food supply for a part

of each year. When the local rivers are at their lowest

level, Acre is virtually isolated from the rest of Western

Amazonia. Lacking overland connections, the state has to

rely on airplanes to supply it with fresh food during this

time of year. Most of the food is flown from nearby Porto

Velho, where it now arrives by truck. Irregular shipments

of fresh fish and other food items are also flown in from

Manaus. Even such low-value items as raw onions were

observed arriving in Rio Branco by airplane in 1968. Need-

less to say, the cost of food in Rio Branco is exceedingly

high, probably the highest in Brazil.

In contrast to its cargo traffic, air passenger

service within Western Amazonia constitutes a substantial

percentage of Manaus' total passenger service. Approxi-

mately 42 per cent of the passengers arriving at the K.anaus

airport in 1967 ori-inated their flight in Western Amazonia.

Departing passengers, destined for Western Amazonia,

accounted for L.6 per cent of the yearly total.2 If the

reduction in travel time is considered, and in view of th3

slowness of boat travel in Amazonia it must be, commercial

airlines provide the fastest, most frequent, and least

expensive means of traveling from one location to another

within Amazonia.

The continued growth of commercial air transportation

in Amazonia has exercised a tremendous influence on the

region during the last twenty-five years. Its attraction as

an alternative to complete reliance on fluvial transportation

is obvious. For the larger communities in the interior,

regular air service provides a link between that community

and the rest of Brazil, thereby reducing the previously

existing feeling of complete isolation. With the excellent

air service now linking Manaus to the other major urban

centers in Brazil, politicians, public servants, and private

businessmen can, and often do, journey to Brasilia, Rio de

Janeiro, and S'o Paulo on business and return within a few


Despite its many advantages, air transportation has

some obvious disadvantages. The high cost involved prohibits

air cargo shipping for nost regional products. In view of

Amazonia's general underdeveloped condition, commercial

air transport in the region will continue to concentrate on

providing passenger service. By nature, air traffic is

restricted to isolated locations. The vast empty regions

between ports of call feel no influence frorn the airplan-es

flying high overhead. Although commercial air service is

integrating Amezonia, it is not occupying it, Sustained

regional development will require both.

Highway Transportation: An Occuiying Force

For centuries the Am azonian selva has been an

effective barrier to overland transportation in Brazil. With

adequate space for population expansion already existing in

southern Brazil, the need for opening roads into the northern

selva never developed. Amazonia's continued physical

isolation fostered a relationship with southern Brazil which

differed little from that of an overseas colony and the

mother country. Only in the last twenty-five years has a

real change in attitude toward imazonia been discernible.

This new Brazilian interest in the northern region is

founded more on political consideration than economic reality.

The Brazilian government is determined that the

Amazon Basin, one of the few remaining habitable areas in

a world beset by a rapidly increasing population, shall

remain Brazilian. Fully aware that political boundaries are

relatively meaningless in an unoccupied expanse, the country

has mounted a carrpaign to integrate Amazonia into the

national framework. Physical occupation, which will make

the country's effective national territory coincide with

its present political boundaries, is the long range goal.

Improved transportation and the elimination of physical

isolation are shcrt-terr solutions and necessary prerequi-

sites for eventual colonization and economic development.

The opening of the Bele'r-Brasilia road in 1960 was -

the first dramatic accomplishment in the new campaign.

When the official caravan drove from Belem to Brasilia that

year, "the pioneer road was narrow, it had excessive curves

and grades, and during the rains, it channeled the torrential

waters."28 In accordance with the prevailing weather, the

2,164 kilometers in BR-14, as the new road was designated,

alternated between dry choking red dust and great stretches

of deep impassible mud.29 Despite the problems of transit,

the road was the first real land connection to southern

Brazil and it symbolized the new national interest in


Once the initial route was open, continuing main-

tenance and improvements were required to keep it open.

Grades were reduced, curves were straightened, and permanent

bridges were constructed. Finally in 1964, the Bele`-

Brasilia Highway was being maintained, at least in possible

condition, on a year-round basis. Before the opening of

TR-14, the minimum tire required for merchandise to arrive

in Beleni front southern Brazil was one month; longer delays

were conL,,on. By truck, even over this roug-h dirt road,

goods regularly began arriving from S o Paulo and Rib de

Janeiro in one week to ten days. This new, faster connection

to the south had a considerable impact on commercial life

in Belem.

An alternative to long delays and cargo damage,

resulting from numerous shipping changes and frequent

handling, became a reality with the faster, door-to-door

service available via the new Belem-Brasilia road.

Entrepreneurs of every type were quick to see the possi-

bilities and to take advantage of them. In 1967, just

three years after it opened to year-round traffic, 91,430
tons of cargo arrived in Para over the new highway. Those

91,000 tons accounted for 23 per cent of all freight

imported into the state in 1967. The state of Sao Paulo

was the most important source of overland freight arriving

in Para, accounting for 44 per cent. It was followed by

Goias, with 18 per cent, and the state of Guanabara, with

14 per cent."

Overland exports from the state of Para, totaled

49,942 tons in 1967, about half the volume of imports. The

state of Sao Paulo was the single most important destination

for goods leaving Para. It received 37 per cent of all the

overland exports. Goias, the destination of 32 per cent of

the freight, waa a close second. The reminder was well

dispersed throughout the rest of Brazil south of Amazonia,32

In interstate shipments alone, the new Belem-

Brasilia Highway carried 134,372 tons of cargo in 1967.

Although data on intrastate shipments were not available,

the improved mobility which accompanied the new road has

been an obvious boon to the three states involved. The

highway crosses the eastern corner of Para, the most

heavily populated area within the state; the western tip

of Maranhao; and it runs almost the entire length of the

state of Goia-. Equally impressive is the occupation

taking place along the road. Formerly isolated settlements

have sprung to life after being incorporated into the over-

land route and numerous new settlements have appeared since

the road was first opened.

Two Brazilian geographers, Orlando Valverde and

Catharina Vergolino Dias, coauthored A Rodovia Belem-

Brasilia, which appeared in 1967.33 Their excellent work

provides a detailed description of the road's 2,164

kilometers: the physical environment, settlement patterns,

and economic activity. It accurately portrays the initial

development resulting from the opening of this first road

between Amazonia and southern Brazil, and, as such, is a

valuable addition to the existing literature.

The partially completed Brasilia-Acre Highway is

having a similar effect on the territory of Rcndonia. The

1,520 kilometer stretch between Cuiaba and FPrto Velho was

first opened in 1963. In its initial stage the road was

only possible during the dry sltuer period--thr:ee months at

best. Near the end of 196', the Fifth Batallion of Con-

struction Engineers, a military detachment, was given the

responsibility of maintaining the Cuiaba/ to Prto Velho

stretch while completing the road through Acre to the border

of Peru. Eventually the road is to link up in Pucalpa, Peru,

to form one segment of the Pan American Highway.34

By the end of 1966, the Cuiaba/ to Pcrto Velho

portion of the road .as permanently opened to year-round

traffic. The new road had an immediate effect on commerce

in the territory of Rcndonia, as its predecessor the Belem-

Brasilia Highway had effected commerce in Para'. In 196',

while the road was onlj possible during the suriler months,

the territory of Rondonia exported 7,880 tons of regional

products by cabotagem and 1,191 tons by truck over the new

road.35 Two years later, when the road south was open all

year, the territory exported 3,646 tons by cabotagem versus

5,474 tons by road.36

The ,mode of transportation for imported goods has

been similarly a..ected. The total cost of transport from

southern Brazil to or-to Velho is reported to be slightly

higher by truck than by ship. Most merchants believe the

higher costs are offset by the added savings resulting from

a reduction in damaged and spoiled merchandise--which was

too often the condition in which much of the goods arrived

by cabotagem. The saving in time is even more dramatic.

The standard delivery period for merchandise departing from

southern Brazil for ?"rto Velho, by cabotagem, is two to

three months. During the dry season shipping is precarious

on the tributary rivers and longer delays are very common.

In contrast, an order can be given to a trucker leaving

Porto Velho for Sso Paulo and delivery of goods is normally

made in two weeks. One of the most obvious advantages of

the traffic by road has been the reduction of shortages in

Porto Velho. Periodic shortages of merchandise was a

serious problem when the city was dependent on cabotagem

for all its merchandise and it is a problem which still

haunts Manaus.

Most of the overland freight is carried by Brazilian

made, diesel powered trucks, with a six to seven ton carrying

capacity. The trucks haul in live cattle from Cuiaba/, Mato

Grosso, and manufactured goods and food products from Sao

Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. On return trips they haul out

regional products: bales of processed rubber destined for

Sao Paulo and cassiterite for Volta Redonda and other

smelters in southern Brazil.

Cassiterite was first discovered in Rondonia in

1956, and since then production has increased from less than

100 tons in 1908 to 2,400 tons in 1967.37 Placer miners

(arimpeircas) still account for about 8. per cent of the

total cassiterite production in the territory. Interestingly

enough, before the new road was improved in 1966, most of

the cassiterite from Rondonia, the only major producer in

Brazil, vas being flown out by airplane at a cost ten times

higher per kilogram than it costs to ship it by truck.38

The Fifth Batallion of Construction Engineers is

now working on the road between P/rto Velho and Rio Branco,

Acre. The first stretch of this road parallels the old

1:adeira-ramnores Railroad which came into being as a result

of the Treaty of Petropolis in 1903.39 When the road from

Porto Velho to Guajara-':iriim is completed, sometime in 1969,

the old railroad will no longer be maintained. The railroad

equipment is ancient and maintenance costs are prohibitive;

wood-burning locomotives are still pulling the trains. The

Bolivian government, one of the signers of the treaty, will

only agree to the railroad being closed after a permanent

road is constructed to replace it.

An old road exists between Rio Branco and Abuia,

a small community on the Vadeira-M-amores Railroad. Eventu-

ally it will be improved to an all-weather road connecting

Rio Branco to Forto Velho. For the present, the army

engineers are making it passable during the summer months.

The road was opened in 1967, from the first of August until

November l1, and was traveled by a total of 40L5 vehicles

transporting 1:370 tons of cargo between Abuna and Rio

Branco.4 Trainsportation in Acre remains very precar-ious

and the new perm,:rnent road connecting that state to Prto

Velho and souther-n Brazil is eagerly awaited.

The state of APcia2onas has an official total of

576,6 'ilometers of roadway, of which only ninety-two

kilometers are paved. Almost half of the state's total

mileage is in the two hundred and eighty-six kilometer road

between M.'naus and Itacoatiara.41 Although it was first

starteJd in 1955, the road was nc.t corm-olced until 1965.

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