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Manaus facts and history in brief

Brazil facts & history in brief

Manaus is a major city in north-west Brazil, on the Rio Negro, ten kilometres upstream from its confluence with the Rio Solimoes, beyond where the mighty river becomes known as the Rio Amazonas.
One of the world's mightiest river.
Manaus also the capital of the state of Amazonas and the principal commercial centre of the upper Amazon region, with more than half the state's 3 million people living there.
The city is a major international (free) port although 1,600 km. (1,000 miles) from the sea.
It is an interesting, busy place where many excursions can be arranged for exploring the Amazonas far beyond.
In 1669 the Portuguese built a fort here and became a major stopover and supply base for the Amazon basin.
In the 19th century became the major centre of the rubber boom.
During this boom the population expanded, many people became very rich and the opulent and famous famous opera house was built towards the end of the wild-rubber 'boom', in 1896.
Ocean going steamships brought luxuries to the city and left laden with the rubber latex.
The rubber boom ended in the early 20th century, due to cheaper Asian and later to synthetic latex and the city declined.
Manaus was revived in 1967, when it became a free trade zone.
New roads, factories were built.
Rapid population growth the expansion of the tourist industry followed.

Our guide 'Jumbo" was a jovial 'welllll-built' fellow, who's agility often surprised us.
We were assured to see lot of 'wildlife', such as crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas, birds and piranhas. As you've probably guessed, it wasn't the day or we weren't the people to see a lot of 'wildlife', although it wasn't for a lack of trying.
We did catch some piranhas.
Jumbo and our boatman did spend three hours after sunset showing their torches around looking for the shining eyes of the crocks in the pitch dark jungle. Of course no one told the crocks, that we were looking for them, or they were pre-warned of our coming and just didn't want to be seen by us.
We did enjoy our trip in the Amazon 'jungle'.
We did see the confluence of the two great rivers and the remarkable different colours of the rivers, which takes ten kilometres to mix and merge completely.
Jumbo agreed to a very reasonable price for the tour, but in the end got even with us.
Coming ashore after our tour, he hailed a taxi to the Airport and made us pay half the fare.
A bit disappointing, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable day.

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