Historical Relation of a hidden and great city of ancient date, without inhabitants, that was discovered in the year 1753.
Almost 300 years ago some Portuguese/Brazilian adventurers called bandeirantes came upon the ruins of a great stone city in the jungles of eastern Brazil. They survived to retell their story which ended up in a manuscript in the Brazilian National Library in Rio de Janeiro. This manuscript is steeped in many mysteries and was one of the driving motivators for Percy Fawcett to explore within the Amazon until he vanished.
Richard Burton was the first to translate the manuscript in his book "The Highlands of Brazil" (Volume 2). This rare and unusual document is available in both English and Portuguese below.
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Notwithstanding the dating of 1753, it is estimated that the writing is actually eighteenth-century for certain aspects reported. Its discovery and notion of relevance, however, only occurred in 1839. In a somewhat ironic way with regard to the importance of the document, and still in order to reinforce all the myth surrounding the object, document 512 was found at random, forgotten in the collection of the court library (then name of the National Library).
The manuscript, very old, and already deteriorated by time, was discovered by Manuel Ferreira Lagos , and later delivered to the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute (IHGB); it was in the hands of one of the founders of the institute that the deed had its real value recognized and divulged: after reading the canopy Januario da Cunha Barbosa published a full copy of the manuscript in the Revista do Instituto Historico e Geografico Brasileiro , with the addition of a preface in which outlined a connection between the subject of the document and the saga of Roberio Dias (son of Belchior Dias Moreia ), a man imprisoned by the Portuguese crown for refusing to make any disclosures about precious metal mines in Bahia.
In a context of the search for national identity and valuation of Brazilian attributes, the document has gained an increasing focus and focus over the years, both by adventurers, intellectuals and religious, and even the emperor Dom Pedro II himself. The so investigated report that makes the document, and that was reason of its relevance throughout the history defended arduously by many, contested warmly by others, and obsessively looked for by some: document 512 brings the report of the encounter of some bandeirantes with the ruins of a lost city, a ruined civilization in the middle of the Brazilian jungle with signs of cognitive development, besides riches, and an unknown end.
The Lost City
The document that today brings the subtitle of Historical Relation of a hidden and great old town without inhabitants, that was discovered in the year 1753 , narrates the meeting of the group of bandeirantes with ruins of a city lost and unknown until then, in the interior of Bahia.
The report of the expedition, in its most known part, tells us that there were those who saw a great brilliant mountain, as a consequence of the presence of crystals and that attracted the attention of the group, as well as their amazement and admiration. Such a mountain frustrated the group by trying to climb it, and transposing it was only possible by chance, because a negro who accompanied the party had hunted an animal and found in the chase a path paved in stones that passed through the inside mountain to an ignored destination.
After reaching the top of the crystal mountain the bandeirantes saw a great city, which at first confused with some already existing pole of the Brazilian coast and duly colonized and civilized, nevertheless to inspect it they verified a list of strangeness between her and the local style, besides the fact that it was in some parts completely ruined, and absolutely and totally empty: its buildings, many of them with more than one floor, lay abandoned and without any vestige of human presence, like furniture or other artifacts.
The entrance into the city was possible only by means of only one path, macadamized, and ornamented at the entrance with three arches, the main and greater at the center, and two smaller at the sides; the author of the expeditionary text notes that they all carried inscriptions in an indecipherable letter above, which they could not read given the height of the arches, much less recognize.
The aspect of the city narrated in document 512 merges characters similar to those of ancient civilizations, but still brings other elements that are not identified or have no association; the chronicler observes that all the houses of the place resembled only one, sometimes linked together in a symmetrical and unisonous construction.
There are descriptions of several environments observed by the bandeirantes, admired and confused by their finding, all reported with associations of the narrator, such as: the square on which stood a black column and on it a statue that pointed the north, the portico of the street that was topped by a naked figure from the waist up, and had on its head a crown of laurels, the immense buildings that bordered the square, and featured figures of some sort of crows and crosses.
"(...) a black stone column of extraordinary grandeur, and on it a statue of an ordinary man with a hand on his left side, and his right arm extended, showing with his index finger to the North Pole; in every corner of the said Square is a Needle, the imitation of which the Romans were uplifted, but some already ill-treated, and broken like wounds of some rays. (...)"
According to the narrative transcribed in the document, next to that square there would still be a river that was followed by the entourage and that would end in a waterfall, that apparently would have some function similar to a cemetery, since it was surrounded of tombs with diverse inscriptions, it was in this one site that the men found a curious object that follows described below.
Meanwhile, when the expedition went ahead and found the rivers Paraguacu and Una, the manuscript was prepared in the form of a letter, with the respective report, and sent to the authorities in Rio de Janeiro; the identity of the group's bandeirantes was apparently lost, leaving only the manuscript sent, and the location of the supposedly visited city became a mystery that would attract attention from renowned historical figures.
The only object mentioned by the expedition of bandeirantes, which was found at random, and carefully described in the letter consists of a great coin made of gold. This object, of incognito existence and destiny, had emblems on its surface: in the piece there was on one side the drawing of a young man kneeling, and on the reverse combined the images of an arch, a crown, and an arrow remained.
Full title in English: Historical relationship of an occult and large, very old town with no inhabitants, that was discovered in the year 1753. In America... in the interiors [...] adjacent to the [...] field masters and their entourage, there being ten years, traveling through the sertoes, to see if he discovered the decanted silver mines of the great discoverer Moribeca, who because of a governor did not make patents, because he wanted to uzurpar his glory, and had him imprisoned in Bahia until he died, and remain undiscovered. This news came to Rio de Janeiro in the beginning of the year 1754.. Bahia.
Relacao historica de uma occulta e grande povoacao antiquissima sem moradores, que se descobriu no anno de 1753, nos sertoes do Brazil ; copiada de um manuscripto da Bibliotheca Publica do Rio de Janeiro. In: Revista do Instituto Historico e Geografico do Brasil, Tomo I, 1839, p. 150
Langer, Johnni (2002). The Lost City of Bahia: Myth and Archeology in Empire Brazil. Brazilian Journal of History. 22 (43): 126-152. ISSN 1806-9347. doi : 10.1590 / S0102-01882002000100008.
Date Added: 2019-04-09
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Relação histórica de huma oculta e grande povoação, antiquíssima sem moradores, que se descubria no anno de 1753.
"Relação histórica de huma oculta e grande povoação, antiquíssima sem moradores, que se descubria no anno de 1753. Na América P???????? m?rid??????????? nos interiores ???????????????????????????? contiguos aos ????????????????????????????? Mestre de cam?????????????????????????????? e sua commitiva, havendo dez annos, que se viajava pelos certões, a ver se descubria as decantadas minas ???? de prata do grande descubridor Moribeca, que por culpa de hum governador se não fizeram patentes, pois queria uzurpar-lhe esta glória, e o teve prezo na Bahia até morrer, e ficarão por descubrir, Veio esta notícia ao Rio de Janeiro em o princípio do anno de 1754. Depois de uma longa e importuna perigrinação, incitadas da invariável cobiça do ouro, e quazi perdidas em muitos annos por este vasvastíssimo. Então descubrimos huma cordilheira de montes tão elevados, que parecia chegavão à Região Média, e que servirão de throno(?) ao recanto as mesmas trilhas; o luzimento que de longe se admirava prinzoalmente quando sol fazia impressão ao ao cristal de que era um portão formando huma vista tão grande e agradavel que ninguem daqueles reflexos podia afastar os olhos: entrou a chover antes de entrarmos e rejistar..."
"rejistar está cristallina maravilha e viamos sobre a pedra agua levada(?), correr as águas, precipitando-nos altos ??deles, parecendo-nos com a neve, ferida ?????????????????????????radáveis vistas daquelle chris ???????????????????????????ira se reluziria ??????????????????????????? das águas, e tranquili ???? do tempo nos rezistimos a investigar aquelle admiravel prodigio da natureza, chegando-nos no pé dos montes, sem embaraço algum de matos, ou rios, que nos difficultasse o transito; porem circulando as montanhas, não achamos páto franco para executar-mos a resolução de accommeter-mos estes alpes, e Pynineos Brazillicos, resultando-nos deste desengano huma enexplicável tristeza. Abarracados nós, e com o dezígnio de retrocedermos no dia seguinte, ????????? correr hum negro, andando à lanha, a hum veado branco, que vio, e descobrir por este ???? o caminho entre duas serras, que pareciam cortadas por artifício, e não pela natureza: com o alvoroço desta novidade principiamos a subir, achando muita pedra solta, e amontoada, por onde julgamos ser calçada desfeita com a continuação do tempo. Gastamos boas tres horas na subida, porém ????? pelos christais que admiravamos e no cume do monte fizemos alto, do qual estendendo a vista víamos em hum campo razo maiores demonstrações para a nossa admiração. -----Divizamos" Página 3 "Devizamos couza de legoa e meia huma povoação grande, pertundindo-nos pelo dilatado da figura ser alguma cidade da costa do Brasil. Descemos logo ao valle com cautella ?????? llaria em semelhante ?????, mandando explor????????????????????????????? gar a qualidade, e ??????????????????????????????????? se bem que reparam???????????????????????????????????? ?uminés, sendo este, hum dos signaes evidentes de povoações. Estivemos dois dias esperando aos exploradores paa o fim que muito dezejavamos, e só ouvíamos contar gastos para ajuizar que havia alli povoadores; até que chegavao aos nossos dizeganadosde que não havia moradores, ficando todos confuzos: ??????? depois um índio da nossa commitiva a entrar a todo ????, e com precaução, mas tornando assombrado, affirmou não achar, nem descubrir rastro de pessoa alguma: este cazo nos fez confundir de sorte; que não acreditamos pelo que via mos ????????????, enfim se arrojavão todos os exploradores ???? seguindo os passos do índio.----- Vieram, confirmando o referido depoim.t de não haver povo, e affim nos determinamos todos a entrar com armas por esta povoação, em huma madrugada sem haver quem nos sahisse ao encontro a impedir os passos, e não vihamos outro caminho senão o único que tem a grande povoação, cu ja entrada he por tres arcos de grande altura, o do meio he maior, e os dois dos lados são mais pequenos^: sobre o grande, e principal, devizamos letras que"
que se não poderião copiar pela grande altura. --- "Faz huma rua da largura dos três arcos com cazas de sobrados de huma, e outra parte, com as fronteiras de pedra lavrada, e já denegrida. So???????????????inscripções, abertas to ??????????????????? ortas são baxas defei ?????????????????? nas, notando que pela regularidade, e semetria em que estão feitas, parece huma só propriedade de cazas, sendo em realidade muitas, e alguas com seus terraços descubertos, e sem telha, porque os tetos são de ladrilho requeimado huns, e de lajes outros. Corremos com bastante pavor algumas cazas, e em nenhuma achamos vestígios de alfaias, nem móveis, que pudéssemos pelo uso, e trato, conhecer a qualidade dos naturaes: as cazas são todas escuras no interior, e apenas tem huma escaça luz, e como são abóbedas, ressoavão os eccos dos que falavão, e as mesmas vozes atemorizavão. Passada, e vista a rua de bom comprimento, demos em huma Praça regular, e no meio della huma collumna de pedra preta de grandeza extraordinária, e sobre ella huma Estatua de homem ordinario, com huma mão na ilharga esquerda, e o braço direito estendido, mostrando com o dedo index ao Polo do Norte: em cada canto da dita Praça está huma Agulha a immitação das que uzavão os romanos, e mais algumas já maltratadas, e partidas, como feridas de alguns raios."
" Pelo lado direito desta Praça esta hum soberbo edifício, como casa principal de algu se nhor da Terra, faz hum grande sallão na entrada e ainda com medo não corremos todas as casas, sendo tantas, e as retrat??????????????????? zerão formar algu???????????????????????? mara achamos hum???????????????????? massa de extraordinária??????????????????? pessoas lhe custavão a levanta lla.-----Os morcegos erão tantos, que envistião as caras das gentes, e fazião uma tal bulha, que admirava: sobre o pórtico principal da rua está huma figura de meio relevo talhada da mesma pedra e despida da cintura para cima, coroada de louro: reprezenta pessoa de pouca idade, sem barba, com huma banda atraveçada, e hum fraldelim pela cintura: debaixo do escudo da tal figura tem alguns characteres já gastos com o tem po, devizão-se, porém os seguintes (caractere) Da parte esquerda da dita Praça esta outro edifício totalmente arruinado, e pelos vestígios bem mostra que foi Templo, porque ainda conservam parte de seu magnífico frontespicio, e alguas naves de pedra inteira: ocupa grande territorio, e nas suas arruinadas paredes, serem obras de primor com algumas figuras, e retratos embutidos na pedra com cruzes de vários feitios, corvos, e outras miudezas que carecem de largo tempo para admira llas." Segue-se a este edificio huma gran de parte de Povoação toda arruinada e sepultada em grandes"
"grandes, e medonhas aberturas da terra, sem que em toda esta circunferencia se veja herva, arvore, ou planta produzida pela natureza, mas sim montões de pedra, humas toscas outras lavradas, pelo que entendemos ha as fronteiras de ????????? verção, porque ainda entre ????????? ?????????????????? da de cadáveres, que ????????? ?????????????????? e parte desta infeliz ????????? ????????? ????????? da, e dezamparada, talves por algum terremoto. Defronte da dita Praça corre hum caudalozo Rio, arrebatadamente largo, e espaçoso com algumas margens, que o fazem muito agradavel á vista: terá de largura onze, até doze braças, sem voltas concideraveis, limpas as margens de arvoredo, e troncos, que as inundações costumão trazer: sondamos a sua Altura, e achamos nas partes mais profundas quinze, até dezesseis braças. Da parte dalém tudo são campos muito viçosos, e com tanta variedade de flores, que parece entoar a Natureza, mais cuidadoza por estas partes, fazendo produzir os mais mimozos campos de flora: adimiramos tão bem algumas lagôas todas cheias de arrôs: do qual nos aproveitamos e também dos innumeraveis bandos de patos que se crião na fertilidade destes campos, sem nos ser deficil cassa-llos sem chumbo mas sim as mãos Tres dias caminhamos Rio abaixo, e topamos huma catadupa de tanto estrondo pela força das agoas, e rezistencia no lugar, que julgamos não faria maior as boccas do decan tado Nillo"
"tado Nillo: despois deste salto espraia de sorte o Rio que parece o grande Oceano: He todo cheio de Peninsulas, cubertas de verde relva: com algumas arvores disperças, que fazem.................hum tiro convi davel. Aqui achamos ???????????????????????? a falta delle de noss???????????????????????? ta variedade de caça???????????????????????? tros muitos animais criados sem cassadores que os corrão, e os persigão. Da parte do oriente desta entrada achamos varios subcavões, e medonhas covas, fazendo-se experiência de sua profundidade com muitas cordas; as quais por mais compridas que fossem, nunca podemos topar com o seu centro. Achamos tambem algumas pedras soltas, e na superfície da terra, cravadas de prata, como tiradas das minas, deixadas no tempo. Entre estas furnas vimos huma coberta com huma grande laje, e com as seguin tes figuras lavradas na mesma pedra, que insinuão grande mysterio ao que parece (caracteres) Sobre o Portico do Templo vimos outras da forma seguinte dessignadas. (caracteres) Afastado da Povoação, tiro de canhão, está hum edificio, como caza de campo, de duzen tos e sincoenta passos de frente; pelo qual se entra por hum grande portico, e se sobe, por hu ma escada de pedra de varias côres, dando-se logo"
"em huma grande salla, e depois desta em quinze cazas pequenas todas com portas para a dita salla, e cada huma sobre si, e com sua bica de agoa ???????????????????????? qual agoa de ajunta ????????????????????????mão no pateo externo ???????????????????????? columnatas em cir????????????????????????dra quadrados por arteficio, suspensa com os seguintes caracteres: (caracteres) Depois destas admirações entramos pelas margens do Rio a fazer experiencia de descubrir ouro e sem trabalho achamos boa pinta na superficie da terra, promettendo-nos muita grandeza, assim de ouro, como de prata: admiramonos ser deichada esta Povoação dos que a habitavão, não tendo achado a nossa exacta diligencia por estes certões pessoa alguma, que nos conte desta deploravel maravilha de quem fosse esta povoação, mostrando bem nas suas ruínas a figura opulenta nos séculos em que ?????? florescia povoada, e oppulenta nos séculos em que florecia povoada; estando hoje habitada de andorinhas, morcegos, Ratos e Rapozas que cebadas na muita creação de galinhas, e patos, se fazem maiores que hum cão perdigueiro. Os Ratos tem as pernas tão curtas, que saltão como pulgas, e não andão, nem correm como os de povoado. Daqui deste lugar se apartou hum companheiro, o qual com outros mais, depois"
"depois de nove dias de boa marcha avistarão a beira de huma grande enseada que faz hum Rio a huma canôa com duas pessoas brancas, e de cabellos pretos, e soltos, vestidos a Europea, e dando hum tiro como signal para seve ???????????????????????? para fugirem. Ter ???????????????????????? felpudos, e bravos, ???????????????????????? ga a elles se encrespão todos, e investem Hum nosso companheiro chamado João Antonio achou em as ruinas de huma caza hum dinheiro de ouro, figura esferica, maior que as nossas moedas de seis mil e quatrocentos: de huma parte com a imagem, ou figura de hum moço posto de joelhos, e da outra parte hum arco, huma coroa e huma setta, de cujo genero não duvidarmos se ache muito na dita povoação, ou cidade dissolada, por que se foi subversão por algum terremoto, não daria tempo o repente a por em recato o preciozo, mas he necessario hum braço muito forte, e poderozo para revolver aquele entulho calçado de tantos annos como mostra. Estas noticias mando a v.m., deste certão da Bahia, e dos Rios Pará-oaçu, Uná, assentando não darmos parte a pessoa algua, porque julgamos se despovoarão Villas, e Arraiais; mas eu a V.me. a dou das Minas que temos descuberto, lembrando do muito que lhe devo. -----Suposto que da nossa Companhia sahio já hum companheiro com pretexto differente,"
"differente contudo peço-lhe a V.me. largue essas penúrias, e venha utilizar-se destas grandezas, usando das industrias de peitar esse indio, para se fazer pedido, e conduzir a V.me. para estes thesouros, ??? ????????????????????????Acharão nas entradas ????????????????????????? sobre lages. Primeira __________ (caracteres) Segunda __________ (caracteres) Terceira __________ (caracteres) Quarta __________ (caracteres) Quinta __________ (caracteres) Sexta __________ (caracteres) Sétima __________ (caracteres) Oitava __________ (caracteres) Nona __________ (caracteres)
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Historical Relation of a hidden and great city of ancient date, without inhabitants, that was discovered in the year 1753.
In America............nos interiores (we inland).......contiguous aos (next to the)....Mestre de Can (Master of Can).............................and his band (commitiva), having for ten years journeyed in the wilds (sertoes) to see if we could locate the famous silver mines of the Great Moribecca (who, by the wickedness (culpa) of a Governor, was not granted letters patent, because the Governor wanted to take the silver mines for himself and the glory thereof, and he, the Moribecca, was kept prisoner in Bahia, till he died, which was done to worm out of him the location of the silver mines. This account came to Rio de Janeiro, in the beginning of the year 1754..."
"After long and wearisome wanderings, incited by the insatiable lust for gold, and almost lost cordillera of mountains, so high that they drew near the ethereal region (chegavdo a regido etherea), and served as a throne of the winds, under the stars; their lustre, from afar, excited our wonder and admiration, principally when the sun shining on them turned to fires the crystals of which the rocks were composed. The view was so beautiful that none could take their eyes from the reflections. It began to rain before we came near enough to take note of these crystalline marvels, and we saw above...The spectacle was bare and sterile rocks, the waters precipitated themselves from the heights, foaming white, like snow, struck and turned to fire by the rays of the sun, like thunder-bolts. Delighted by the pleasing vistas of that....blended....shone and glistered....of the waters and the tranquility....of the day or weather (do tempo), we determined to investigate these prodigious marvels of nature, spread out before us, at the foot of the mountains, without hindrance of forests or rivers that would make it difficult for us to cross them. But when we walked round the foot of the cordillera we found no open way or pass into the recesses of these Alps and Pyrenees of Brazil. So there resulted for us, from this disappointment, an inexplicable sadness.
"We grew weary and intended to retrace our steps, the next day, when it came to pass that one of our negroes, gathering dried sticks, saw a white deer (hum veado branco), and, by that accident, as it fled away, he discovered a road between two sierras, that appeared to have been made by man and not the work of Nature. We were made joyful by this discovery and we started to ascend the road, but found a great boulder that had fallen and broken all to pieces at a spot where, we judged, a paved way (calcada) had been violently upheaved in some far-off day. We spent a good three hours in the ascent of that ancient road, being fascinated by the crystals, at which we marvelled, as they blazed and scintillated in many flashing colours from the rocks. On the summit of the pass through the mountain, we came to a halt.
"Thence, spread out before our eyes, we saw in the open plain (campo raso) greater spectacles (demonstracoes) for our vision of admiration and wonder. At the distance of about a league, as we judged, we saw a great city (povoacao grande), and we estimated, by the extent and sight of it, that it must be some city of the court of Brazil; we at once descended the road towards the valley, but with great caution.....would be, in like case, ordered to explore......by quality and...............if so well as they had noticed........smokes (fumines (?)), that being one of the evident signs or vestiges of the place (povoacao).
"Two days we waited, wondering whether to send out scouts, for the end we longed for, and all alone, we waited till daybreak, in great doubt and confused perplexity of mind, trying to guess if the city had any people in it. But it became clear to us thee were no inhabitants. An Indian of our bandeirantes determined, after two days of hesitation, to risk his life in scouting by way of precaution; but he returned, amazing us by affirming he had met no one; nor could discover foot-steps or traces of any person whatever. This so confounded us that we could not believe we saw dwellings or buildings, and so, all the scouts (os exploradores) in a body, followed in the steps of the Indian......."
"They now saw for themselves that it was true the great city was uninhabited. We, all, therefore, now decided to enter the place, our arms ready for instant use, at daybreak. At our entry we met none to bar our way, and we encountered no other road except the one which led to the dead city. This, we entered under three arches (arcos) of great height, the middle arch being the greatest, and the two of the sides being but small; under the great and principal arch we made out letters, which we could not copy, owing to their great height above the ground.
"Behind, was a street as wide as the three arches, with, here and there, houses of very large size, whose facades of sculptured stone, already blackened with age; alone........inscriptions, all open to the day (todos aberias).....decreases of.......observing, by the regularity and symmetry with their terraces open to the day, without one tile; for the houses had, some of them, burnt floors; others large flagstones.
"We went, with fear and trembling, into some of the houses, and in none did we find vestiges of furniture, or moveable objects by which, or whose use, we might guess at the sort of people who had dwelt therein. The houses were all dark, in the interior, and hardly could the light of day penetrate, even at its dimmest, and, as the vaults gave back the echoes of our speech, the sound of our voices terrified us. We went on into the strange city and we came on a road (street: rua) of great length, and a well set-out plaza (uma praca regular), besides, in it, and in the middle of the plaza a column of black stone of extraordinary grandeur, on whose summit was a statue of a man (homen ordinario: not a god, or demi-god) with a hand on the left hip and right arm out-stretched, pointing with the index finger to the north pole; and each corner of the said plaza is an obelisk like those among the Romans, but now badly damaged, and cleft as by thunderbolts.
"On the right side of the plaza is a superb building, as it were the principal town-house of some great lord of the land; there is a great hall (saldo) at the entrance, but still being awed and afraid, not all of us entered in the hou.......being so many and the retre......ed to form some.........ed we encounter a.....mass of extraordin........it was difficult for him to lift it................
"The bats were so numerous that they fluttered in swarms round the faces of our people, and made so much noise that it was astonishing. Above the principal portico of the street is a figure in half-relief, cut out of the same stone, and naked from the waist upward, crowned with laurel, representing a person of youthful years, without beard, with a girdle (banda) around him, and an under-garment (um fraldelim) open in front at the waist, underneath the shield (escudo) of this figure are certain characters, now badly defaced by time, but we made out the following:
"On the left side of the plaza is another totally ruined building, and the vestiges remaining well show that it was a temple, because of the still standing side of its magnificent facade, and certain naves of stone, standing entire. It covers much ground, and in the ruined halls are seen works of beauty, with other statues of portraits inlaid in the stone, with crosses of various shapes, curves (arches (?) corvos) and many other figures that would take too long to describe here.
"Beyond this building a great part of the city lies completely in ruins, and buried under great masses of earth, and frightful crevasses in the ground, and in all this expanse of utter desolation there is seen no grass, herb, tree, or plant produced by nature, but only mountainous heaps of stone, some raw (that is, unworked), others worked and carved, whereby we understood........they......because again among......of......corpses that..........and part of this unhappy...........and overthrown, perhaps, by some earthquake.
"Opposite this plaza, there runs very swiftly a most deep (caudaloso) and wide river, with spacious banks, that were very pleasing to the eye: it was eleven to twelve fathoms in width, without reckoning the windings, clear and bared at its banks of groves, as of trees and of the trunks that are often brought down in floods. We sounded its depths and found the deepest parts to be fifteen or sixteen fathoms. The country beyond consists wholly of very green and flourishing fields, and so blooming with a variety of flowers that it seemed as if Nature, more attentive to these parts, had laid herself out to create the most beautiful gardens of Flora: we gazed, too, in admiration and astonishment at certain lakes covered with wild rice plants from which we profited, and also at the innumerable flocks of geese that bred in these fertile plains (campos); but it would have been difficult to sound their depths with the hand, in the absence of a sounding-rod.
"Three days we journeyed down the river, and we stumbled on a cataract (uma catadupa) of such roaring noise and commotion of foaming waters, that we supposed the mouths of the much talked of Nile could not have made more trouble or booming, or offered more resistance to our further progress. Afterwards, the river spreads out so much from this cascade that it appears to be a great Ocean (qui parece a grande Oceano). It is all full of peninsulas, covered with green grass, with groves of trees, here and there, that make.........pleas..................Here, we find.........................for want of it, we...............................the variety of game...............many created beings without hunters to hunt and chase them.
"On the eastern side of this cataract, we found various subterranean hollows (subcavoes) and frightful holes, and made trial of their depths with many ropes; but, after many attempts we were never able to plumb their depths. We found, besides, certain broken stones, and (lying) on the surface of the ground, thrown down, with bars of silver (crevadas de prata) that may have been extracted from the mines, abandoned at the time.
"Among these caverns (furnas) we saw some covered with a great flagstone, with the following figures cut into it, that suggest a great mystery. They are as follows:
"Over the portico of the temple, we saw, besides, the following forms:
"Distant a cannon-shot from the abandoned city is a building like a country house (casa de campo), with a frontage of 250 feet. It is approached by a great portico, from which a stairway built with a door communicating with the said great chamber. Each room has its waterspout (or fountain: bica de agua)......................the which water meets..................in the exterior courtyard..............colonnades in the sur............squared and fashioned by hand, overhung with the characters following:
"Thence, leaving that marvel, we went down to the banks of the river to see whether we could find gold, and without difficulty, we saw, on the surface of the soil, a fine trail promising great riches, as well of gold, as of silver: we marveled that this place had been abandoned by those who had formerly inhabited it; for, with all our careful investigations and great diligence we had met no person, in this wilderness, who might tell us of this deplorable marvel of an abandoned city, whose ruins, statues and grandeur, attested its former populous ness, wealth, and its flourishing in the centuries past; whereas, today, it is inhabited by swallows, bats, rats and foxes, that, fed on the innumerable swarms of hens and geese, have become bigger than a pointer dog. The rats have the tails so short that they leap like fleas and do not run or walk, as they do in other places.
"At this place, the band separated, and one company, joined by others, journeyed forward, and, after nine days long marchings, saw, at a distance, on the bank of a great bay (enseada) into which the river spreads, a canoe with some white persons, with long, flowing, black hair, dressed like Europeans................a gunshot fired as a signal to....................for they had escaped. They had...........................shaggy and wild......................their hair is plaited and they wear clothes.
"One of our company, named Joao Antonio, found in the ruins of a house a piece of gold money, of spherical shape, greater than our Brazilian coin of 6,400 reis: on one side was an image, or figure of a kneeling youth; on the other, a bow, a crown, and an arrow (setta), of which coins we doubted not to have found many in the abandoned city; since it was overthrown by an earthquake, which gave no time, so sudden was its onset, to take away precious objects; but it needs a very powerful arm to turn over the rubbish, accumulated in so many long years, as we saw.
"This news is sent to you Honour from the interior of the province of Bahia and from the rivers Para-oacu and Una, and assuring you that we shall give information to no person, whatsoever; for we judge the villages are empty of people and boat owners. But I have given to your Honour the mine we have discovered, reminded of the great deal that is owed to you.
"Supposing that from our band, one of our company went forth, at this time, with a different pretense.....he may, with great harm to your Honour, abandon his poverty and and come to use these great things for his own benefit, taking great care to bribe that Indian (therefore), so as to spoil his purpose and lead your Honour to these great treasures, etc...............................would find, in the entrances..........flagsones.............."
These strange characters were engraved on the great stones, sealing the vault of treasure, that the baneiristas could not open. This completes the fascinating manuscript by the bandeiristas of Minas Geracs that inspired many explorers to search for the lost city. Colonel P. H. Fawcett found that fourteen out of the twenty-four characters inscribed on the pillars and porticoes recorded in the South American manuscript were identical with those he accidentally discovered in the jungle forest of Ceylon. When he got back to civilization he took a copy of the inscriptions to a learned Sinhalese priest, who told him that the writing was a form of Asoka, of the old Asoka Buddhists, in a cypher which only those ancient priests understood. Experts surmise that the bizarre inscriptions record the cacheing, in a time of great dearth, or famine, of an immense treasure that would be thousands of years old.