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Preferred Citation: Metcalf, Alida C. When I first visited Brazil in , we crossed the Amazon by motorboat from the Colombian town of Leticia and spent the day in the tiny village of Benjamin Constant. I could not have imagined then that one day I would write about the settlement of the vast Brazilian frontier. As my family and I walked down the muddy street among the houses built on stilts, and as we visited rubber tappers, we found ourselves in a world dramatically different from the one we knew.
I realize now that the Indians, rubber tappers, hunters, and fishermen whom we met on that unforgettable trip were living as their forebears had lived generations before.
Entering that world was stepping back into history, into the world of the individuals whose lives I reconstruct in this book. I am deeply grateful to institutions, colleagues, friends, and family who made it possible for me to write this history. First, I wish to thank the institutions that funded my research. A Fulbright-Hays fellowship from the U. Department of Education and a grant from the Social Science Research Council funded the bulk of the archival research in Brazil and Portugal in and The Joullian fund, granted by that family to the Department of History of Trinity University for faculty development, made it possible for me to visit Brazil in and to hire student assistants.
I am grate-. Many happy memories of times spent with friends and colleagues in Brazil and the United States are woven into the researching and writing of this book. Richard Graham deserves special recognition for helping this project grow from its earliest beginnings and for offering excellent critical advice at many stages along the way.
Sandra Lauderdale Graham first introduced me to the Brazilian archives; her ability to make history come alive from the sources has been an inspiration. Laura Graham helped me to understand the forces affecting Indians in the modern frontier, which has influenced my portrayal of similar forces in the past. Working in Brazil has been enormously interesting and enjoyable.