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the story behind Manaus, ‘Paris of the Tropics’

If the story of Manaus was as an opera, the libretto of this Amazonian city celebrating its 350th anniversary would be a riches-to-rags tale of conquest, decadence, ruthless ambition, and a bio-pirate who brought the once second richest city in the world to its knees. 

Captain Francisco da Motta Falcão founded Manaus in 1669, building a fort to consolidate Portugal’s Amazonian possession from Dutch and British incursions. The discovery of native rubber trees then ushered in a golden era of prosperity between 1870–1913. European rubber barons enriched Manaus with Belle Époque…

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