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Itinerary: Gold route

In the period 1730-1740 gold was found in the south-east of Tocantins (at that time the region was referred to as North of Goias, and the mines were called Minas de Goyazes).
Villages developped because of gold mines:
Natividade (1734), Almas (1734), Arraias (1736), Chapada (1736), Pontal (1738), Porto Real (1738), Conceição, Carmo, Taboca, Principe (>1740)
The mining came to a sudden end around 1800.

We have no information about gold digging today in Tocantins, but we have witnessed garimpeiros (gold diggers) in Chapada de Natividade and Monte de Carmo.
Natividade is the oldest town of Tocantins, and most historical buildings still exist. We visited some workshops that produce golden jewelry.

Arraias: Chapada dos Negros
Large areas of ruins and gold digging ditches. It is the exact place that gave rise to Arraias. The name is due to the large contingent of slave labor who worked in the mining of gold. It is estimated that in the heyday of gold mining there was a slave population estimated at ten thousand black people, hence the name. The attraction is located 3 km from the city. Access to it is through a side road. (source: nazaremartins)

Natividade jewelry
The traditional jewelry of Natividade survived for nearly three centuries, probably because of mining on the farms around the town, which still continues. Until two decades ago, according to some master craftsmen in action, an archaic technique of casting from molds of clay and vegetable oil was still used , probably introduced by African slaves.
The technical characteristic of Natividade in gold filigree is ancient. Being produced similar to Portugal and Spain, which in turn comes from Arabic, the filigree becomes unique and the object of incorporating symbols of popular culture, such as the jewelry with the dove of the Divine. This activity has been gaining recognition as knowledge and craft, since the 90s, and is currently the object of studies for registration as Intangible Heritage.
This is a privileged profession in the city, from the perspective of interests, public and private, which mobilizes: nearly disappear in the 80′s, the jewelry started to be promoted by Minc in the late 90s, and a new generation of learners was and continues to be trained in the craft.
In the religious calendar, the Feast of the Divine is the most intense and important move, year after year, the entire community in their expectation, production and enjoyment. The dove of the Holy Spirit is a recurring symbol in the festivals and crafts: it is in flags, uniforms of revelers, party plates and cups, and jewelry in the form of sweets. (source: Vitruvius, translated with Google)

Pontal
The Arraial de Bom Jesus do Pontal was one of the first six towns to be established in the current Brazilian state of Tocantins, having been founded in 1738 by Anthony Sanchez (The first was the Arraial de São Luiz, today called Natividade, in 1734). Around the year 1810, a group of inhabitants of the camp was attacked by Xerente indians, for mining in the Ribeirão Matança river, which is near the site. All of them were killed. Therefore many families from the camp moved to Porto Real (now Porto Nacional), for fear of attacks from the Indians. And due to this fact, the latest evidence of the existence of the camp is dated 1839. After that, only a few ruins remained, including the ancient Church of San Antonio and Santa Ana. The ruins are located in the municipality of Porto Nacional – TO, just 3 km from the TO-255 and 40 km from the center of the city,  in the foothills of the Serra do Pontal. Besides Pontal, also existed in Tocantins another camp called Camp Taboca of which was located between the current municipalities of Conceição do Tocantins and Dianópolis, which disappeared completely after the decline of mining in the region. (source: wikipedia)

Monte do Carmo
The story of Monte do Carmo begins after the discovery of gold mines in the first half of the eighteenth century. Continues in 1741 with the founding of the Arraial de Nossa Senhora do Carmo. It was founded by pioneer Manuel de Sousa Ferreira, at the confluence of streams: Matança today called Água Suja (due to washing of gold), and the stream Sucuri that supplies the town.(source: wikipedia)

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