Revista Brasileira de História
On-line version ISSN 1806-9347
CABRAL, Diogo de Carvalho. Forest, politics and labor: the extraction of timber in the Recôncavo da Guanabara (1760-1820). Rev. Bras. Hist. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.55, pp. 217-241. ISSN 1806-9347. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-01882008000100011.
The article aims to contribute for the still rarified historiography about the extraction of madeiras-de-lei, those tree species that are particularly suitable for shipbuilding and, for that reason, legally reserved for preferential appropriation by the Portuguese crown in the Brazilian colonial territory. The space-temporal outline embraces the inner lands of Recôncavo da Guanabara (Rio de Janeiro captaincy), in particular the Macacu river basin, at the end of the colonial period. Varied documentation (official chronicles, travelers accounts, letters, a economic-demographic census, and a post-mortem inventory) is used in order to show that socioeconomic relations among the actors involved (royal bureaucracy, landowners, timber producers, sawyers, etc.), and those between them and the forest were dictated by daily life negotiations which made the 'cold letter' of metropolitan laws viable.
Keywords : timber exploitation; shipbuilding industry; late-colonial Rio de Janeiro.