History cannon 21 | 015900
As cannon #3 (smell Rainforest 015916), this colubrine equipped
the Royal Fort Príncipe da Beira on the bank of the Guaporé River in Rondônia, Brazil, today, in ruins. This Fort, considered the oldest war monument in the state. It was built in 1783 by an Italian engineer and infantry assistant who died during its construction. Malaria was a disease that affected many of those who participated in the building
of this fort.
The fort was abandoned during the Proclamation of the Republic in 1889, generating an intense process of memory erasure and oblivion.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the building was "rediscovered"
by the military and countryman Marechal Rondon. In 1937 the army sent the seventh frontier battalion and by 1950 the fort became the biggest landmark building during the colonization of the Valleys of Madeira and Guaporé. It is currently occupied by the 1st special border battalion.
Today, the community that inhabits the outskirts of the Fort is descended from the enslaved blacks and Indians who built the fortress. The army claims ownership of the land alleging a national security area. According to reports by descendents of quilombola leaders,
the military today prevents them from developing family and community farming, threatens eviction and does not establish
a dialogue with them.
Due to the visible threat of historical and cultural erasure of this segment of the population, it is necessary to value and keep alive
their customs, festivities and stories. Even today, according to the researcher Sílvio do Nascimento, the local culture of these river communities is still full of stories that inspire the mystery of this fort.
The two reported by Nascimento involve hauntings, alluding to the suffering of the slaves who built the Fort.
The narratives of the popular imagination make it possible to keep cultural-historical traditions. Therefore, by valuing their relationship
with the local in which they live, they are able to strengthen their traditions and affect the course of generous and diverse generations.
The smell of Dust brings memories of destruction by the several actions of invasions since the beginnings of colonization. It is a smell that penetrates the nose provoking an uncomfortable itch. Its notes carry a sandy texture affecting the throat and provoking a twinge. How many homes, forts, buildings were destroyed by the process
of colonization? It is a smell that brings dusty and grubby memories of Brazilian history.