A zona pioneira ao norte do Rio Doce


  • Walter Alberto Egler


Minas Gerais, Vale do Rio Doce, Geografia da População, Geografia Regional, Colonização


            The author describes the pioneer zone that lyes to the north of the Doce river valley, in the States of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, analyzing the causes which contributed to its development.

            Initially, he describes the general aspects of the physical landscape of the region, making a distinction between two distinct physiographic zones: the first, crystalline and hilly, to the east, and the other, sedimentary and plane, to the west.

            In consequence of the fundamentally distinct physical characteristics of these two zones, the peopling and settlement in each one of them was diverse.

            In analyzing the history past of the region, the author describes the principal movements in the sense of its exploration and occupation, since the first expeditions which sought for precious stones and indian slaves to the collective and expontainous dislocation of the pioneer fringe.

            The actual occupation of that region began with the european colonization, when large numbers of italians, germans and poles arrived.

            This peopling of the region which lyes north of the Doce river valley, initiated in 1916, acquired an intensive character in 1928, when the construction of a bridge over the river was finished near the city of Colatina.

            In analyzing the situation of the pioneer movement nowadays, the author recognizes four regions and describes their characteristics as follows.

            The first two regions: the region of Mantena and Colatina were, respectively, originated by the peopling current which started from Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo looking for unoccupied land. These two regions have a large production of coffee and intense pioneer activity.

            The third region, which is essentially composed of the valley of the São Mateus river did not develop like the others due to its weak soil constitution.

            The fourth and last region corresponds to the cacao producing zone of the lower Doce river which is experimenting nowadays great prosperity.

            In concluding, the author makes some considerations on the cultivation methods employed in the region showing that these methods are the direct cause of the weakening of its soils.

            Due to these primitive cultivation methods, new tracts of forest are wiped out yearly causing a progressive advance northwards to take place. This simultaneous attack, starting from various States, to the large forest reserve of the region created a political dispute on territories, until the moment, completely unimportant.

            The so discussed question of the litigious zone between Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo arrived thus to a crucial point due to the generalized application of primitive cultivation methods.