However, these developments paled in comparison to the gold rush and the rubber boom of the 18th and 19th centuries. Keen to get their hands on these valuable resources, Portuguese buccaneers began exploring the uncharted interior of the country.
Wherever they went, the settlers left destruction in their wake, decimating the landscape and destroying the indigenous way of life. Sadly, some 300 years later, little has changed. Although there are no more Portuguese bandeirantes, their legacy is difficult to ignore.
Today, more than 20 percent of the lush green Amazon rainforest has already been destroyed. In response, the local government has put regulations in place to control deforestation. Yet illegal operations continue in a region that is notoriously difficult to police.