xi
A Note on Translations, Spelling,
and Monetary Units
In translating the original documents that appear in The Rio de Janeiro Reader
from Portuguese, French, or Spanish to English, we have endeavored to
maintain the content, spirit, and voice of the source material as originally
written. Nonetheless, we have also tried to render the documents legible
to contemporary English-language readers. Wherever it was necessary to
preserve a keyword or phrase in the original, an English translation appears
in brackets that immediately follow.
Original place-names for most landmarks, topographic features, streets,
and neighborhoods appear in modernized Brazilian Portuguese (e.g., Praça
XV de Novembro instead of Fifteenth of November Square; Avenida Rio
Branco rather than Rio Branco Avenue). Exceptions include Guanabara Bay
rather than Baia de Guanabara. Corcovado Mountain appears in the simpli-
fied form of Corcovado.
Honorific titles, military ranks, and the like generally have been trans-
lated into their English equivalents. One exception is “Dom/Dona,” the
honorific that appears before the given name of high-ranking personalities,
such as the Luso-Brazilian royals.
The spelling of Portuguese names and words has varied considerably
over the past five hundred years. With the exception of original titles of
published works, the editors use standardized contemporary orthography
for Brazilian Portuguese. With regard to proper names, we have generally
adopted spellings used in official cataloguing of the Fundação Biblioteca Na-
cional (Brazilian National Library) and the Library of Congress.
Over the course of the more than five centuries that this volume covers,
numerous official currencies and monetary denominations have circulated
in Brazil. From the colonial period through the mid-twentieth century, the
principal monetary unit was the real (réis in the plural, abbreviated as rs.).
By the nineteenth century, the declining purchasing power of the real led
to the common usage of the mil-réis (1,000 réis, written 1$000, or shortened
to 1$) and the conto (one million réis, written 1:000$000, or shortened to
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