Chapter 5. The Rainforest Peoples of the Americas

The quote attributed to Columbus’s journal regarding the demeanour of the indigenous people he encountered in Hispaniola can be found in The Complete Works of Washington Irving, published in 1835.

This 2012 piece ‘Once Hidden by Forest, Carvings in Land Attest to Amazon’s Lost World’ in the New York Times explores the myth that the Amazon rainforests were untouched wilderness before the arrival of Europeans.

New world agriculture
Debate continues as to the timing of the human colonization of the New World. An excellent summary of the evidence at hand can be found in Charles Mann’s 1491 (Random House USA, 2005). That book also covers the spread of disease among New World native populations, so does this article published in New Scientist

For a source for early testimony of Amazonian cities see this 2015 New Scientist article ‘Myth of pristine Amazon rainforest busted as old cities reappear’

The domestication of pineapples is covered here

Some background on the wild ancestors of potatoes here 

Soils that sustained cities
On the origins of the dark Terra Preta soils of the Amazon, see Ute Shueb et al’s 2016 book, Terra Preta: How the World's Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change and Reduce World Hunger. Greystone Books. 

Good morals
On the natives of Hispaniola being ignorant of metal implements, the quote attributed to Columbus was taken from Howard Zinn’s 1980 History of the United States (Longman, London, New York)

Regarding the treatment of a captured Carib Woman by Michele de Cuneo, the extent to which that incident reflects on the morals of the time is examined by Stephanie Wood in Sex and Sexuality in Early America, edited by Merril Smith (New York University Press 1998).

John Hemming’s three works on the history of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon are Red Gold (covering the period roughly 1500-1760), Amazon Frontier (1760-1910), and Die If You Must (1910-present). His writings include comprehensive consideration of Brazil’s rubber boom.

The Rubber boom
This article from Survival International explains how many tribes that remain uncontacted due to the brutal effects of the 19th century rubber boom