views updated


A seringal, or rubber estate, is a large tract of Amazonian rain forest usually located on a river to facilitate the transport of rubber to market. Although land titles were easy to come by after the rubber boom began in the 1840s, they were often ill-defined, and battles were often fought over ownership of the seringal. The owner, or seringalista, often lived in Manaus, while agents or lessees (usually in debt to the rubber baron) ran their vast estates. Rubber barons kept gatherers on their seringais through a system of debt peonage. After World War II, the large rubber estates began to break up, and many seringalistas abandoned or sold their estates. Many rubber gatherers have remained on the land and continue to collect rubber from the trees.

See alsoRubber Industry .


Barbara Weinstein, The Amazon Rubber Boom, 1850–1920 (1983).

Austin Coates, The Commerce in Rubber: The First 250 Years (1987).

Warren Dean, Brazil and the Struggle for Rubber (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Costa, Francisco de Assis. Grande capital e agricultura na Amazonia: A experiencia Ford no Tapajós. Belém: Editorial Universitaria UFPA, 2003.

Ferreira, Maria Liege Frietas. O poder de arregimentaçao do estado: A utopia nos seringais amazonicos (1940–1945.) Curitiba: Aos Quatro Ventos, 2003.

Rodrigues, Gomercindo and Linda Rabben. Walking the Forest with Chico Mendes: Struggle for Justice in the Amazon. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007.

                                  Carolyn Jostock