From Academic Kids

The IÁŠ or Putumayo River is one of the tributaries of the Amazon river, west of and parallel to the Yapura. It forms the entirety of Colombia's border with Ecuador, as well as most of the frontier with Peru. Known as the Putumayo in the former three nations, it is called the IÁŠ when it crosses into Brazil.

In the late 19th century, the IÁŠ was navigated by the French explorer Jules Crevaux (1847-1882). He ascended it in a steamer drawing 6 feet of water, and running day and night. He reached Cuemby, 800 miles above its mouth, without finding a single rapid. Cuemby is only 200 miles from the Pacific Ocean, in a straight line, passing through the town of Pasto in southern Colombia. Creveaux discovered the river sediments to be free of rock to the base of the Andes; the river banks were of argillaceous earth and the bottom of fine sand.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, rubber companies, seeking cheap labour, enslaved the Amerindian peoples of the area around the IÁŠ and forced them to work as serengueiros, rubber tappers, collecting the sap of the rubber tree to be processed into goods such as tyres for cars. These serengueiros were paid nothing and tortured or even murdered if they failed to fulfill their rubber quotas. Those who escaped were hunted down like animals. When the British consul to Peru headed an investigation into the treatment of the Native American workers in the rubber trade along the IÁŠ, the report he made to the Peruvian government shocked the entire world. The rubber companies engaged in slavery were liquidated by the government, and their executives arrested.

Today the river is a major transport route. Almost the entire length of the river is navigated by boats.

Cattle farming, along with the rubber trade, is also a major industry on the banks of the IÁŠ. Rubber and balatŠ (a substance very much like gutta-percha, to the point where it is often called gutta-balatŠ) from the IÁŠ area are shipped to Manaus,Ūo Putumayo sv:Putumayo


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