Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And on the Value of Cats

"The first couple of cats, which were carried to Cuyaba, sold for a pound of gold. There was a plague of rats in the settlement, and they were purchased as a speculation, which proved an excellent one.

Their first kittens produced thirty oitavas each; the next generation were worth twenty; and the price gradually fell, as the inhabitants were stocked with these beautiful and useful creatures.

Montenegro presented to the elder Almagro the first cat which was brought to South America, and was rewarded for it with six hundred pesos."

CUYABA, or Cutaba, it the capital of the inland state of Matto Grosso, Brazil, about 972 m. N.W. of Rio de Janeiro, on the Cuyaba river.

"In Brazil, the weight of gold and precious stones is estimated in oitavas, an oitava being 1/8 ounce, and 128 oitavas going to the pound. The oitava, which corresponds in weight to 17 1/2 carats (sometimes given at 18), is subdivided into thirty-two vintems.

Sometimes, however, the carat-grain is used as a subdivision of the oitava. Since carat-grains are equal to one carat, one oitava is equal to 70 (or 72) grains."

The modern real is subdivided into 100 centavos. The exchange rate as of October 16th, 2009 is approximately BRL 1.71 to USD 1.00.

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