Abstract

The forays of white-linen-clad urban gentlemen, visiting seringueiros and other devotees of bohemian life in the bars, brothels, and gambling dens of Belem and Manaus during the rubber boom, are part of the folklore of the era. The legendary bacchanalian soirees and sparkling night life of clubs like the High Life and Moulin Rouge in Belem and Pensao da Mulata and Chalet Jardim of Manaus still echo from today's silent sidewalks.

Women that lived with an open door in Amazonian parlance meant women that accepted callers for paid sexual liaisons. None were more favored companions in the demimonde than the polacas, Jewesses from the European Pale. Both Belem and Manaus had contingents of European prostitutes attracted by Amazonian prosperity that capitalized on their racial precedents and the overwhelming fascination among the Brazilian middle and upper classes for European culture. The Polish and Russian Jewesses eventually supplanted the traditional French cocotte in the Amazonian demimonde. These courtesans were an anomaly in the large primarily Moroccan Sephardic community of the region. Many were simply exotic birds of passage, alighting only temporarily, while others found permanent relationships on the rubber frontier.

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 86-99
Launched on MUSE
2001-03-01
Open Access
No
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