Fernando Santos Granero

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1. Steamlaunches loading firewood in Puerto Waltibori, Yurua River, circa 1904.

The opening of Loreto as a new frontier for colonization began in 1851 with the signing of a treaty between Peru and Brazil that opened the Amazon River to ships from both countries. Through this treaty, Peru sought to stop Brazil’s expansion towards the west, as well as to neutralize Ecuadorian and Colombian diplomatic claims over the Upper Amazon region. Public investment in steam vessels, and fluvial exploration, stimulated settlement of the region giving rise to an expanding export economy based on the production of sarsaparilla (Smilax sp.), tobacco, salted fish, and “Panama” hats.