The Museu do Seringal is located a 30-minute boat ride out of Manaus up the Rio Negro. This outdoor museum In the Amazon showcases how the rubber boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries impacted the lives of the workers as well as those who were making money off of them.
While today it is a serene “jungle camp” as a working plantation, it would have been a working hell for the rubber workers. This museum, was recreated as a set for the 2002 movie A Selva (The Jungle), and showcases the harsh living and working conditions of the workers as well as the opulent lifestyles of the rubber barons.
The rubber workers or seringueiros were treated at best like indentured servants and at worse like slaves. Most of their earnings went back to the rubber barons who charged the rubber tappers for food, supplies, tools, transportation and just about anything they needed. If the rubber tappers tried to grow their own food, hunt, or fish, they were either beaten or killed. The museum has a cemetery on-site where those who died were buried.
The workers would work 12-18 hour days in the heat of the jungle living in jungle huts and work like slaves to only become more indebted to the rubber bosses. This museum is filled with fascinating artifacts from the rubber industry’s dark past.