A Planta dos Descobrimentos – Como a Cannabis foi trazida ao Brasil

OnJack

hempadao 24 junho, 2013

Porém, a época áurea do cânhamo em Portugal decorreu entre os séculos XV a XVIII, partilhando as fortunas da expansão marítima portuguesa. De fato, para aparelhar os navios de madeira que asseguraram a Portugal o domínio das rotas oceânicas mundiais, as matérias-primas necessárias eram basicamente ferro para os canhões e ferragens e, sobretudo, cânhamo-de-cannabis para as velas e cordames.

Em Canhões e Velas na Primeira Fase da Expansão Europeia, o historiador Cario M. Cipolla considera que o sucesso dos empreendimentos marítimos europeus assenta no binómio canhões/velas, pois “[s]ubstituir remadores por velas e guerreiros por canhões significava, em resumo, trocar energia humana por forças inanimadas"; esta aplicação de concepções inovadoras no fabrico de canhões e velame permitiu “o domínio europeu do poder naval sobre as massas populacionais asiáticas e o domínio dos povos europeus sobre os mares", um período que começou com a chegada da Vasco da Gama à Índia,em 1498 e terminou cinco séculos depois, com a retirada dos ingleses do continente indiano em 1949.

Sobre a importância crucial do cânha­mo para a expansão portuguesa de Quinhentos, escrevendo no século XIX, D. Francisco S. Luiz, cardeal patriarca de Lisboa e historiador, depois de notar que "que el-Rei D, Manoel trazia comumente 300 naus suas nas conquistas de Ásia, África e América", é bem claro: "E se alguém porventura se admirar, de que tantas e tamanhas armadas se equipas­sem e aprestassem tão frequentemente, e às vezes com tanta celeridade, deve aten­der: i° Que el-Rei D. Manoel tinha em vários lugares do reino Feitorias para a fabricação de amarras, enxárcias, cor­doalhas, etc, de cânhamo, que então se cultivava em grande abundância, em Portugal". Em Descripçam corografica do Reyno de Portugal, o erudito setecentista Oliveira Freire é igualmente peremptó­rio, afirmando que "é esta [o cânhamo] a cultura de maior importância do reino, para o apresto das armadas, por ter o uso qualificado a sua bondade, e fortaleza"

Para se ter uma noção do gigantismo dos em­preendimentos navais portugueses de antanho, e do abastecimento de cânhamo que implicavam, con­sidere-se que em 1513 D. Manuel enviou à atual Mauritânia uma armada composta por 400 navios transportando, para além dos marinheiros, 16.000 infantes e 2.500 cavalos, a qual foi aprestada em ape­nas quatro meses e meio.

Atendendo à dimensão que atingiriam as aventuras navais de Portugal, consta­ta-se que a coroa portuguesa revelou

notável discernimento ao fomentar, com início no reinado de D. João II, o estabe­lecimento de extensas canameiras (plan­tações de cânhamo) como fonte de matéria-prima para aprestar as armadas portuguesas, em regiões escolhidas pela sua excelência para a produção de cânha­mo. Segundo a investigadora Maria He­lena da Cruz Coelho, "A cultura do câ­nhamo, vital para um país que iniciava a sua expansão marítima, devia ser incen­tivada pelo monarca. (…) Os reis esta­vam, assim, sobremaneira interessados na propagação desta cultura, já com um fim industrial e que a todos os níveis lhes trazia lucro, desde o monetário e imediato das rendas e direitos, até ao melhor apetrechamento da frota nacional".

Diz o verbete "cordoaria" do Dicioná­rio da História de Portugal: "O aumento da nossa navegação e a consequente ne­cessidade de matérias-primas emprega­das na construção naval fizeram que, no século XVII, para diminuir a importação, se procurasse intensificar a cultura do cânhamo (…}.

A taxação vigente em Portugal na centúria de Quinhentos é re­veladora do estatuto económico privilegiado que a cannabis des­frutava à época. Assim, de acordo com uma avaliação feita em 1515 para cálculo das rendas a pagar à coroa, ao cânhamo era atribuída a mais elevada cotação dos vários géneros produzidos no reino — urna pedra [oito arráteis] de linho cânhamo equivalia a 50 réis, contra 40 réis para um leitão, e 20 réis para um alqueire de trigo, um almude de vinho, ou um cordeiro ou cabrito.

Em consequência das Descobertas, no tempo de D. João III a cannabis foi introduzida no Novo Mundo, nomeadamente no Brasil e nas Antilhas, por mão dos primeiros escravos para lá levados pelos nossos antepassados. Paralelamente, os portugueses registaram o uso da cannabis em algumas das regiões que “descobriram”, sem se aperceberem de que se tratava da mesma planta que fornecia a matéria prima para aprestar os navios que os transportavam, confeccionar as roupas que usavam e fabricar o papel das Bíblias que brandíam (ver "Garcia da Orta Apresenta o Bangue ao Ocidente").

Na crônica Etiópia Oriental e Vária História de cousas Notáveis do Oriente, publicada em 1608, o frade dominicano Frei João dos Santos escreve a propósito da alimentação dos cafres (autóctones do norte do atual Moçambique): "Em toda esta confraria se cria uma certa erva, que os cafres semeiam, a que chamam bangue, a qual é da própria feição de coentro espigado, e parece-se muito com ele na semente, semente, e na palha, mas não na folha, porque esta a tem ao modo dos goivos. Esta palha e folha a secam os cafres, e depois de bem secas as pisam, e fazem em pó, e deste comem uma mão cheia, e bebem-lhe água em cima, e assim ficam muito satisfeitos, e com o estômago confortado, e muitos cafres há que com este bangue se sustentam muitos dias, sem comer outra cousa, mas se comem muito junto, embebedam-se com ele de tal modo, como se bebessem muito vinho. Todos estes cafres são muito amigos desta erva, e ordinariamente a comem, e com ela andam meios bêbados, e os que são costumados a ela escusam o pombe [vinho indígena feito de milho], porque só com ela se satisfazem." Na edição desta obra publicada em 1999, esclarece-se em nota de rodapé: "’Bangue’ é a deturpação da palavra ‘m–bangui’, termo pelo qual é designado em várias re­giões de Moçambique a ‘suruma’ ou marijuana".

Por outro lado, sabe-se que não passou muito tempo após o estabelecimento da carreira Portugal-India até as drogas vi­sionárias do Oriente fazerem o percurso inverso e chegarem à Cristandade. A pro­pósito, escreveu o investigador Manuel Braz de Magalhães: "[A] difusão da dro­ga (opiáceos, etc.), em Portugal e na Eu­ropa não é um fenômeno das últimas dé­cadas mas uma atração que começou há já 500 anos com o ópio e o haxixe. Já Sá de Miranda, numa carta que escreveu em 1554 diz ‘Entrou há dias peçonha clara pelos nossos portos, sem que remédio se po­nha; uns dormentes, outros mortos, alguém pelas ruas sonha".

Há até notícia de um plano de Afonso de Al­buquerque para tornar Portugal um grande produtor de ópio. Assim, em carta datada de 1 de Dezembro de 1513, enviada da índia a D. Manuel, escreve o primeiro vice-rei da índia: "Se me vos alteza quyser crer, mamday semear dormydeyras das ilhas dos açores em todollos paúes de purtugall, e manday fazer afiam [ópio], que he a melhor mercadoria e cobre pêra estas partes, e em que se ganha dinheiro"; a ideia do vice-rei era vender o ópio aos indianos, pois "a jemte da Imdia perde-se sem elle, se o nam comem".

O OnJack publica, semanalmente, trechos da tradução do livro de Jack Herer, The Emperor Wears no Clothes.



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