Russell C. Coile
home. The Emperor of Brazil visited Philadelphia during the
1876 celebrations and was very impressed by the parks he
saw. When he returned to Brazil he built a Royal Botanical
Garden of 2,000 acres right in Rio. He had plants, fl owers and
trees imported from all over the world for his Garden. He also
had a zoo with a variety of animals imported from all over.
When we were in Brazil in 1980, the garden had hundreds
of homeless people living there. They had killed and eaten
all of the animals in the zoo and anything edible growing,
like coffee for example. Among our other simple pleasures,
we would stop in a small park a block from our apartment
to watch ants. These were leaf-cutting ants that would come
out of their nest in the ground near a tree, climb the tree to a
height of ten feet or more, cut a leaf, and then carry this sail-
like piece of leaf back down the tree to their nest. They did all
of this in single fi le and it was amazing how each ant would
sort of shake hands with the ants he or she met as if to ask
"Am I on the correct path?" "Thanks, partner."
We met some Quakers who worked for the United
Nations who lived in Brasilia, the new Capitol of Brazil. They
insisted we come and visit them for a weekend. We made
arrangements to fl y it is about 700 miles from Rio in the
direction of nowhere. The joke among Rio folks is that a gift
from heaven would be a round trip ticket from Brasilia to Rio.
About 1956, the President of Brazil suddenly decided to build
a new capitol city in the middle of nowhere within four years.
He told all the foreign embassies that each would be given 20-
acres and they must build and move there or he would cut off
diplomatic relations with their country. The United States was
upset. They had just spent several years building the largest
American Embassy in the World in Rio, which would soon
become the largest American Consulate in the world.
Juscelino Kubitscheck, the president had two architects,
Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer and the three of them made
all decisions. The Capitol was built to have perhaps 500,000
residents now, but everything was built for the estimated
population of 100 years in the future. The government offi ce