Here at Iguazu Falls, the landscape is breathtaking. So is the rainfall. Of course, if you are being drenched by cascades over 300 feet high (in the local Indian dialect, “Iguazu” means “big water”), some precipitation hardly makes much difference. Even if it comes down in sheets.
And judging from the lush jungle vegetation all about us, there is plenty of rain here.
The falls divide the Iguazu River into upper and lower sections. The upper level is in Brazil (as is most of the river’s travels); the lower is in Argentina (with Paraguay’s border close by).
This water delineation was once a major contention between two empires (the Portuguese in Brazil and the Spanish in Argentina), ultimately requiring that Rome intervene. Jesuits on one side of the border had discouraged enslaving the local Guarani Indians; the Portuguese side of the Falls had profited from a heavy trade in humanity.
In the 1750s this came to a head, and a papal emissary was sent to mediate. At stake in Europe was an ongoing power play within the Church and between colonizing nations. The Guarani lost.