Ingredients for an exotic dish: health and diet on the agenda of the first Amazonian Medical Congress (Belém, 1939)

Abstract The context in which the first Amazonian Medical Congress was organized and held in Belém, Brazil, in August 1939, is presented. Within the tradition of scientific communication of its time, the event brought together some of the region’s medical elites and also had nationally and internationally renowned guest participants, including Josué de Castro and Dante Costa. Taking the printed matter produced by the congress and news stories printed in the local press as its main sources, this study examines the accompanying debates on dietary deficiencies in the Amazon, observing academic and political understandings of the different aspects of the phenomenon for the region.