"Henry Ford intended to use Fordlândia to provide his company with a source of rubber for the tires on Ford cars, avoiding the dependence on British (Malayan) rubber. The land was hilly, rocky and infertile. None of Ford's managers had the requisite knowledge of tropical agriculture. The rubber trees, packed closely together in plantations, as opposed to being widely spaced in the jungle, were easy prey for tree blight, sauva ants, lace bugs, red spiders, and leaf caterpillars, a problem absent from the Asian rubber plantations, where transplanted Amazonian rubber trees faced no natural predators. The mostly indigenous workers on the plantations, given unfamiliar food such as hamburgers and forced to live in American-style housing, disliked the way they were treated—they had to wear ID badges, and work through the middle of the day under the tropical sun—and would often refuse to work. In 1930 the native workers revolted against the managers, many of whom fled into the jungle for a few days until the Brazilian Army arrived and the revolt ended.
Ford forbade alcohol, women and tobacco within the town, including inside the workers' own homes. The inhabitants circumvented this prohibition by paddling out to merchant riverboats moored beyond town jurisdiction and a settlement was established 8 kilometres (5 mi) upstream on the "Island of Innocence" with bars, nightclubs and brothels."