Lost City of Z

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For other uses, see Lost City of Z (disambiguation).

The Lost City of Z is the name given by Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, a British surveyor, to an indigenous city that he claimed existed in the jungle of the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. Based on early histories of South America and his own explorations of the River Amazon region, Fawcett theorized that a complex civilization once existed in the Amazon region and that isolated ruins may have survived.[1] Fawcett then found a document known as Manuscript 512, housed at the National Library of Rio de Janeiro, believed to be by Portuguese bandeirante João da Silva Guimarães (pt) who wrote that during 1753 he'd discovered the ruins of an ancient city that contained arches, a statue, and a temple with hieroglyphics. The city is described in great detail without providing a specific location. This city became a secondary destination for Fawcett after "Z". Manuscript 512 was written after explorations made in the sertão of the province of Bahia, see Fawcett's own book "Exploration Fawcett".

Fawcett was preparing to find "Z" when World War I intervened. During 1920 he attempted on his own to find the city, but withdrew after suffering from fever and shooting his pack animal.[1] During a second 1925 expedition, Fawcett, his son Jack, and Raleigh Rimell disappeared in the Mato Grosso jungle.

David Grann's New Yorker article "The Lost City of Z" (2005) was expanded into a book The Lost City of Z (2009). A movie of the same name based on the book is set to be released on April 14th, 2017.[2]

Possible influences on Fawcett[edit]

There is a possibility that Percy was influenced by information he might have obtained regarding the archaeological site of Kuhikugu, near the headwaters of the River Xingu.[3] Kuhikugu was discovered after Percy's presumed death; it contained twenty ruined towns and villages where almost 50,000 people had once lived.

See also[edit]


  • Fawcett, Percy and Brian Fawcett. - Lost Trails, Lost Cities Funk & Wagnalls (1953)
  • Furneaux, Rupert. The World's Strangest Mysteries. Ace Books. New York. 1961.
  • The Guardian: Veil lifts on jungle mystery of the colonel who vanished. 21 March 2004, URL accessed 19 May 2007.
  • Smith, Warren. Lost Cities of the Ancients-Unearthed!. Zebra Books. New York. 1976.
  • Time: Fawcett of the Mato Grosso. 25 May 1953, URL accessed 18 May 2007.


  1. ^ a b Grann, David (September 19, 2005). "The Lost City of Z". The New Yorker. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  2. ^ "James Gray's 'The Lost City Of Z' Starts Shooting, Marvel's Spider-Man Tom Holland Joins The Cast". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ Grann, David. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. New York: Doubleday Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-0-385-51353-1

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]