Lost City of Z

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The British surveyor Percy Fawcett in 1911, who believed an indigenous city, which he called "the Lost City of Z", had existed in the Brazilian jungle.

The Lost City of Z is the name given by Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, a British surveyor, to an indigenous city that he believed had existed in the jungle of the Mato Grosso state of Brazil. Based on early histories of South America and his own explorations of the Amazon River region, Fawcett theorized that a complex civilization once existed there, and that isolated ruins may have survived.[1]

History[edit]

Fawcett found a document known as Manuscript 512 [pt], held at the National Library of Brazil, believed to have been written by Portuguese bandeirante, João da Silva Guimarães. Da Silva wrote that during 1753, he had discovered the ruins of an ancient city that contained arches, a statue, and a temple with hieroglyphics. He described the city ruins in great detail without giving its location.

Manuscript 512 was written after explorations made in the sertão of the province of Bahia.[i] Fawcett intended to pursue finding this city as a secondary goal after "Z". He was preparing an expedition to find "Z" when World War I broke out and the British government suspended its support (Fawcett returned to Britain and served on the Western Front during the war). In 1920, Fawcett undertook a personal expedition to find the city, but withdrew after suffering a fever and having to shoot his pack animal.[1] On a second expedition five years later, Fawcett, his son Jack, and Jack's friend Raleigh Rimell, disappeared in the Mato Grosso jungle.

Possible influences on Fawcett[edit]

Researchers believe that Fawcett may have been influenced in his thinking by information he might have obtained from indigenous people about the archaeological site of Kuhikugu, near the headwaters of the Xingu River.[2] Kuhikugu was discovered by Westerners after Fawcett's presumed death in the jungle in 1925. The site contains the ruins of an estimated twenty towns and villages in which as many as 50,000 people might once have lived.

In popular culture[edit]

In 2005, the American journalist David Grann published an article in The New Yorker on Fawcett's expeditions and findings, called "The Lost City of Z".[1] In 2009, he developed it into a book of the same title, and in 2016, it was adapted by writer-director James Gray into a film also of the same name starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, and Sienna Miller.[3]

In the 2018 video game Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft uncovers relics of Fawcett's final doomed search of the Lost City considerably farther west in Peru.

Recent development[edit]

The discovery of large geometrical earthworks in interfluvial settings of southern Amazonia support Fawcett’s theory.[4]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See Fawcett's book Exploration Fawcett (1953).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Grann, David (September 19, 2005). "The Lost City of Z". The New Yorker. LXXXI (28): 56–81. ISSN 0028-792X.
  2. ^ Grann, David (2009). The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-51353-1.
  3. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (August 19, 2015). "James Gray's 'The Lost City Of Z' Starts Shooting, Marvel's Spider-Man Tom Holland Joins The Cast". IndieWire. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  4. ^ Jonas Gregorio de Souza et. al (March 27, 2018). "Pre-Columbian earth-builders settled along the entire southern rim of the Amazon". Nature.com. Retrieved 2018-03-29.

Sources[edit]

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