Lost City of Z

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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]


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.

Fawcett found a document known as Manuscript 512, held at the National Library of Brazil, believed to have been written by Portuguese bandeirante João da Silva Guimarães. According to the document, in 1753, a group of bandeirantes discovered the ruins of an ancient city that contained arches, a statue and a temple with hieroglyphs. 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.[2] 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 from 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.

Researchers believe that Fawcett may have been influenced in his thinking by information obtained from indigenous people about the archaeological site of Kuhikugu, near the headwaters of the Xingu River.[3] After Fawcett's presumed death in the jungle, Kuhikugu was discovered by Westerners 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. The discovery of other large geometrical earthworks in interfluvial settings of southern Amazonia has since been recognised as supporting Fawcett’s theory.[4][5]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2005, the American journalist David Grann published an article in The New Yorker on Fawcett's expeditions and findings, titled "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, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller.[6]

A hunt for "The Lost City of D" forms the plot of the 2022 film The Lost City.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Grann, David (September 19, 2005). "The Lost City of Z". The New Yorker. Vol. LXXXI, no. 28. pp. 56–81. ISSN 0028-792X.
  2. ^ Fawcett & Fawcett 1953.
  3. ^ Grann, David (2009). The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-51353-1.
  4. ^ de Sousa, Jonas Gregório; et al. (March 27, 2018). "Pre-Columbian earth-builders settled along the entire southern rim of the Amazon". Nature Communications. 9 (1): 1125. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03510-7. PMC 5871619. PMID 29588444.
  5. ^ "Lost city with pyramids found in impenetrable Amazon jungle". The Times. London, Eng.
  6. ^ 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. Archived from the original on December 10, 2015. Retrieved 2017-12-15.


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