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 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 found a document known as Manuscript 512 (links to non-English page), held at the National Library of Rio de Janeiro, believed to be 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 (see Fawcett's own book Exploration Fawcett). 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 support. During 1920 Fawcett undertook a personal expedition to find the city, but withdrew after suffering from fever and having to shoot his pack animal.[1] During a second 1925 expedition, Fawcett, his son Jack, and 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 peoples 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 1925 in the jungle. It contains the ruins of an estimated twenty towns and villages in which an estimated 50,000 people could have once lived.

Popular Culture[edit]

David Grann wrote a 2005 article, "The Lost City of Z", on Fawcett's expeditions and findings, published in The New Yorker. He expanded and developed it into a full-length book of the same title, published in 2009. That work was adapted as a movie of the same name and released in April 2017.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Grann, David (September 19, 2005). "The Lost City of Z". The New Yorker. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ "James Gray's 'The Lost City Of Z' Starts Shooting, Marvel's Spider-Man Tom Holland Joins The Cast". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 


  • Fawcett, Percy and Brian Fawcett. - Lost Trails, Lost Cities',' Funk & Wagnalls (1953)
  • Furneaux, Rupert. The World's Strangest Mysteries. New York: Ace Books, 1961.
  • Thorpe, Vanessa (21 March 2004), "Veil lifts on jungle mystery of the colonel who vanished", The Guardian, retrieved 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.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]