William Chandless

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William Chandless in 1880
The Chandless tomb, St Marys, Paddington

William Chandless (7 November 1829[1]–5 May 1896)[2] was an English explorer of the Amazon Basin in the 1860s.


During his time in the Amazon he lived in Manaus (now the capital of Brazil's Amazonas state) from where he explored many of the Amazon River's southern tributaries and contacted various indigenous tribes. Arawá, the extinct language after which the Arauan language group is named, is only known from a short list of words he collected in 1867.

Chandless sent reports of his expeditions to the Royal Geographical Society, which published them in its journal. In 1866, following his survey of the Purus River, the Society awarded him its Patron's Medal.

Death and legacy[edit]

Chandless died in London and is buried with his uncle, Henry Gore Chandless (1802 - 6 February 1893), and grandfather, Thomas Chandless (1760 - 11 April 1823) in an impressive tomb, north-east of St Mary's Church in Paddington, London.

Recently, in 2003, a new national park on Brazil's border with Peru, Chandless State Park, was named in his honour.[3] A river running through the area has also been named after him.