Background information: The last confirmed sighting of the legendary British explorer Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, his son Jack, and his friend Raleigh Rimmell was in the Amazon jungle on 29th May 1925 shortly before they disappeared into the unknown and unexplored territory of Brazil's Mato Grosso region.
Colonel Fawcett's final written words, dated 29th May 1925, were to his wife Nina Fawcett:
“My dear Nina,
The attempt to write is fraught with much difficulty, thanks to the legions of flies that pester one from dawn till dusk – and sometimes all through the night! The worst are the tiny ones that are smaller than a pinhead, almost invisible, but sting like a mosquito. Clouds of them are always present. Millions of bees add to the plague, and other bugs galore, stinging horrors that get all over ones hands. Even the head nets won’t keep them out, and as for mosquito nets, the pests fly through them! It is quite maddening.
We hope to get through this region in a few days, and are camped here for a while to arrange for the return of the peons, who are anxious to get back, having had enough of it – and I don’t blame them. We go on with eight animals – three saddle mules, four cargo mules, and a madrinha, a leading animal which keeps the others together. Jack is well and fit and getting stronger every day, even though he suffers a bit from insects.
I myself am bitten or stung by ticks, and these piums, as they call the tiny ones, all over the body. It is Raleigh I am anxious about. He still has one leg in a bandage but won’t go back. So far we have plenty of food and no need to walk, but I am not sure how long this will last. There may be little for the animals to eat as we head further in. I cannot hope to stand up on this journey better than Jack or Raleigh – my extra years tell, though I do my best to make up for it with enthusiasm - but I had to do this.
I calculate that I shall contact the Indians in about a week, perhaps ten days, when we should be able to reach the much talked-about waterfall.
Here we are at Dead Horse Camp, Lat. 110 43’ S and 540 35’ W, the spot where my horse died in 1920. Only his white bones remain. We can bathe ourselves here, but the insects make it a matter of great haste. Nevertheless, the season is good. It is very cold at night and fresh in the morning, but the insects and heat are out in full force come mid-day, and from then until evening it is sheer misery in camp.
You need have no fear of any failure ....”
Reading through the collection of Colonel Fawcett's final correspondence, it is clear that he had no doubt that the Lost City he had named 'Z' did exist. He was also convinced it would be discovered in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, much of which at the time was uncharted territory.
Fawcett Expedition Map
View Large Fawcett Amazon Jungle Expedition Maps
He had based his beliefs in part on what the Indians had told him about Lost Cities in the Amazon jungle. Even his second before last letter - nine days before he disappeared, mentions one such tale.
Correspondence from Colonel fawcett dated May 20th 1925
"I saw the Indian chief Roberto and had a talk with him.
Under the expanding influence of wine he corroborated all my Cuyaba friend told me, and more. Owing to what his grandfather had told him, he always wanted to make the journey to the waterfall, but is now tot old. He is of the opinion that bad Indians are numerous there, but committed himself to the statement that his ancestors had built the old cities. This I am inclined to doubt, for he, like the Mechinaku Indians, is of the brown or Polynesian type, and it is the fair or red type I associate with the cities."
These rumors he had heard also seem to have been collabrated by the document he found in the library archives at Rio de Janeiro in 1920. Labeled manuscript (No. 512) it stated that somewhere back in the early 1600s, a half- Portuguese, half-Indian, known to the natives as Muribeca, discovered mines of silver, gold and precious stones. When he died in about 1622, the secret of these valuable mines died with him. But more importantly to Fawcett, it also mentioned a Portuguese expedition to the Amazon in 1743 that discovered ruins of an immense abandoned city built of stone. Strange hieroglyphs were found on some of the stone monuments, hinting at a long lost civilization. ( Read English translation of Manuscript 512 )
Fawcett surmised that this Lost City existed could be 11,000 years old and may contain much gold. Perhaps this fabulous place was one of the Sete Cidades (Seven Cities), for which the conquistadors had searched in vain for centuries, or the fabled Lost City of El Dorado.
He hypothesized that Z might be the capital of fabled Atlantis, or that it may also have had some connection to the ancient Celts, a fair-skinned, red- or blonde-haired people, the descendants of which Fawcett claimed to have seen during his travels in the area.
Although he had never stumbled across any ancient stone cities on his many previous sorties, it did nothing to cause him any doubt that a Lost City was waiting to be discovered. He was well aware of how vast the Amazon jungle was and that most of it was unexplored.
A further extract from Colonel Fawcett's May 20th 1925 letter.
"A letter will be sent back from our last point, where our peons return and leave us to our own devices. I expect to be in touch with the old civilization within a month, and to be at the main objective in August. Thereafter, our fate is in the lap of the gods!"
His last point was Dead Horse Camp.
On the 29th May 1925, in the Matto Grosso region deep within the Amazon Jungle, Colonel Fawcett, his son Jack Fawcett and his friend Raleigh Rimmell, leave Dead Horse Camp to enter the uncharted territory never to be seen or heard from again.
Col. Percy Fawcett
This thrilling and mysterious account of Fawcett's ten years of travels in forests and death-filled rivers in search of a secret city was compiled from manuscripts, letters and logbooks by his son. The disappearance of Colonel Fawcett in the Matto Grosso remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of today. In 1925 Fawcett was convinced that he had discovered the location of a lost city; he had set out with two companions, one of whom was his eldest son, to destination 'Z', never to be heard of again. His younger son, Brian Fawcett, has compiled this book from letters and records left by his father whose last written words to his wife were: 'You need have no fear of any failure...' Fawcett had tried to find lost cities for ten years: ' That the cities exist I know'. a book of great power….should be read by everyone Daily Telegraph
Coming 2010 - The new novel that continues Fawcett's quest to find his Lost City of Z
An Unexpected Adventure front cover