The Cradle of Civilization
Bonnie Wayne McGuire
Contrary to popular opinion, I don't believe civilization began in the eastern hemisphere. The Egyptian priests told the Greek historian, Herodotus, that they descended from the oldest men on earth, who lived in the west. This seems to explain why Egypt suddenly emerged as a highly developed society rather than slowly evolving from a primitive state. It also lends weight to the viewpoint of those scientists who insist that the American continent is the launching site of civilization, because of the tremendous amount of widely scattered fossilized human works found here. Actually it was Plato who pinpoints the location by saying...."the whole region of the island lies towards the south," or below the Equator. If we look at a map of the area, it becomes apparent that South America has all the features of Plato's Atlantis. To begin with, many scientists believe there was no land connecting North and South America during primeval times, therefore making the southern continent easily reached from the Mediterranean Sea. Another prominent feature is the magnificent Andes Mountains (or Quechua Antis) amply sprinkled with the ancient ruins of once wealthy villages containing the fountains and baths so eloquently described by Plato. The mountains form the western border of the large oblong plain. Through the plain meanders the largest river in the world. The Amazon has over 1,000 tributaries with a combined length of 40,000 miles. The main canal begins in the rainforests and lakes of the Andean foothills and gathers the waters of its many tributaries like a gluttonous brown snake over 4,000 miles long. Every second its 208 mile wide mouth disgorges 7,500,000 cubic feet of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean for a distance of 150 miles; and daily dumps enough sediment to form a solid cube of earth equaling 500 feet overall.
The Amazon River
The Amazon was discovered in the year 1499 by a Spanish Captain named Vicente Yanez Pinzon. It became known as La Mar Dulce ..."The Freshwater Sea." The name was appropriate according to author Robin Furneaux, who says that "millions of years before (Pinzon's) his discovery of the river, all its lower course had formed a vast inland gulf, which received the waters of the Amazon, Tocantins, Xingu, Trombetas and many lesser streams. Over 1,000 miles from the mouth, above the cataracts of the Madeira, there was yet another land-locked sea, 400,000 square miles of area on the Bolivian plains. And far away in the Andes, at a height of 12,500 feet, there was yet a third great body of water, larger than Lake Superior and a tenth of whose bed is still occupied by Lake Titicaca...." Furneaux seems to describe the three zones of sea and land that enclosed the hill where Poseidon's Cleito lived. One can also picture Atlantis' fertile plain engineered with a network of streams feeding the 100 foot deep canal that encouraged a flourishing commerce during later times. There can be little doubt that the Amazon River and it's tributaries are the eroded remains of Atlantean technology.
Peruvian rainforest river from Cuzco to Boca Manu.
The mountains, the plain, the rivers and the possibility of the three inland seas are impressive, but probably the most convincing evidence shows that South America, like Atlantis, was submerged during a highly civilized period oddly allotted to the Stone Age when such advanced human ability supposedly didn't exist. This puzzling discovery was made by James Wilson in 1860, and earned him recognition by the Royal Geological Society. Evidently, Wilson traced six terraces in going up from the sea through the province of Esmeraldas towards Quito, Ecuador. At various points along the coast he found ancient or fossil pottery, vessels, images and other manufactured articles all finely made. Some were made of gold, but most remarkable is the fact that they were taken from a stratum of ancient surface earth that was covered with a marine deposit six feet deep. The geological formation where these remains were found was as old as the drift strata of Europe and identical with that of Guayaquil in which the bones of the mastodons are found.
The ancient surface earth, or vegetable mold, with the pottery, gold work and other relics of civilization was below the sea when the marine deposit was spread over it. The civilized land had sunk beneath the ocean long enough to accumulate the six feet  of marine muck, and then rose again to its former position above sea level and was reforested. Startling as it may be, scientists placed this civilization in South America with the time bracket of western Europe's Old Stone Age. You will recall that Plato said western Europe was a possession of Atlantis. Not only did the north-western portion of South America reveal evidence of submersion, but the south-eastern part of the continent as well. Scientists think the Falkland Islands are the exposed mountain tops of land that was once above the now shallow sea. Can you imagine the aftermath of the cataclysm that overwhelmed Atlantis?
In the first place, the movement caused a tremendous Tsunami wave that affected the rest of the world (including the low lying countries along the Mediterranean) disastrously.  The towering Andes Mountains remained above the ocean still dumping the rainy season runoff into the shallow, muddy sea that was the former Atlantean plain in Plato's story. "And that is the reason why the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is such a quantity of shallow mud in the way; caused by the subsidence of the island." Finally, after many centuries had passed, most of the continent rose to its former position above sea level and was reforested. The ruined cities of the eastern foothills were lost midst dense jungle, and treacherous eroded rivers still carried the water and sediment to the sea as they had done centuries before.
In his book "Mysteries of Ancient South America," Harold Wilkins mentions seeing some other ancient articles found near the area of Wilson's discovery that bear a resemblance to ancient Egypt. "When I was at Santa Fe de Bogata, in Columbia....I met one Senor Munoz, a haciendero who owns an estate on the seashore not far from Guayaquil, Ecuador. He sent a diver to fish up statuettes from a drowned and very ancient city lying under water just off shore. The diver came up with artistic statuettes of men and of women whose hair was dressed in a very Egyptian fashion. They had curiously long slanted eyes as you find in frescoes in the tombs of the Pharaohs. On their breasts were jewels carved in stone. The dead and ancient civilization must have been, even then, very, very old; for some of the statuettes are pornographic...a sign that the makers are of a race that has lapsed from a higher state of culture...As said Munos to me: 'Senior Wilkins, it may amaze you to hear that every race in the world is represented in these statuettes, so incredibly ancient...The race had seals like prisms, covered with hieroglyphs. Also I have found ancient convex lenses, under water there, and also reflectors. They were made of obsidian...They must have been scientific opticians, even astronomers."
These discoveries are fascinating, but even more so are the rumors and legends about the lost cities and white Indians that haunted the Brazilian forests like ghostly whispers beckoning the careful listener to search for their hidden treasures. Wilkins searched for such a man of whom he wrote: "There was, for example, Senor Bernardo da Silva Ramos, native of Amazonas, with traits of Tapuyo origin. He sold a collection of rare and ancient coins in order to raise funds to embark on travels all over North and South America, and to Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He became keenly interested in the ancient mysteries of prehistoria, which has a literature of its own in Brazil. Comparing the ancient inscriptions in the lands of the "Old World" with those he found in Central and South America, Senor Ramos filled large folio volumes. The central authorities of Brazil have examined those works, and expressed polite appreciation and interest. In 1928, they voted public money to have one volume published. Both he and Senor Frot have found in the Matto Grosso many inscriptions in the Phoenician, Egyptian, and even Sumerian scripts and hieroglyphics. Senor Ramos points out that his Indian forefathers had many traditions of ancient date about a very ancient culture and advanced civilization flourishing thousands of years ago to the north and west of the Central Highlands of Brazil.
Inca ruins at Sayac Marca
"Now, in the archives of the great public library of Rio, which embodies the large and valuable libraries of the old Kings of Portugal and the emperors of Brazil, and also the records of generations of Lusitanian viceroys, I have found a strange manuscript written in Portuguese, and scarcely 200 years old, but bitten by the copim and badly mutilated in some most fascinating and enthralling passages, which holds a secret  that, in some day not far distant, will revolutionize the fixed and settled theories of college professors of ethnology and archaeology, and the field museum workers of New York, Chicago, London, Paris, Rome and Berlin. Especially will it make hay of their cherished theory that writing was unknown in pre-Columbian South America. For, if the story of strange adventures of hardy and uncultured men which it tells, be true...and I think it is....what we call the old world of Asia and Europe is a mere parvenu by the side of this New world of South America. Our professors and archaeological historians are one day going to be forced to call in this New World to redress the balance of the old!"
What Wilkins discovered was the manuscript of an old bandeirista named Guimaroes regarding his ten year wanderings through the Brazilian wilderness (from 1743 to 1753) in search of legendary silver mines. In the autumn of 1939 Wilkins was given a transcript of the document through Mr. W.G. Burdett, the American Consul-General  in Rio. He then spent many weeks translating it from the original Portuguese. (The same document was translated by Lady Burton in Sir Richard Burton's Explorations of the Highlands of Brazil). Wilkins makes the observation that out of the forty-one figures "twenty are almost identical in form with the letters of the Greek alphabet: kappa, upsilon, zeta, phi, iota, gamma, beta, omicron, sigma, omega, lambda, chi, epsilon, psi (?), theta, nu, while two signs are remarkably like Arabic numerals." Wilkins feels that the inscriptions on the vault covers may be the oldest in the world. I copied the entire translation because the two books containing it are considered rare collectors items difficult to find and expensive to purchase, but very interesting to scholars of antiquity...and treasure hunters.
An observation by the bandit Guimaroes is worth mentioning. He commented that the most heavily ruined part of the city had "frightful crevasses where no living things grew," almost as though the city had been destroyed by some terrible weapon that rendered the soil sterile to plant life thousands of years later. On the surface it sounds incredible that Atlantis may have been blasted into oblivion by advanced technology comparable to our own. Yet there are ancient writings that suggest that is exactly what happened, and we'll study them later. But for now, let's continue our exploration of the ruined cities on the Amazon plain, where, according to Wilkins and others, a highly civilized race of handsome, intelligent men and beautiful women with classic Greek features (of non-Grecian origin) lived between 15,000 and 10,000 B.C. These blond to bright red haired people lived in walled built to hold back the mighty gulf of the Amazon. They had gold coinage, sea-faring vessels, aircraft, cities of glistening white stone and marvelous plazas paved with large flagstones. They built splendid ornate temples and mansions with lovely fountains. They invented lenses and reflectors like those used in astronomical telescopes, and placed peculiar pyramids rounded on top throughout the land bearing letters resembling the Phoenician and Greek alphabet. Their coasts were lit by lighthouses to guide mariners, and native stories compare the lights to our electric bulbs.
Such a light was still in existence when the Spanish arrived. In 1601 Barco  Centenera wrote about Gran Moxo, a city near the beginning of the Paraguay River in the Matto Grasso in which he described such a light: "In the middle of the lake was an island on which were buildings of great beauty...The mansion of the Lord, the Gran Moxo, was built of white stone to the very roof. It had two very high towers at its entrance, and a stairway in the middle. At a pillar in the middle on the right were two live lions. They crouched at its sides, in chains of gold. On the summit of this pillar, twenty-five feet high, was a great moon dispelling darkness and shadows by night and day...that all appeared bright."
A similar light was described to the famous Colonel Fawcett by an Indian in the Matto Grosso frontier town of Cuyaba: "These buildings in my forests are of great age. They are loftier by far than these, and they have doors and windows of stone. Their interior is lit up by a great square crystal on a pillar. So bright does it shine that it makes the eyes blink and dazzle. It is a light that never goes out. My forefathers knew it of old. Always it has burnt undimmed. It is a tower-like building which has partly fallen down, but from the doors and windows always shines a light."
On March 23, 1773, about thirty years after the bandeirista Guimaroes penned his discovery, another accidental find of an old lost Brazilian city was recorded in the archives of sao Paulo. It was found in the unknown wilds of the Rio Pequery by a fisherman who jumped onto a sandbank to retrieve some wild oranges and limes. He noticed a curiously shaped large stone that resembled a grindstone of a mill-wheel. Nearby were the ruins of a house and an ancient stone wall. Later he reported it to the Commandant of the fort of Iquatemy, who went with some men to investigate. This is what was recorded: "This ancient city is regularly laid out, and is of large size. It had a street that is half a league long. The city stood on the banks of two rivers and had a walled suburb. Moats stood between the city and the suburb...we unearthed two more of the strange mill-wheels, while we were making a stockade. All round are dense forests... the old men of the countryside have traditions that a city stood on this spot which was called Guayra."
Probably the most impressive ruined city was found during an expedition led by a mysterious German doctor of science and philosophy from Hamburg. The story was told to Harold Wilkins by a Columbian participant who appeared to be ill with malaria and badly emaciated. Apparently, the explorers left Obidos, Brazil (around 1926) headed for an unknown country in the wilderness. After many days, they and their canoes were well up a tributary of the Rio Negro on the way to an Amazon tributary's headwater area. Wilson figures this expedition was somewhere on the unknown borders of North-western Brazil and Southern Venezuela in the upper Orinoco country. The following is the Columbian's story:" After we quitted the rivers, the landscape changed. No more green hells of verdure and lofty forest aisles where gloom and death lie waiting at the feet of giant trees.

 "We left that inferno verde behind, and the country began to ascend. In a land of dry scrub, with few brooks or springs, we left far behind us too, the booming drums of the wild Indians we never saw, who were signaling our passing through their territories. I noticed, one day, that all deer and wild animals we met fled from us at sight. It looked as if they feared something in this mysterious country....something unknown. this was many days after the last vestiges of the forest had faded into the dim, blue distance far back towards the Amazon. Then, one day, we came on a strange, stone object shrouded in bush and creepers. It was a stone monument, looking like this, senor..." The Columbian drew a diagram that was shaped like a cut through the shorter axis of an ellipse. "Our leader, the German doctor, said it was an ancient pyramid, and began to look around for inscriptions, ancient writing, or what he called hieroglyphics. Some weeks later, I remember, we stood in a deep gorge through which raced a tumultuous current of deep, crystal waters, pure as though newly born from the snows of the giant Andes. Looking up, our leader, glancing through his Zeiss binoculars, pointed out to us, where far up on the farther wall of the canon, an ancient paved road ran. It cleft a wall of the upper cliff, from which it issued, and then it came to an abrupt end on the shelf of a precipice, as if, in a far day, some giant earthquake had toppled the rest of the road into boulders of the stream we stood gazing at.
"We camped in the gorge and spent some days exploring. A week later, we built a bridge across the gorge, by felling a tree growing on our side, and passed over to explore the ancient road. It was well paved with finely masoned and squared blocks of stone, hard as granite. We followed the road into a long tunnel cut through the cliff walls, and once in the sunlight, found ourselves on the hither side of a tremendous gulf, on the dim floor of which, far below, we faintly discerned some strange objects like queer buildings of no sort we had ever seen before. The paved way sent us ever climbing up the side of the precipices and, at last, brought us to where we could look down into another tremendous gorge or ravine. What we saw here took our breath away....A dead city of towering palaces, splendid ruins, temples, with more of the carved pillars and strange pyramids, mostly covered up with ages of trees and jungle. There were magnificent gardens where stood broken and aged fountains which once must have spouted with cool waters. Below us was an ancient wall, so high up, that trees of the forests below barely reached its summit. We walked further along the ancient way and came to where two queer thin towers, one shaped like the...(virile member)...the other had a top like a pear very rounded at the base. Close by, at the foot of two other walls were many small stone houses...
"Here we ambushed and caught a dwarfish man, about four feet tall, with very red eyes. He had a thick bushy beard that reached below his waist, but his arm muscles were fat and big. Round his waist was a queer leather belt with gold...pure gold buckles of some sort. Otherwise, he was nearly nude. We met others of these pygmy men, and all had a most sickly sort of white skin...Yes, senor, white as yours, and not like an Indian's or a greasers! It was the white of old yellowed ivory...We found they had women and they with beautiful faces, long hair, and either red or bluish eyes. They too were nude and their hair reached almost to their feet. The German said they were Greek in type...ancient Greek. They wore gold bracelets on their arms, and gold necklets. But their strange red eyes shone like a jaguars in the firelight. What scared them were the reports of our guns. They'd never seen such things before."
The Columbian told Wilkins that he and the others explored a great pyramid temple with an interior that blazed with gold. It sheathed the pillars, the roofs and the walls. Strange letters were engraved on the gold plates. Some places in the ancient city were impossible to reach. The white men with the red eyes appeared to be the degenerate descendants of an ancient race. They lived on goat meat, cheese and milk.
"In some of the pyramid temples we entered, we saw deep, blue-veined marble altars stained with blood, or rust. Perhaps of ancient sacrifices, or maybe of some horrible cult of the decayed remnants of this very ancient civilization....But the gold, senor, not even the Incas had so much to hide when Don Francisco Pizarro killed the Emperor Atahualpha. High overhead, there were alcoves or galleries actually stuffed with splendid gold objects, vessels, chains, chalices, insignia, and shields and plates engraved with the strange hieroglificos. Some of these plates were three or four inches thick...all solid gold, tons...kilogram's...of it, senor. I took one of the gold knives in one of the temples. Eight or ten of them had been attached to one of the pillars. The hilts and the blades were marvelously chased and engraved, as by the finest goldsmiths ever known. Looking up, in another splendid ruined stone building, which cut into the side of a hill, I staggered with amazement to see eight glorious suns, of pure, shining, blazing gold from which rays were made to shine out like stars. Groups of handsome men, beautiful women, naked youths and maidens were carved on the walls of this mausoleum, and over their heads and shoulders, like the halo of nimbus round the head of the Virgin, and the Saints or God, shone stars or moons of pure, shining gold. Chains hung down from the alcoves and pillars, and friezes were inscribed with the strange signs in rows...Did I tell you, senor, that each of the dwarfs in the outskirts of this dead city, hiding either in tunnels, or rooms in the rock, or the little stone houses we saw, carried a long curved knife of pure gold? It was not valued here. I could tell you a lot more...especially about a queer sort of lock, like a stick with nine rings, each ring forming one of the queer letters or hieroglificos, which we found on a gold chain in one of the queer pyramids. Apparently, you turned it to form a combination to open or lock the fetters..." The Columbian said that the members of the expedition took all the gold they could carry when they departed from the lost city; and because of the heavy burden they carried, most of the explorers were caught and killed by hostile Indians.
The Prophet (Coricancha Inca Sun Temple - Cusco)
Probably one of the most prestigious expeditions organized to search for the lost cities of the Matto Grasso was that of the Krupps of Essen, the German armament manufacturers. During the early part of this century they organized a large expedition of armed men, guides, Indians and pack animals and started their journey into the unknown wilds of Brazil. The large group frightened the ferocious Indians to retreat into the dense bush, only to reveal their presence at night with showers of poisoned arrows. During the day drums continually beat warnings of the approaching explorers. Many tribes of the Matto Grasso were fierce cannibals and head hunters. There were miles of marsh and swamp, the bleak foothills of the Chapada and barren scrub of the Catinga that lay between the explorers and the "White Mountains" where the legendary white Indians and the dead cities were said to be. A wild region that geologists believe was one of the first areas to emerge from the primeval floods of the Miocene Age of the Teritiary epoch....considered to be the oldest land on earth.
Needless to say, the large Krupp expedition had to turn back to save men and animals from starvation in the hostile environment....a fate that befell many Spanish explorers centuries earlier. While the Krupp expedition was the biggest, the most  famous explorer of the Brazilian plain was Colonel Percy Harrison Faucet. Even now, any unlikely news about him would probably cause newsworthy ripples. Fawcett was an imposing figure 6' 2" tall and built like a prize fighter. He weighed a hard 200 pounds and was an athlete obsessed with keeping fit.

Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett commented, "Whether we get through, and emerge again, or leave our bones to rot in there, one things for certain. The answer to the enigma of Ancient South America...and perhaps of the prehistoric world...may be found when those old cities are located and opened up to scientific research. That the cities exist, I know..." Fawcett despised alcohol and tobacco. His physical strength and stamina was only surpassed by his iron will and contempt for any weakness he might possess. In all his years in the tropics he was ill only once to which he pointed with shame. His resistance to disease was unique, since so many other South American explorers were either thwarted or killed by it. He was a mystic, a spiritualist, loved the wild, unspoiled Indians, and hated the needless slaughter of animals for sport. Next to his family, his greatest love was the call of the wilderness and the mysteries it hid. Like a true explorer he was happy to return to his family, but would eventually grow restless and long for the quest of the unknown, unmindful of the muggy heat, squalor, insects, reptiles and formidable Indians in his Amazon world. Fawcett's career began when he was commissioned in the Royal Artillery in 1886. He spent his early years in Trincomalee, Ceylon where he married Nina, and learned to be a surveyor. During this period he became keenly interested in archaeology and grew accustomed to long treks into the jungle where no one else went. One day he and a native were caught in a storm and were forced to spend a miserable night under the trees. Towards dawn, the storm let up and a ground mist shrouded everything. When it lifted, Fawcett stared in astonishment, for it was like the unveiling of an ancient tablet of the gods. Before him was an immense rock covered with large  glyphs. He made a copy of the inscriptions and upon his return to civilization, he  eagerly questioned a learned Sinhalese priest. The glyphs were a form of Asoda, of the old a cipher only the ancient priests understood. This priest thought the inscriptions recorded that an immense treasure had been placed beneath the boulder during a time of calamity thousands of years earlier. Later, Fawcett made the same inquiry at the Oriental Institute at Oxford where a renown authority told him that the inscriptions were definitely an ancient form of Asoda, and that he would have to visit the site in order to take a rubbing....since the meaning of the characters changed according to the sun's rays. Only then would he be able to decode it. As it turned out , Fawcett could never find the place or the boulder again.

Twenty-two years passed, during which time Fawcett became a distinguished Colonel. In 1906 he volunteered for boundary delineation work in Bolivia. The Amazon frontiers of Brazil, Peru and Bolivia had never been settled, and with the increasing demand for rubber, it became vital to the various provinces. Independent survey teams were appointed, with Fawcett working for the Royal Geographical Society engaged by the Bolivian government. During the years 1906 to 1913, he covered almost all the vast Amazonian frontiers of Bolivia. He also became intensely interested in the continent's literature and folklore of the Indians and other explorers. Naturally, he stumbled across the old Portugese manuscript of the bandeirista. One can imagine his excitement when he saw the similarity between the glyphs on the vault covers in the dead city and those he found on the boulder in Ceylon!
Colonel Fawcett's map.
In 1913 Lieutenant-Colonel O'Sullivan was given a blank map by Fawcett on which he was to fill in the route he took through that part of the Bahian sertao leading to the ruined cities. In 1921 Fawcett used this apparently accurate map to find them. He wrote: "I went alone; for I know I should have much less need to fear the Indians, who will not attack a man alone who meets them fairly. I reached the catinga in the serra, northwards of Bahia...and in the midst of primeval woods, stood before  me a mass of jumbled ruins. The city had been a walled one of ancient date. Here, wreathed in jungle and bush there stood a giant monolith crowned by a weather worn figure, carved in stone..."There was no jungle which the walls of these ancient cities served as defense. Those walls must have acted as breakwaters in a far off day when the sea reached far inland. The openings in their walls are arched, filled in with masonry, and have no doors. So they feared no attack from any jungle, but from the encroachments of the sea. Each city was destroyed by an earthquake...All the Indians in South America have traditions of their ancestors being ruled by men of a white race very advanced in the arts of civilization."
Fawcett's observations of the cities is one more example that two people looking at the same object will see something entirely different according to individual intellect and experience. He had a remarkable knowledge of pre-historic South America. He often quoted von Humbolt's story of Friar Narcissus Gilbar, and talked about the wonderful books of hieroglyphic paintings found among the Indians in the Peruvian montana at Ucayle, near the Amazon headwaters.
Many scholars read Plato's account of Atlantis, but continue to search for a sunken island in the Atlantic closer to Europe and Africa, but Fawcett, like myself, must have noticed that Plato's geography fits South America. He became even more convinced after seeing the ruins and strange glyphs that brought the legends to life. So when Rider Haggard gave him an unusual black basalt statuette, he took it to the British Museum for analysis. It was clearly of South American origin, but they declared that if it was genuine it was beyond their experience. Naturally curious, but with no other place to inquire, Fawcett then consulted a psychometrist who held the statue in one hand and with the other hand wrote that it belonged to an advanced civilization stretching from South America to Africa. It's people were advanced in power and material wealth, but were morally degenerate and given to the practice of the black arts. Violent earthquakes shook the land, and the sea rolled over the kingdom. The time of it's destruction occurred long before the rise of Egypt.
Fawcett knew he was on the right track, but needed more proof. How does one prove anything if  the leading authorities don't know anything about it? He was fifty-seven years of age when (in 1925) he invited his son Jack and their friend Raleigh Rimell to accompany him to explore an area he considered very important. Prior to their departure from Cuyuba, he mentioned to Dr. Clark Wissler of the New York Historical Museum that he'd been told by a dying man about the location of a lost city in the "White Mountains," where a strange light burned. No one else knew about it. Wissler said Fawcett was convinced he knew what was there and where to look for it, but was very secretive. At one time the Colonel had planned to use a hydroplane to help him descend from the headwaters of one of the rivers flowing to the ruined cities in the Brazilian White Mountains, but he eventually abandoned the idea. Instead, the three men decided to leave the frontier town of Cuyaba, in the western Matto Grosso heading north, swing north-east across the Xingu, cross over to the Araguaia, then to the Tocatins, reach the Sao Francisco and follow it down to the coast. The exact course is unknown, but its outline suggests it was one of the most dangerous and difficult in the history of exploration. Unfortunately, Fawcett, his son Jack, and Raleigh Rimell faded into the jungle and disappeared forever. But Fawcett's memory will live on to inspire others endowed with the unquiet nature of the true explorer to listen and follow their dreams without fear of ridicule. His vast knowledge of the continent's ancient history convinced him that it was Atlantis...but the fierce and relentless wilderness was determined to keep it's secret.
It is only a matter of time and technology before the hidden treasures of the eastern plain are unveiled. In 1979 an engineer and economist took the first step to open up the interior of South America. The Romanian born brothers Paul and Constintine Georgecu sold a house and apartment, then spent part of their savings to undertake what they called the "Latin American Friendship and Integration" expedition. Aboard their thirty-two foot boat "Niculina" they proved that river communication in South America is finally a possibility. They began their journey at Margarita Island in Venezuela from which they steamed to Buenos Aires, then to the Casiquiare and Rio Negro and on to the Amazon in the heart of Brazil. Next they traveled up the Madeira which empties into the Amazon from the south, and on into the Rio de la Plata at Buenos Aires. The expedition's return trip to Venezuela was similar with slight variations. Altogether they traveled 24,000 miles by river in two years. They planned another 13,000 mile river journey from Argentina, across the Caribbean, up the Mississippi, the Great Lakes and on to Quebec, Canada.
The Georgecus' were mainly interested in South America's potential for growth using river commerce. One can see why. The Continent has thirty percent of the worlds fresh water, one third of its forestland, fishing cattle, agriculture, abundant minerals and energy. But most of these riches are untapped because nobody can get them out. The brothers were convinced that the continent's river network could transform the wild interior into a land of plenty. Paul, the engineering professor at Simon Bolivar University in Caracus, estimated that the cost of linking all of South America through its rivers would cost at least $50 billion....but since the governments were mired in debt, he didn't think that the financing for the river project would be available some time. In 1983 Peru's President Fernando Belaunde Terry and some other South American presidents made part of the trip to the Bolivar bicentennial ceremonies in Venezuela by river aboard the "Amazonia" to show his support of continental integration through waterways. No doubt the future restoration of these ancient Atlantean waterways will reveal a whole new world lying dormant beneath the swampy jungles of this forgotten prehistoric land.