Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 189
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 189
 
made under the supervision of Colonel Rondon by Lyra, with assistance from Fiala and Kermit. Captain Amilcar handled the worst problem—transportation; the medical member was Doctor Cajazeira.
  At night around the camp-fire my Brazilian companions often spoke of the first explorers of this vast wilderness of western Brazil—men whose very names are now hardly known, but who did each his part in opening the country which will some day see such growth and development. Among the most notable of them was a Portuguese, Ricardo Franco, who spent forty years at the work, during the last quarter of the eighteenth and the opening years of the nineteenth centuries. He ascended for long distances the Xingu and the Tapajos, and went up the Madeira and Guaporé, crossing to the head-waters of the Paraguay and partially exploring there also. He worked among and with the Indians, much as Mungo Park worked with the natives of West Africa, having none of the aids, instruments, and comforts with which even the hardiest of modern explorers are provided. He was one of the men who established the beginnings of the province of Matto Grosso. For many years the sole method of communication between this remote interior province and civilization was by the long, difficult, and perilous route which led up the Amazon and Madeira; and its then capital, the town of Matto Grosso, the seat of the captain-general, with its palace, cathedral, and fortress, was accordingly placed far to the west, near the Guaporé. When less circuitous lines of communication were established farther eastward the old capital was abandoned, and the tropic wilderness surged over the

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