Great expeditions to the Amazon

“Grandes Expedições à Amazônia Brasileira”, written by environmentalist and educator João Meirelles Filho and recently published by Editora Metalivros, is a little gem for those interested in the history of the Amazon region and the very diverse agenda of men and women that explored the region during the last century. The author, that works for Instituto Peabiru, a non profit based in Belém, follows the steps of religious missionaries, Army officers in charge of surveilling the country’s borders, scientists looking for new species and artists in search of inspiration. Among his characters, Silvino Santos, the Amazon first filmmaker, Percy Fawcett, the British explorer that disappeared in the mid-twenties looking for a mythical city in the region, the Cousteau family, sculptor Frans Krajcberg and Botanical painter Margaret Mee.

This is, in fact, a sequel – two years ago Meirelles published a similar book covering 42 expeditions to the Amazon that happened between 1500 and 1930, including those led by writer Euclides da Cunha and naturalists Karl Friedrich von Martius and Johann Baptiste von Spix.

Check some of the amazing images included in the new publication:

Jean-Michel Cousteau dives after a mata-mata tortoise ("Chelus fimbriatus"). Photo by Tim Trabon, 2007

Primatologist Márcio Ayres, one of the most respected conservationists of the Amazon region, in the igarapós (flooded forests) of Mamirauá, the region he helped protect. Photo by Luiz Cláudio Marigo, 1985
Frans Krajcberg among mosquitoes and butterflies in Juruena, Mato Grosso, in a photo taken by João Meirelles Filho, 1985
Margaret Mee scents buds of the rare cactus "Strophocactus wittii". Photo by Tony Morrison, 1988
Gérard and Margi Moss collect water from the Rio Negro river with their amphibian airplane. Photo by Nicolas Reynard