Tag Archives: 20s

Fordlandia, an American city in the middle of the Amazon

Photo from the archives of The Henry Ford Foundation/ Flickr

The story of Fordlandia, the now-abandoned pre-fabricated industrial town established by American mogul Henry Ford in the Amazon in the late 20s, is revealed by a new documentary directed by Marinho Andrade and Daniel Augusto. The 51-minute production is beginning to tour film festivals.

Ford invested a little fortune in the project on the banks of Tapajós river, close to Santarém, to secure a source of cultivated rubber for his car assembly lines in Michigan, US. The area was a concession of the Brazilian government. At the time, Fordlandia was one of the most modern cities in the North of the country, with a complete water, sewage and energy infrastructure.

Today, Fordlandia is a mere memory –  as the directors put it, it exposes the “ruins of the capitalist dream”. The documentary tries to understand the reasons behind its failure, which include a malaria outburst, the leaf blight that hit the saplings and a workers riot .

This video clip will give you a little taste of Fordlandia’s days of glory and decadence. It is narrated in English, with subtitles in Portuguese, but some interviews in Portuguese lack subtitles in English.

Also, Atlas Obscura has a really nice set of pictures.