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

Page 158

maps made and much other scientific work accomplished, but posts were established and telegraph-lines constructed. When Colonel Rondon began the work he was a major. He was given two promotions, to lieutenant-colonel and colonel, while absent in the wilderness. His longest and most important exploring trip, and the one fraught with most danger and hardship, was begun by him in 1909, on May 3d, the anniversary of the discovery of Brazil. He left Tapirapoan on that day, and he reached the Madeira River on Christmas, December 25, of the same year, having descended the Gy-Paraná. The mouth of this river had long been known, but its upper course for half its length was absolutely unknown when Rondon descended it. Among those who took part under him in this piece of exploration were the present Captain Amilcar and Lieutenant Lyra; and two better or more efficient men for such wilderness work it would be impossible to find. They acted as his two chief assistants on our trip. In 1909 the party exhausted all their food, including even the salt, by August. For the last four months they lived exclusively on the game they killed, on fruits, and on wild honey. Their equipage was what the men could carry on their backs. By the time the party reached the Madeira they were worn out by fatigue, exposure, and semi-starvation, and their enfeebled bodies were racked by fever.
  The work of exploration accomplished by Colonel Rondon and his associates during these years was as remarkable as, and in its results even more important than, any similar work undertaken elsewhere on the globe at or about the same time. Its value was recognized in Brazil.