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

Page 326

It was astonishing before, when we were on a river of about the size of the upper Rhine or Elbe, to realize that no geographer had any idea of its existence. But, after all, no civilized man of any grade had ever been on it. Here, however, was a river with people dwelling along the banks, some of whom had lived in the neighborhood for eight or ten years; and yet on no standard map was there a hint of the river’s existence. We were putting on the map a river, running through between five and six degrees of latitude—of between seven and eight if, as should properly be done, the lower Aripuanan is included as part of it—of which no geographer, in any map published in Europe, or the United States, or Brazil had even admitted the possibility of the existence; for the place actually occupied by it was filled, on the maps, by other—imaginary—streams, or by mountain ranges. Before we started, the Amazonas Boundary Commission had come up the lower Aripuanan and then the eastern branch, or upper Aripuanan, to 8° 48´, following the course which for a couple of decades had been followed by the rubbermen, but not going as high. An employee, either of this commission or of one of the big rubbermen, had been up the Castanho, which is easy of ascent in its lower course, to about the same latitude, not going nearly as high as the rubbermen had gone; this we found out while we ourselves were descending the lower Castanho. The lower main stream, and the lower portion of its main affluent, the Castanho, had been commercial highways for rubbermen and settlers for nearly two decades, and, as we speedily found, were as easy to traverse as the upper