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|Born||1934 or 1935|
|Died|| (aged 26) |
|Cause of death||Killed by the Panará, an uncontacted Amazonian tribe|
|Resting place||Cemitério dos Ingleses, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Alma mater||Magdalen College, Oxford|
Richard Maurice Ledingham Mason –3 September 1961) was a British explorer and the last British person to have been killed by an uncontacted indigenous tribe.(1934/5
Mason was born in Hastings, Sussex.[ citation needed ] He was educated at Lancing College, and then read medicine at Magdalen College, Oxford. While at university he became involved with the Royal Geographical Society and made friends that would share his love of exploration.[ citation needed ] In 1958, with fellow Oxford undergraduate Robin Hanbury-Tenison, he set out on his first expedition which involved traveling by jeep 6,000 miles across South America at its widest point, east to west from Recife, Brazil to Lima, Peru. They were the first explorers to make this journey.
In 1961, with the aid of the Society once again and additional funding from the Daily Express newspaper, Mason organized his second, and more ambitious expedition to South America. This would involve the exploration and mapping of the 1,100-kilometre Iriri River, a tributary of the Xingu in central Brazil, then believed to be the longest unexplored river in the world.He took with him fellow Oxford graduates, John Hemming, who was deputy leader of the expedition, and Christopher "Kit" Lambert. The three young men would be going where no Western man had been before. There were not only no maps, but no aerial photographs. By May 1961, the three were flying in a World War II Dakota plane to a small airstrip in the middle of the Amazon jungle called Cachimbo, 1,200 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro.
The 11-man expedition included five native porters who would carry their one-and-a-half ton of supplies and a 3-man survey team from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics sent with them by the government to map the unknown areas. The Brazilian government gave the expedition permission to name the features it found like waterfalls or streams which the party named after their then Brazilian girlfriends.
On 12 July 1961, after cutting their way through miles of thick brush with machetes, carrying their now limited supplies, and working off compass bearings and the stars, the expedition finally came across the river on the border of the Mato Grosso and Pará states. A camp with a jetty was built and the five porters started hewing two dugout canoes out of fallen tree trunks using axes and adzes. After this was completed the team was ready to descend the Iriri.The survey team then concluded that the river they found was not in fact the Iriri, but that they were seven miles off course. By late August, after adjusting their course and still not able to locate the river, the team began running low on supplies, especially food. It was decided that Hemming should head back to Rio alone and arrange for food and equipment to be flown out by the Brazilian Air Force. Arriving back in Cachimbo during the first week of September, Hemming was given the news by Lambert that Mason had been killed. It turned out that on 3 September, Mason had been heading back from Cachimbo by himself with a few supplies when an unknown indigenous hunting party laid an ambush and killed him with 6-foot long bamboo poison arrows and clubs. When Mason did not return, Lambert and a scout went looking for him. Hemming describes in his 2004 book, Die If You Must what they discovered on the trail that they had cut:
Mason's body was found, lying on the main supply trail a few kilometers from our camp. He was carrying a load (mostly sugar) ... and had walked into an Indian ambush. He had been hit by eight arrows, and his skull and thigh were smashed by club blows. Some 40 arrows and 17 heavy clubs were arranged around the body.
Accompanied by a member of the Brazilian Indian Protection Service, Hemming left gifts such as machetes and fishing line at the spot where Mason had been killed to show they bore no ill will to his killers. Hemming and Lambert then helped to carry the body out of the jungle after he had been embalmed. At Cachimbo a BAF aircraft carrying two doctors and medical supplies arrived, but due to the torrential rain it was unable to take off again. A second, lighter aircraft had to be chartered to take the group back to Rio.In Rio, Lambert was initially arrested by the Brazilian police who thought he might have had something to do with the murder, but the Daily Express, which had helped fund the expedition, intervened and he was released. Mason was buried on 17 September in the Cemitério dos Ingleses situated in the Gamboa district in Rio.
In 1973, the tribe responsible for killing Mason made contact with civilization after nearly being wiped out by western diseases, especially measles. They were a people known as the Panará or Kreen-Akrore, variations of the Kayapó name "kran iakarare", which means "round-cut head" – a reference to their traditional haircut. They were very tall and proved to be one of the most warlike indigenous peoples in the Amazon for whom the words "stranger" and "enemy" were the same. They were feared by neighboring tribes who stated that the Panará were at war with everybody.
In 1998, Hemming visited the remainder of the Panará tribe and met an old man named Teseya, who remembered the ambush. The native told him that the attackers came from a place called "Yopuyupaw", which means the "village of the round fish". He said that the Indians had heard Mason approaching and it had been the first time they had seen clothes or metal.And that when they saw that he was alone, they immediately killed him. As was their custom, they then left their weapons by his body. Hemming wrote about this encounter in The Times and in his 2015 book, Naturalists in Paradise: Wallace, Bates and Spruce in the Amazon, stating:
(The Panará) had had no knowledge of clothes and the swish-swish of Mason’s jeans as he walked had unnerved them.
An old lady named Suakye told Hemming they had also found Mason's revolver and cigarette lighter and had tried to smash them both. Hemming asked her what had happened to the machetes he left there. The woman then retrieved an old, rusty machete and stuck it in a log telling him that the Panará had no use for them. She then comforted him and said: "That was in the old days when we did not know white men. We did not know there are good white men and bad white men."
The Amazon River in South America is the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world, and the disputed second longest river in the world.
Francisco de Orellana Bejarano Pizarro y Torres de Altamirano was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. He completed the first known navigation of the entire length of the Amazon River, which initially had been named "Rio de Orellana" until reports of skirmishes that included the women warriors of the Tapuyas tribe brought about the name change. He also founded the city of Guayaquil in what is now Ecuador.
Amazonas is a state of Brazil, located in the North Region in the northwestern corner of the country. It is the largest Brazilian state by area and the 9th largest country subdivision in the world, and the largest in South America, being greater than the areas of Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile combined. Mostly located in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the third largest country subdivision in the Southern Hemisphere after the Australian states of Western Australia and Queensland. Entirely in the Western Hemisphere it is the fourth largest in the Western Hemisphere after Greenland, Nunavut and Alaska, being slightly larger than Quebec. It would be the sixteenth largest country in land area, slightly larger than Mongolia. Neighbouring states are Roraima, Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and Acre. It also borders the nations of Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. This includes the Departments of Amazonas, Vaupés and Guainía in Colombia, as well as the Amazonas state in Venezuela, and the Loreto Region in Peru.
El Dorado, originally El Hombre Dorado or El Rey Dorado, was the term used by the Spanish in the 16th century to describe a mythical tribal chief (zipa) of the Muisca people, an indigenous people of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense of Colombia, who, as an initiation rite, covered himself with gold dust and submerged in Lake Guatavita. The legends surrounding El Dorado changed over time, as it went from being a man, to a city, to a kingdom, and then finally to an empire.
John Henry Hemming is a historian and explorer, expert on Incas and indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin.
Percy Harrison Fawcett was a British geographer, artillery officer, cartographer, archaeologist, and explorer of South America. Fawcett disappeared in 1925 during an expedition to find "Z"—his name for an ancient lost city which he and others believed existed in the jungles of Brazil.
Marshal Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon was a Brazilian military officer most famous for his telegraph commission and exploration of Mato Grosso and the Western Amazon Basin, as well as his lifelong support for indigenous Brazilians. He was the first director of Brazil's Indian Protection Service or SPI and supported the creation of the Xingu National Park. The Brazilian state of Rondônia is named after him.
Christopher Sebastian "Kit" Lambert was a British record producer, record label owner, and the manager of The Who.
The Roosevelt–Rondon Scientific Expedition was a survey expedition in 1913–14 to follow the path of the Rio da Dúvida in the Amazon basin. The expedition was jointly led by Theodore Roosevelt, the former President of the United States, and Colonel Cândido Rondon, the Brazilian explorer who had discovered its headwaters in 1909. Sponsored in part by the American Museum of Natural History, they also collected many new animal and insect specimens. The river was eventually named "Rio Roosevelt" for the former president, who nearly died during the voyage.
Sydney Ferreira Possuelo, is a Brazilian explorer, social activist and ethnographer who is considered the leading authority on Brazil's remaining isolated Indigenous Peoples.
The Panará are an Indigenous people of Mato Grosso in the Brazilian Amazon. They farm and are hunter-gatherers.
The Iriri River is a large tributary of the Xingu River in Brazil, in the state of Pará. It is 1,300 km (810 mi) long making it the 116th longest river in the world and the 15th longest in the Amazon basin. The headwaters are the traditional home of the Panará people.
The Lost City of Z is a 2016 American biographical adventure drama film written and directed by James Gray, based on the 2009 book of the same name by David Grann. It portrays real events surrounding the British explorer Percy Fawcett, who was sent to Brazil and made several attempts to find a supposed ancient lost city in the Amazon. The film stars Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett; Robert Pattinson as his fellow explorer Henry Costin, Sienna Miller as his wife, Nina Fawcett; and Tom Holland as his son Jack Fawcett.
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon is the debut non-fiction book by American author David Grann. The book was published in 2009 and recounts the activities of the British explorer Percy Fawcett who, in 1925, disappeared with his son in the Amazon while looking for an ancient lost city. For decades explorers and scientists have tried to find evidence of his party and of the "Lost City of Z".
Alexander Hamilton Rice Jr. was an American physician, geographer, geologist and explorer especially noted for his expeditions to the Amazon Basin. He was professor of geography at Harvard University from 1929 to 1952, and was the founder and director of the Harvard Institute of Geographical Exploration.
Cachimbo Airport is the military airport serving Campo de Provas Brigadeiro Velloso, a large Testing and Training complex of the Brazilian Armed Forces located in Serra do Cachimbo, in the southern part of the state of Pará, Brazil. It is operated by the Brazilian Air Force.
Paul Redfern. In August 1927, Redfern became the first person to fly solo across the Caribbean Sea and the first to fly nonstop from North to South America. He has never been found or heard from since he was observed flying inland over Venezuela. Redfern's flight was twelve weeks after Lindbergh made his historic flight from New York to Paris. In 1929, Lindbergh came close to skimming the sands of the Sea Island, Georgia, beach Redfern took off from and dropped carnations in his fellow flyer's honor. If Redfern had reached his final destination, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, his 4,600 miles (7,400 km) flight would have outdistanced Lindbergh. Redfern had an alternative landing site planned if his fuel ran too low, but it is unknown whether he pursued that alternative or decided to continue on to Rio, where thousands awaited his arrival, including the President of Brazil and movie star Clara Bow.
The Nascentes da Serra do Cachimbo Biological Reserve is a biological reserve in the state of Pará, Brazil. The reserve protects an area in the transition between the Cerrado and Amazon biomes, supporting highly diverse flora and fauna including many endemic species. It is accessible via the BR-163 highway, and is among the federal conservation units in the Amazon Legal that has suffered most from deforestation.
Terra do Meio Ecological Station is an ecological station (ESEC) in the state of Pará, Brazil.
The German Amazon-Jary-Expedition (1935-1937) was a Nazi era scientific expedition in northéastern Brazil. The discovery of a huge cross emblazoned with swastika at the grave site of one of the expedition members in the local jungle has brought the event to renewed international attention during the second decade of the 21st century. Unlike numerous successful and reputable field trips all over Brazil by German research teams from various academic backgrounds during the 1930s, the Amazon-Jary-Expedition has been criticized for its political command, lack of academic necessities and infatuation with the commercial multi-media chronicle, which lead to suspicions about its true purpose. This impression was further reinforced during the following years as other controversial Nazi Germany missions took place, criticized for pseudo-scientific methods and unacceptable ethic standards and affiliated with dubious Nazi party agencies, that sought support for the crude ideas on their political agendas. The mission's leader had conceived plans for a military takeover of French Guiana, which, upon his return, he presented to Heinrich Himmler. There exists, however, no evidence for any official involvement in or adoption of these plans.