A River of Doubt

jzguest By jzguest, 6th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/6p_u1u9l/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>South America>Brazil>The Amazon

Former United States President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt faces his mortality in the Brazilian Amazon.

A River of Doubt

It was an idea first proposed in 1908 by Father Zahm—a priest known to President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt—which years later would lead the president into one of the most remote corners of the world. Having just returned from the Amazon, Zahm suggested the ever-adventurous Roosevelt follow up his presidency by traversing the Paraguay River into the interior of South America, and so were planted the seeds which would blossom five years later into the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition. As a joint venture under the leaderships of Brazilian military officer Marechal Rondon and the U.S. president, these two brave men and their teams would chart the Rio da Dúvida.

The Source

The headwaters of this 400-mile-long river source from within northwestern Brazil. Winding throughout the Amazon, the Dúvida ultimately merges into the even grander Madeira. Translated as the “River of Doubt,” its name clearly forecasts danger and in this case, foreshadowed the outcome of those pushing upon its frontier in the name of discovery.

Doubtful

The expedition was immediately confronted with hardships, dangers and risk. Intolerable heat accompanied starvation, disease and death. Malignant fevers threatened the physical and mental strength of men. Even plagues of insects tormented them, while jaguars, lethal vipers and crocodiles shadowed their every step. Laced with waterfalls and rapids, portions of the Dúvida were impassable, only exacerbating the difficulty of transit in dug-out canoes. Additionally, local Indians were considered a very real threat to these men, for this was the first-ever non-Amazonian crew to attempt the doubtful course.

Nothing Grand Comes Easy

In the end, the president narrowly escaped death; credit seringueiros (rubber gatherers), who at one point rendered vital aid to many of the men. Roosevelt lived five more years following this journey, long enough to recount the arduous conditions in his book, Through the Brazilian Wilderness. The river was renamed in his honor, Rio Roosevelt.

Tags

Adventure, Amazon, Brazil, Challenge, Jason Guest, Jason Z Guest, Jzguest, Paraguay, President, Risk, River, Rivers, United States

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Comments

author avatar C.D. Moore
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Interesting article and pictures

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author avatar jzguest
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Thank you C.D. I appreciate your review!

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author avatar Susan Jane
8th Mar 2013 (#)

Fascinating account. Great photos.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
12th Mar 2013 (#)

There is enormous power in words Jason . Doubt , being the opposite of faith , speaks for itself . No wonder the expedition was wrought with problems from the start.
Very interesting , I might add.
Bless you
Stella

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author avatar Kingwell
17th Mar 2013 (#)

Great work.

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author avatar jzguest
19th Mar 2013 (#)

Kingwell, thank you. Roosevelt was quite the adventurer.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
5th Apr 2013 (#)

Fabulous this Jason....pics and all...

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author avatar jzguest
16th Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you dear!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
21st May 2013 (#)

Good informative piece with a few photos. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar jzguest
16th Apr 2014 (#)

Thank you for your note GV Rama Rao. I appreciate your kind words.

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author avatar Rose*
16th Dec 2013 (#)

I knew Teddy Roosevelt was responsible for setting up many of the American national parks, but didn't know his passion for nature led him to explore the Amazon. Very interesting article.

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author avatar jzguest
16th Apr 2014 (#)

Hi Rose, I'm excited to hear that you are aware of his contributions with National Parks, and could discover his further interests in exploration. Have a great day!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
16th Apr 2014 (#)

Interesting and informative post. Thanks for sharing.

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