Photo. In the Amazon jungle in Peru. © Travel Explorations.
Which expedition to you like to join? Where you willing to take the risk your life for finding new land, routes, resources and treasures? Not all the expeditions where undertaken by a noble intention. Some of them were charachterised by strongly personal motives as getting rich and famous.
In my opinion the most amazing expedition ever was sailing down the Amazon River. It was the most adventurous, hardest and riskiest expedition ever undertaken. The leader of this expedition was Francisco de Orellana. He and his men floated down the Amazon River during 16th Century and reported densely populated regions running hundreds of kilometers along the river. These populations left no lasting monuments, possibly because they used local wood as their construction material as stone was not locally available (source: Wikipedia).
Francisco de Orellana (1511-1546) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. He completed the first known navigation of the length of the Amazon River (5000 kilometres), which was originally named for him. Orellana also called the river "The Green Hell"! He also founded the city of Guayaquil in modern-day Ecuador.
In the rainforest the men could hear strange sounds and roars from monkeys and jaguars. They could observe colourful birds singing. Hungry alligators, the caimans, where hiding in the water, but the most fearful animal in the jungle was the Anakonda, who are able to swallow humans. On their way they encountered headhunters, cannibals and other strange tribes painted and ready to fight. Probably the most amazing experience was fighting a group of women, who Orellana called the Amazons, and that was the reason for the today`s name of the river. The story of the fierce ambush launched by the icamiabas, that nearly destroyed the Spanish expedition, was narrated to the king, Charles I, who, inspired by the Greek legend of the Amazons, named the river the Amazon.
The icamiabas Indians dominated the area close to the Amazon river. When Orellana went down the river in search of gold, descending from the Andes (in 1541), the river was still called Rio Grande, Mar Dulce or Rio de Canela (Cinnamon), because of the great trees of cinnamon located there.
In one of the most improbably successful voyages in known history, Orellana managed to sail the length of the Amazon, arriving at the river's mouth on 24 August 1542. He and his men sailed along the Atlantic coast until reaching Cubagua Island, near the coast of Venezuela. Read more about the expedition on Wikipedia.
Francisco de Orellana accomplished the first descent of the the world`s second longest river, the Amazon River. Read the full story of the Orenalla`s amazing expedition down the Amazon River.
Read more about amazing journeys through history: Gascoigne, Bamber. "[History of Exploration]” HistoryWorld. From 2001, ongoing. [History of Exploration].
For general information about history, read more on Gascoigne, Bamber - HistoryWorld. Historyworld’s aim is to make world history more easily accessible through interactive narratives and timelines. Written by Bamber Gascoigne, it consists of about 300 narratives ( the alphabetical list runs from Aegean Civilization to Zoroastrianism) and some 10,000 events on searchable timelines. He writes on his website; "My purpose in HistoryWorld has been to give an overview of world history in a way that tells the central story clearly, through linked narratives, and makes it easy, through timelines, to compare at any period the events happening in different regions of the world."
I can`t imagine any expedition in the future who will match Francisco de Orellana`s amazing expedtion, but who knows! It has to be on an another planet!
Stein Morten Lund, 2nd December 2011
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined (not including Madeira and Rio Negro, which are tributuaries of the Amazon). The Amazon, which has the largest drainage basin in the world, about 7,050,000 square kilometres (2,720,000 sq mi), accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world's total river flow (source: Wikipedia).