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By Nathaniel (Nate) King, VI Form
Exploring the Mystery: The Evolution of Colonel Percy Fawcett’s Memory through Time
Editor’s Note: This paper was completed as a part of the History Research Fellowship, a one-semester course available to sixth form students.
After spending years in the Amazon, Fawcett was one of the world’s most prominent experts on the region. This, alongside his rough and adventurous demeanor, garnered Fawcett many supporters through the printing of his dispatches and reports in popular newspapers. Like athletes at the time, with the maturation of the newspaper, explorers were given a new level of name recognition. In 1925 Fawcett’s fame was at its peak as newspapers looked to cover his next expedition to find what could be one of the biggest discoveries of the century: an ancient city hidden deep in the Amazon jungle. Fawcett’s dispatches from this expedition were filled with detailed accounts of what he had encountered, and the public was voraciously reading each one until they suddenly stopped. Fawcett had predicted that he and his party might go silent for a few months at a time as they traversed difficult terrain under terrible conditions. However, as years began to slowly pass, people began to worry and speculate about what had happened to Fawcett. Several theories were churned out, yet as search parties looking for the truth came back with few answers, the mystery of Fawcett’s fate only became more alluring.
Why has an explorer who did not discover much that was historically significant been given so much attention both during his professional career and long after? Although Fawcett’s greatest accomplishments were mapping out portions of the Amazon rainforest, he has continued to be a figure of fascination today largely because of his disappearance. However, during his time he received just as much coverage by the media, albeit for different reasons.(more…)