Since its discovery by Europeans in 1500, explorers, visionaries, soldiers of fortune, men of God, scientists, and slavers have been drawn to the legendary Amazon. The River Sea is a sweeping chronicle of those brave souls, ranging form the Spanish seafarer Vicente Pinzón, who discovered the river, to contemporary heroes and heroines, like Sister Dorothy Stang and Chico Mendes, whose efforts to save the rain forest cost them their lives.
Among others in this vast cast of characters who people the drama of the Amazon is Francisco de Orellana, the first European to traverse the river from the Andes to the sea; the fiery priest Bartolomé de las Casas, defender of the indigenous peoples; the great scientist explorers Alexander von Humboldt and Alfred Russell Wallace; the madmen and psychopath Lope de Aguirre; and the Peruvian Evangeline, Isabel Godin, who in 1769 crossed the continent, braving the terrors of the jungles to reunite with her husband, whom she had not seen in twenty years.
The River Sea is a compelling account of five centuries of the history, the myths, and the legends of Río Amazonas, the most exotic and fascinating locale on Earth.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The River Sea
From the Andes to the Atlantic 5
Chapter 2 The Incas
The Rise and Fall of the Empire of the Sun 25
Chapter 3 The Search for El Dorado
Gold, Spices, and Blood 37
Chapter 4 Conquistadors for Christ
The Holy Fathers and the Indigenous Peoples 59
Chapter 5 The Great Powers in the Amazon Basin
The Struggle for Control 71
Chapter 6 Nature's Grand Laboratory
European Science Discovers the Amazon 85
Chapter 7 The Peruvian Evangeline
The Journey of María Isabel de Jesus Gramesóny Godin 91
Chapter 8 "I Must Find Out About the Unity of Nature."
The Explorations of Alexander von Humboldt 109
Chapter 9 Three Eminent Victorians in the "Garden of the World"
Wallace, Bates, and Spruce Explore the Amazon 123
Chapter 10 The Great Rubber Boom
An Amazonian Gilded Age 167
Chapter 11 Exploitation, Despoliation, or Conservation
The River Sea in the New Millennium 185