Theodore Roosevelt Virtual Exhibit

Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Map of Brazil from the book
Map of Brazil
click image for larger view

Through the Brazilian Wilderness is TR’s story of his last great adventure tracking the route of an unknown river from Paraguay to the Amazon. The river was later named Rio Roosevelt.

Undertaken under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History and the Brazilian government, this geographical and zoological expedition as perhaps Roosevelt’s greatest single adventure. In 1913, he embarked on a six-week speaking tour of Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina with his wife Edith and son Kermit. When the tour was completed in January 1914, he began his harrowing journey to locate the mouth of the River of Doubt, which was supposed to run from Paraguay to the sea via the Amazon Valley. Eight weeks after setting out, Roosevelt and his team, including Kermit, reached Manaus, a small city on the Amazon. He had badly injured his leg and lost nearly 60 pounds, one man had died and another was murdered during the expedition. However, Roosevelt had mapped nearly 1,500 miles of what until that time was a nearly unknown river valley.

TR, not knowing what lay ahead when he planned the trip, may have been describing his desire to make the journey when he said excitedly, “I have to go. It’s my last chance to be a boy!”

The frontispiece is a map of Roosevelt’s journey from Paraguay to the Amazon.

Last Updated: June 17, 2009