Samuel Fritz

Samuel Fritz SJ (9 April 1654 – 20 March 1725, 1728 or 1730)[1][2] was a Czech Jesuit missionary, noted for his exploration of the Amazon River and its basin. He spent most of his life preaching to Indigenous communities in the western Amazon region, including the Omaguas, the Yurimaguas, the Aisuare, the Ibanomas, and the Ticunas. In 1707 he produced the first accurate map of the Amazon River, establishing as its source the Marañón.

Adept in technical arts and handicrafts, he also was a physician, a painter, a carpenter, a joiner and a linguist skilled at interacting with the Indians.[3] He was effective and respected, and helpful to the Viceroyalty of Peru in its boundary dispute with the State of Brazil.

Between 1686 and 1715, he founded thirty-eight missions along the length of the Amazon River, in the country between the Rio Napo and Rio Negro, that were called the Omagua Missions.[4] The most important of these were Nuestra Señora de las Nieves de Yurimaguas, and San Joaquín de Omaguas, which was founded in the first years of Fritz’s missionary activities and then moved in January 1695 to the mouth of the Ampiyacu river, near the modern-day town of Pebas in the Peruvian Department of Loreto. These missions were continually attacked by the Brazilian Bandeirantes beginning in the 1690s.[5]

Fritz detailed his early missionary activity among the Omagua people in a set of personal diaries written between 1689 and 1723. Lengthy passages from these diaries were compiled and interspersed with commentary by an anonymous author in the time between Fritz’s death and 1738, when they appear in the collection of Pablo Maroni.[6][Note 1]

Samuel Fritz
Samuel Fritz (1654-1725)
Born9 April 1654
Died20 March 1725 or 1730
Alma materCharles University in Prague
EmployerSociety of Jesus
Known forCreating an early map of the Amazon River

Early life

Fritz was born at Trautenau, Bohemia. After studying for a year at the Charles University in Prague, he entered the Society of Jesus as a novice in 1673, and studied mathematics, geodesy and surveying. He taught for several years at the Jesuit seminaries in Uherské Hradiště and Březnice, eventually becoming deputy rector at Brno where he also conducted the student orchestra. He was ordained as a priest on 4 February 1683.[1] In September 1684 he was sent to Quito as a missionary, arriving in Cartagena, Colombia and journeying overland. In 1686 he was assigned to work among the Indians of the Upper Marañon.

Work with the Omagua people

Fritz established himself among the Omaguas (Omayas or Cambebas) and within a few years had developed his own Omagua catechism in the Omagua language. The Omagua people had requested protection from Portuguese slavers who had begun raiding their communities by the 1680s. When Fritz arrived in their territory in 1686, the Omagua inhabited the islands in the middle of the Amazon River, in a region stretching approximately from the confluence of the Amazon and Napo River to the Juruá River.[8] Towards the end of his first year among the Omaguas, he began a lengthy journey downriver to visit all thirty-eight existing villages, spending two months at each one. He renamed them using the names of patron saints, constructed several rudimentary chapels and baptized mainly children because he found most adults to be insufficiently indoctrinated, as well as "reluctant to give up entirely certain heathen abuses." At the conclusion of this journey, which lasted about three years, he conducted a baptismal ceremony over the entire tribe before returning to San Joaquín de Omaguas.[9] He later concentrated indigenous peoples from different communities into so-called "Jesuit reductions." He also preached intermittently to the Yurimagua, the Aisuare, the Ibanoma and the Ticunas.[10]

Charting the Amazon

At the request of the Real Audiencia of Quito he began in 1687 to delineate the disputed missionary territory on the Upper Marañon between Peru and Quito.[11] In 1689 he undertook, in a primitive pirogue, a daring journey of over 6,000 kilometers down the Amazon to Pará, where he went for medical treatment,[12] probably for malaria.[11] "I fell sick of the most violent attacks of fever and dropsy that began in my feet, and other complaints," he later wrote in an account of his journey. Fritz set off downstream "in the hope of getting some remedy for my sufferings," reaching the mouth of the Rio Negro after three weeks.[13][Note 2]There he met a group of Tupinambarana warriors who escorted him to the Mercedarian mission, where he was treated with bloodletting and therapeutic fumigation, "but instead of being benefitted, I was made worse than before." Fritz was taken by some Portuguese missionaries to the Jesuit College in the city of Pará, but when he felt well enough to return to his mission, he was detained and imprisoned for eighteen months by Artur de Sá Meneses, the Governor of the State of Maranhão, on the accusation of being a Spanish spy.[4] In fact, the Portuguese were concerned that Spanish missions on the Upper Solimões River would lead indigenous communities to support Spain against Portugal. Fritz made use of this time to prepare a map of the river.[9] In 1691, after a complaint was made before the Council of the Indies, his release was authorized by the King of Portugal, who also reprimanded and dismissed the governor. Fritz was accompanied for part of his return journey by a contingent of Portuguese soldiers, with whom he visited fortresses at Gurupá and Tapajós. After leaving Fritz at the mouth of the Coari River in October 1691, the soldiers "cruelly killed very many people and took the rest away as slaves," as Fritz later learned.[11]

Fritz then continued up the Huallaga River to Huánuco, and thence to Lima, returning by way of Jaén to the missions of the Marañón River in February 1692. In Lima he presented his report to the Viceroy Conde de la Monclova Melchor Portocarrero Lasso de la Vega, including a detailed map that he had made of the Amazon region.[11] The Viceroy was so impressed with Fritz's work that he gave him a thousand silver pesos from the treasury and another thousand out of his own pocket for the purchase of "bells, ornaments and other costly articles conducive to the adornment and decent furnishing of his new churches." Nonetheless, the Viceroy told Fritz that he seriously doubted that the production potential of the Amazon forests was sufficient to justify fighting the Portuguese to gain control of it, or even defending any particular outpost.[9]

Fritz's maps

The Marañon or Amazon River with the Mission of the Society of Jesus WDL1137
Fritz's 1707 map showing the Amazon and the Orinoco, on either side of the mythical Lake Parime

Poorly equipped with instruments, Fritz completed a comparatively accurate chart of the course of the Amazon from Belém to Quito. Fritz's maps were the first approximately correct charts of the Marañón territory, and are noteworthy for their relatively precise delineation of the contours and proportions of the South American continent. They were the first to be drawn from personal experience by someone who had navigated the Amazon River from one end to the other. His intention was to obtain military and financial support from the colonial and royal authorities for the development of his missions among the tribes of the frontier.[7]

In all, Fritz produced at least six maps, possibly more, and of these only four have survived. In 1689 he created a draft map of the river during his journey to Pará, presenting this to the governor there. During his imprisonment, he created a second draft of this map on four adjoining sheets of paper, which included the names of indigenous communities, Jesuit reductions, missionary settlements and ethnic groups.[14] Upon arriving in Lima in 1692, he created a larger version of this map to submit to the printer. Difficulties in reproducing this map prevented it from being printed, and a slightly altered version was finally published at Quito in 1707,[13] under the title "The Great River Marañón or Amazonas with the Mission of the Society of Jesus, geographically described by Samuel Fritz, settled missioner on said river."[7] This version is 126 by 46 cm and includes in the legend a detailed description of fauna and flora and indigenous ethnicity on the Amazon. The places where the missionaries were killed are marked with crosses. The original is in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.[15]

Fritz himself felt strongly that his map was far more accurate than other contemporary maps of the Amazon, writing:

"I created this map for a better understanding and general lesson about the great Amazon, or Marañón, with great effort and great work... Although many other maps have appeared today, I want, without touching anyone, to say that none of these maps is accurate because either the measurement on this great river was not attentive or was not done at all, or it was written from the writings of various authors."[6]

A copy of the Quito engraving was sent to Madrid, by order of the Royal Audiencia of Quito, in the care of the procurator from the Jesuit province. But the ship was intercepted by the English, who published the map for the first time in 1712, with modifications and in a reduced scale.[7][16][17][18]

A slightly modified French version was published in 1717 in Paris under the title Cours du fleuve Maragnon autrement dit des Amazones par le P. Samuel Fritz missionaire de la Compagnie de Jésus.[7][19] In 1726 the map was reproduced in the German-language Jesuit publication Der Neue Welt-Bott. (Augsburg, 1726, I),[4] A revised version, edited by Hermann Moll, was included in the Atlas Geographus in 1732.[20] In 1745 Charles Marie de La Condamine included it in his Relation abrégée d'un voyage fait dans l'intérieur de l'Amérique Méridionale (Paris, 1745),[21][22] together with a revised chart based on Fritz's map, for comparative study. Among other changes, Condamine added the connection of the Amazon to the Orinoco Basin, which had been discovered following Fritz's death.[7]

A second French version was published in 1781 in Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, Écrites des Missions Étrangères, (Paris, 1781).[23]

One prominent error in the map is the inclusion of Lake Parime, of which Fritz knew only through hearsay, and which had been sought unsuccessfully since Sir Walter Raleigh had surmised its existence in 1595.[24] Later explorers concluded that the lake was a myth.[25]

Indigenous beliefs about Fritz

In 1692, upon his return from being held prisoner by the Portuguese, Fritz discovered that an Omagua cult had grown up around claims that he possessed supernatural powers related to curing, rites of passage, and the movement of rivers, and a belief that Fritz himself was immortal. During his absence, in June 1690, a massive earthquake occurred,[26] which was attributed by the Indians to the anger of their deities at Fritz's imprisonment.[9] Rumors also spread that the Portuguese had cut Fritz into pieces, but that he had miraculously reassembled himself. Some of these beliefs, however, portrayed Fritz as evil.[12] Following a solar eclipse in June 1695, an Aisuari chief sent gifts to Fritz with a message begging him not to extinguish the sun.[9] On a more practical note, many of the Indians viewed the presence of Spanish missionaries as protection against the Portuguese, who were subjecting indigenous communities to forced labor.[8] Fritz understood that the Indians viewed him as different from other Europeans—more kindly and patient, less self-serving, and not exploitative, in addition to being very possibly immortal. Once, when talking about the afterlife, he was interrupted by an Aisuari chief who said that Fritz could surely never die, because then there would be no one to serve as their "Father, Lover and Protector."[9]

Conflict with the Portuguese

Starting in 1693, Fritz began working to persuade the Omaguas in San Joaquín de Omaguas to give up their island communities and found new settlements on the nearby banks of the Amazon proper. Fritz wanted larger communities centered around a chapel or a church, and he recommended that these communities be defensible against the Portuguese slavers.[9] In 1695 San Joaquín de Omaguas was relocated to the mouth of the Ampiyacu River in the traditional territory of the Caumaris.[12] Gradually the community grew as people took refuge from the Caumaris and the Mayorunas, the traditional enemies of the Omaguas. Further to the east, Fritz established two other such reductions, San Pablo and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.[9]

Soon slave raids launched intermittently from Pará (modern-day Belém) became so intense and frequent that the Omaguas from distant communities, as well as neighboring Yurimaguas, fled to the comparative safety of the Jesuit mission settlements near the mouth of the Napo River, including San Joaquin de Omaguas. This influx of refugees contributed to a deterioration of the relationship between the Jesuits and the longer-term Omagua residents of the mission settlements. Many Omaguas were also leaving the Jesuit missions, tempted by materials and goods being distributed by the Carmelite missions which were competing with the Jesuits for mission converts.

On 10 April 1697, at Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, Fritz met Friar Manoel da Esperança, Vice-Provincial of the Portuguese Carmelites, and a group of Portuguese soldiers who had arrived saying that they intended to take possession of the Upper Solimões. Fritz told them:

"For over eight years I have been in peaceful possession of this mission on behalf of the Crown of Castile. I formed a large part of these heathen Indians into mission settlements, when some were wandering through the forest as fugitives and others living in concealment near the lagoons because of the murders and enslavements they formerly suffered from the men of Pará. I myself, when I was in that city [Belem], saw many slaves from these tribes."[11] Nonetheless, the Portuguese demanded that Fritz relocate his mission upstream, warning him that if he were caught by the Portuguese in that region, he would be sent to prison in Portugal.[8]

The Omagua rebellion

The process of relocation was difficult. In 1701, Omaguas in several settlements under the leadership of the Omagua cacique Payoreva, rose up against the Jesuit missionary presence, setting fire to the mission and killing some of the Jesuits. Fritz journeyed to Quito to request a small military force to quell the revolt, and subsequently instituted annual visits by secular military forces to intimidate the Omaguas and stave off potential uprisings.[2] Payoreva was arrested, flogged and imprisoned by the Spanish in Borja, however he escaped and returned to San Joaquin de los Omaguas in February 1702 to persuade the Omagua people to leave the influence of the missionaries, and most of the population left to establish new settlements along the Juruá River.[12]

Fritz attempted to persuade the Omaguas to return to the mission and even promised a pardon for Chief Payoreva.[27] The Portuguese Carmelites met with Fritz again several times, negotiating for the rights to unrestricted control over the various tribes.[8] Many of those who followed Payoreva were eventually enslaved by the Portuguese, as was Payoreva himself in 1704.[12]

The influence of the Carmelite missionaries became stronger after a visit by the Portuguese Friar Victoriano Pimentel in 1702. Pimentel discovered quickly that the Amazonians were interested in metal tools and other trade goods and that they could be persuaded to abandon the Jesuits by offerings of "hatchets, sickles, knives, fishhooks, pins, needles, ribbons, mirrors, reliquaries, rings and pieces of wire for their earrings."[9]

Later life

In 1704 Fritz succeeded Gaspar Vidal as Jesuit Superior relocating to Santiago de la Laguna on the Huallaga River. He left responsibility for the Omagua missions to the Sardinian Father Juan Baptista Sanna who had begun working among the Omagua people in 1701. In February 1709, the new king of Portugal, João V, sent a large contingent of Portuguese soldiers to raid the Upper Solimões and to demand the withdrawal of all Spanish missionaries from the region. Fritz wrote to the Portuguese commander begging him to desist, but the Portuguese destroyed several Yurimagua and Omagua communities. Finally, in July, Spanish authorities sent a military force to drive the Portuguese out, burning several Carmelite missions in the process. The Portuguese retaliated in December, killing hundreds of Indians and taking many captives including Juan Baptista Sanna. He was imprisoned in Portugal for a short time and eventually sent on a mission to Japan.[8]

The fighting dispersed nearly all the Yurimagua and Omagua communities, and the survivors were devastated by a smallpox epidemic which began in April 1710 and left the formerly populous region of the Upper Solimões uninhabited. Fritz was replaced as Superior by Gregorio Bobadilla in December 1712, and in January 1714 he began missionary work in Limpia Concepción de Jeberos, where he would live until his death.[28]

The last entry in his diary is dated November 1723. He died some time between 1725 and 1730 (the date is disputed)[29] in a mission village of the Jivaro Indians, attended by a priest named Wilhelm de Tres.[30]


In 1870, Johann Eduard Wappäus (1813–1879) wrote of Fritz:

"The great respect justly shown at that time by European scientists for the geographical work of the Jesuits led to the admission into their ranks of Father Fritz by acclamation."[31]

His Amazon map was reprinted in Madrid in 1892, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the discovery of America. There was another reprint in the Recueil de voyages et de documents pour servir a l'histoire de la géographie.[32] Three of his letters are incorporated in the "N. Welt-Bott" (Augsburg, 1726), III, nos. 24, 25;[4] and according to Condamine, an original report of his travels is to be found in the archives of the Jesuit college at Quito.[22]

Fritz proposed that the Marañón River must be the source of the Amazon, noting on his 1707 map that the Marañón "has its source on the southern shore of a lake that is called Lauricocha, near Huánuco." Fritz reasoned that the Marañón River is the largest river branch one encounters when journeying upstream, and lies farther to the west than any other tributary of the Amazon. For most of the 18th–19th centuries and into the 20th century, the Marañón River was generally considered the source of the Amazon.[7]

Further reading

External links




  1. ^ The primary source for the history of Samuel Fritz is Noticias auténticas del famoso río Marañón.[6] Written between 1730 and 1738, this text is a compilation of documents, including Fritz's diary. It was published for the first time by Jiménez de la Espada (Boletín de la Sociedad Geográfica de Madrid, 26-32 (1889–1892), who attributed the authorship to Paolo (Pablo) Maroni. In 1892, the complete text of Noticias was published by the Real Academia de la Historia of Madrid, in whose archive it has been preserved. Recently, Jean Pierre Chaumeil coordinated a new edition, which uses the same text published by Jiménez de la Espada.[7]
  2. ^ Camila Loureiro Dias notes that historians have cast doubt on Fritz's stated motive for his journey, as a sick man could hardly have embarked on such an ambitious voyage into hostile territory, and completed a detailed map of the river in the process. Dias believes that he wanted to produce a map as a means of engaging the attention of the Spanish government so as to obtain support for his missionary activities.[7]


  1. ^ a b Jan Filipský, "FRITZ Samuel – Czech-German missionary in South America," in Who Was Who Czech and Slovak Orientalists, Libri Prague, 1999. ISBN 8085983-591
  2. ^ a b Lev Michael and Zachary O’Hagan, "A Linguistic Analysis of Old Omagua Ecclesiastical Texts," University of California, Berkeley.
  3. ^ Johann Christoph Adelung, Mithridates oder allgemeine Sprachenkunde: mit dem Vater Unser als Sprachprobe in beynahe fünfhundert Sprachen und Mundarten., (Berlin, 1806), III, ii, 611. "The linguistic abilities of Samuel Fritz."
  4. ^ a b c d Catholic Encyclopedia (1913): Samuel Fritz
  5. ^ Michael, Lev . 2014. "On the Pre-Columbian Origin of Proto-Omagua-Kokama." Journal of Language Contact 7(2):309{344.
  6. ^ a b c Maroni, Pablo. (1738) 1988. Noticias auténticas del famoso río Marañón. Jean Pierre Chaumeil, ed. (1738; Iquitos: Instituto de Investigación de la Amazonía Peruana–Centro de Estudios Teológicos de la Amazonía, 1988).
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Camila Loureiro Dias, "Maps and Political Discourse: The Amazon River of Father Samuel Fritz," The Americas, Volume 69, Number 1, July 2012, pp. 95-116.
  8. ^ a b c d e John Hemming, Red Gold: The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians, 1500-1760, Harvard University Press, 1978. ISBN 0674751078
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i David Graham Sweet, "Samuel Fritz, S. J. and the Founding of the Portuguese Carmelite Mission to the Solimões," chapter 6 of A Rich Realm of Nature Destroyed: The Middle Amazon Valley, 1640–1750. Doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1974.
  10. ^ Works Issued by the Hakluyt Society, Issue 24, 1859; University of Minnesota.
  11. ^ a b c d e Samuel Fritz, Journal of the Travels and Labours of Father Samuel Fritz in the River of the Amazons Between 1686 and 1723, edited by George Edmundson; Issue 51 of Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, ISSN 0072-9396; Hakluyt Society, 1922.
  12. ^ a b c d e Frank Salomon, Stuart B. Schwartz, eds.Indians of South America, Part 1 Volume 3 of Cambridge history of the native peoples of the Americas, Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0521333938
  13. ^ a b André Ferrand de Almeida, "Samuel Fritz and the Mapping of the Amazon," Imago Mundi. Vol. 55, (2003), pp. 113-119.
  14. ^ Samuel Fritz, Mapa Geographica del Río Marañón o Amazonas, (1691), Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, Cartes et plans, Rés. Ge C 5037, Manuscript (ink on paper), 55 x 130 cm.
  15. ^ Zdeněk Hübner, "Samuel Fritz" (in Czech)
  16. ^ Edward Cooke. A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World (London, 1712).
  17. ^ Dionisio de Alsedo y Herrera, Aviso histórico, político, geográfico con las noticias más particulares del Perú, Tierra Firme, Chile y Nuevo Reino de Granada, (Madrid: Oficinas de Diego Miguel de Peralta, 1740).
  18. ^ André de Almeida, “Samuel Fritz Revisited: The Maps of the Amazon and Their Circulation in Europe,” in La Cartografia Europea, Firenze: L.S. Olschki, 2003; pp 133–153.
  19. ^ "Cours du fleuve Maragnon autrement dit des Amazones," map (257 x 380 mm) in Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrites des missions étrangères, par quelques missionnaires de la Compagnie de Jésus, 34 vols. (Paris: Le Mercier & Boudet, Marc Bordelet, 1707–1776) vol. 12, p. 212.
  20. ^ "The Great River Marañon or of the Amazons Geographically describ'd by Samuel Fritz missioner on the Said River," Atlas Geographus (volume 5), London, 1732.
  21. ^ Charles de la Condamine, "Carte du Cours du Maragnon ou de la Grande Riviere des Amazones dans sa partie navigable depuis Jaen de Bracomoros jusqu'à son embouchure et qui comprend la Province de Quito, et la Côte de la Guiane depuis le Cap de Nord jusqu'à Esséquebè," Veuve Pissot, Paris: 1745
  22. ^ a b Charles Marie de La Condamine, Relation abrégée d'un voyage fait dans l'intérieur de l'Amérique méridionale: depuis la côte de la mer du Sud, jusqu'aux côtes du Brésil et de la Guyane, en descendant la rivière des Amazones..., Jean-Edme Dufour & Philippe Roux, 1778; University of Lausanne
  23. ^ Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrites des missions étrangères. [Collected by Charles le Gobien, J.-B. Du Halde, N. Maréchal, Louis Patouillet, Yves Mathurin Marie Tréandet de Querbeuf.] (Paris: N. Leclerc 1707–1776; new edition 1780) Links to digitized versions at Biblioteca Sinica 2.0 (Vienna). WorldCat listing Lettres édifiantes et curieuses.
  24. ^ Sir Walter Raleigh, The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana 1596; repr., Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1968
  25. ^ Alexander von Humboldt, Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America During the Years 1799-1804, (chapter 25). Henry G. Bohn, London, 1853.
  26. ^ Alberto V. Veloso, "On the footprints of a major Brazilian Amazon earthquake," An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc., vol. 86 no.3 Rio de Janeiro Sept. 2014.
  27. ^ Edmond Herbert Grove-Hills, Annexe au Contre-mémoire, Vol. I; Imprimé au Foreign Office, par Harrison and Sons, 1903.
  28. ^ Sierra, Vicente D. 1944. Los jesuitas germanos en la conquista espiritual de Hispano- América. Buenos Aires. [Spanish]
  29. ^ Astrain, Antonio. 1925. Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en la Asistencia de España, vol. VII. Madrid: Administración de Razón y Fe.
  30. ^ Clements Robert Markham, Expeditions into the valley of the Amazons, 1539: The expedition of Gonzalo Pizarro, by Garcilasso Inca de la Vega, from the 2nd Part of his Royal commentaries, book iii, and The voyage of Francisco de Orellana, by A. de Herrera, from the 6th decade of his 'General history of the Western Indies, Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, 1859, Oxford University
  31. ^ Stein, Christian, Hörschelmann, Ferdinand, and Wappäus, Johann Eduard. Handbuch der Geographie und Statistik, Leipzig, 1863–70, I, pt. III, 595
  32. ^ Recueil de voyages et de documents pour servir a l'histoire de la géographie, ed. by Schéfer and Cordier, Paris, 1893.
  33. ^ Anton Huonder, Deutsche Jesuitenmissionare des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts : Ein Beitrag zur Missionsgeschichte und zur deutschen Biographie, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1899.
  34. ^ José Chantre y Herrera, Historia de las misiones de la Campañía de Jesús en el Marañón español, Aurelio Elias Mera, ed. A. Avrial, 1901
  35. ^ Teodoro Wolf, Geogr. y Geologia del Ecuador, Leipzig, 1892.
Amazon River

The Amazon River (US: , UK: ; Spanish and Portuguese: Amazonas) in South America is the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world, and by some definitions it is the longest.The headwaters of the Apurímac River on Nevado Mismi had been considered for nearly a century as the Amazon's most distant source, until a 2014 study found it to be the headwaters of the Mantaro River on the Cordillera Rumi Cruz in Peru. The Mantaro and Apurímac join, and with other tributaries form the Ucayali River, which in turn meets the Marañón River upstream of Iquitos, Peru, to form what countries other than Brazil consider to be the main stem of the Amazon. Brazilians call this section the Solimões River above its confluence with the Rio Negro to form what Brazilians call the Amazon at the Meeting of Waters (Portuguese: Encontro das Águas) at Manaus, the river's largest city.

At an average discharge of about 209,000 cubic metres per second (7,400,000 cu ft/s; 209,000,000 L/s; 55,000,000 USgal/s)—approximately 6,591 cubic kilometres per annum (1,581 cu mi/a), greater than the next seven largest independent rivers combined—the Amazon represents 20% of the global riverine discharge to the ocean. The Amazon basin is the largest drainage basin in the world, with an area of approximately 7,050,000 square kilometres (2,720,000 sq mi). The portion of the river's drainage basin in Brazil alone is larger than any other river's basin. The Amazon enters Brazil with only one-fifth of the flow it finally discharges into the Atlantic Ocean, yet already has a greater flow at this point than the discharge of any other river.

April 9

April 9 is the 99th day of the year (100th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 266 days remaining until the end of the year.

Battle of Refidim

The Battle of Refidim (or Rephidim), as described in the Bible, was a battle between the Israelites and Amalek, which occurred in Rephidim while the Israelite people were moving towards the Promised Land. The description of this battle can be found in the Book of Exodus.


The Cambeba people (also known as the Omagua, Umana, and Kambeba) are an indigenous people in Brazil's Amazon Basin. Their territory, when first in contact with Spanish explorers in the 16th century, was on the Amazon River upstream from the present-day city of Manaus extending into Peru. They speak the Omagua language. The Cambeba exist today in small numbers, but they were a populous, organized society in the late Pre-Columbian era. Their population suffered steep decline, mostly from infectious diseases, in the early years of the Columbian Exchange.

The name Cambeba seems to have been applied by other neighboring tribes and refers to the Omagua custom of flattening their children's heads by binding a piece of wood to the forehead soon after birth. Omagua women would jeer at the women from other tribes, saying that their heads were "round like those of forest savages." In the 18th century, the Omaguas would point out to travelers that their flattened foreheads were a sign of cultural superiority over their neighbors, and for a long time they resisted abandoning this custom, even under missionary pressure.

Charles University

Charles University, known also as Charles University in Prague (Czech: Univerzita Karlova; Latin: Universitas Carolina; German: Karls-Universität) or historically as the University of Prague (Latin: Universitas Pragensis), is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, it was the first university in Central Europe. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe in continuous operation and ranks in the upper 1.5 percent of the world’s best universities. Today, the university consists of 17 faculties located in Prague, Hradec Králové and Pilsen. Its academic publishing house is Karolinum Press. The university also operates several museums and two botanical gardens.

Its seal shows its protector Emperor Charles IV, with his coats of arms as King of the Romans and King of Bohemia, kneeling in front of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. It is surrounded by the inscription, Sigillum Universitatis Scolarium Studii Pragensis (English: Seal of the Prague academia).

George Edmundson

George Edmundson (4 February 1848 – 3 July 1930) was a clergyman of the Church of England and academic historian of the University of Oxford. He took up benefices in Northolt and Chelsea and in retirement lived in the south of France.

Lake Lauricocha

Lake Lauricocha (possibly from Huánuco Quechua lawri bluish, Quechua qucha lake, lagoon, "bluish lake") is a lake in the Andes mountains of central Peru, within Huánuco Region.

Lake Parime

Lake Parime or Lake Parima is a legendary lake located in South America. It was reputedly the location of the fabled city of El Dorado, also known as Manoa, much sought-after by European explorers. Repeated attempts to find the lake failed to confirm its existence, and it was dismissed as a myth along with the city. The search for Lake Parime led explorers to map the rivers and other features of southern Venezuela, northern Brazil, and southwestern Guyana before the lake's existence was definitively disproved in the early 19th century. Some explorers proposed that the seasonal flooding of the Rupununi savannah may have been misidentified as a lake. Recent geological investigations suggest that a lake may have existed in northern Brazil, but that it dried up some time in the 18th century. Both "Manoa" (Arawak language) and "Parime" (Carib language) are believed to mean "big lake".Two other mythical lakes, Lake Xarayes or Xaraies (sometimes called Lake Eupana), and Lake Cassipa, are often depicted on early maps of South America.

Marañón River

The Marañón River (Spanish: Río Marañón, IPA: [ˈri.o maɾaˈɲon]) is the principal or mainstem source of the Amazon River, arising about 160 km to the northeast of Lima, Peru, and flowing through a deeply eroded Andean valley in a northwesterly direction, along the eastern base of the Cordillera of the Andes, as far as 5° 36′ southern latitude; from where it makes a great bend to the northeast, and cuts through the jungle Andes, until at the Pongo de Manseriche it flows into the flat Amazon basin. Although historically, the term "Marañon River" often was applied to the river all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, nowadays the Marañon River is generally thought to end at the confluence with the Ucayali River, after which most cartographers label the ensuing waterway the Amazon River.

Pablo Maroni

Pablo Maroni (Paul) (b. 1 November 1695) was a Jesuit missionary to S. XVIII Peru's viceroyalty.

Pais de los Maynas

Maynas was one of the missions the Jesuits created in South America. The missionaries started their descent from Quito in Ecuador mostly using the Rio Napo as their route. They used the common missionary techniques, found in other Jesuit missions like Paraguay, Chiquitania, Moxos or Orinoco. A difference from other areas was that the Indians belonged to different tribes and languages.

The missions expanded under Samuel Fritz SJ (who traveled all the way to Belém and drew the first map of the Amazon) up to what is today Manaos. This provoked trouble with Portuguese slave traders, who travelled from Belem upstream. It never was as stable or prosperous as the missions in Paraguay, but as one result Portuguese influence was stopped, and the upper parts of the Amazon basin fell to Spanish-speaking countries.

After the expulsion of the Jesuits, Maynas came under the control of Franciscans from Oacampa-Peru. This was one of the reasons the border and the ownership of Maynas in the post-colonial time was unclear. It provoked several wars between the two countries, before 1996 (Cenepa).

Society of Jesus

The Society of Jesus (SJ; Latin: Societas Iesu) is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men which originated in sixteenth-century Spain. The members are called Jesuits (Latin: Iesuitæ). The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a Basque nobleman from the Pyrenees area of northern Spain, founded the society after discerning his spiritual vocation while recovering from a wound sustained in the Battle of Pamplona. He composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope in matters of mission direction and assignment. Ignatius's plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by a bull containing the "Formula of the Institute".

Ignatius was a nobleman who had a military background, and the members of the society were supposed to accept orders anywhere in the world, where they might be required to live in extreme conditions. Accordingly, the opening lines of the founding document declared that the society was founded for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine." Jesuits are thus sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's soldiers", "God's marines", or "the Company", which evolved from references to Ignatius' history as a soldier and the society's commitment to accepting orders anywhere and to endure any conditions. The society participated in the Counter-Reformation and, later, in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.

The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General. The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit mother church.

In 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first Jesuit to be elected Pope, taking the name Pope Francis.

Source of the Amazon River

The Source of the Amazon River has been a subject of speculation and exploration for centuries. Three definitions can apply to determining the source of a river. The source can be defined as the most distant upstream point in the drainage basin, or the most distant upstream point of the largest stream (the main stem) of the river, or the most distant source of an uninterrupted flow of water. The source of the Amazon River has been attributed to the headwaters of three different Peruvian rivers in the high Andes: the Marañón. the Apurímac, and the Mantaro.

Explorers and scholars have identified each of the three rivers as being the source of the Amazon under one of the three definitions. The Mantaro is the most distant upstream point; the Maraňón is the main stem of the Amazon; and the Apurímac is the most distant source with an uninterrupted flow of water.

Spanish missions in South America

The Spanish missions in South America comprise a series of Jesuit Catholic religious outposts established by Spanish Catholics in order to spread the Christian doctrine among the local natives.

São Paulo de Olivença

São Paulo de Olivença is a community and a municipality near the western edge of the state of Amazonas near the tri-country border area in Brazil. The population is 36,536 (2015 est.) in an area of 19,746 km². The city is served by Senadora Eunice Michiles Airport. This city, along with other surrounding cities, is known for their sand export for the making of cement.


Trutnov (Czech pronunciation: [ˈtrutnof]; German: Trautenau) is a city in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic. It has a population of 31,239 and lies in the Krkonoše in the valley of the Úpa River.

Trutnov is located on a 12th-century Slavic settlement named after the Úpa River; the first written mention of this settlement is from 1260. In order to develop the countryside, King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia granted German settlers the right to establish a town at the pre-existing settlement. The first mention of the German name Trautenau, from which the modern name Trutnov is derived, is from a document of King Wenceslaus II in 1301. Since the end of the 14th century, Trutnov was a dowry town for the Bohemian queen. Its stout defenses repelled all enemies except for a capture by Jan Žižka during the Hussite Wars in 1421 and sieges by the Swedes during the Thirty Years' War in 1642 and 1647. It also was the site of the Battle of Trautenau in 1866 during the Austro-Prussian War.

Trutnov is the birthplace of Samuel Fritz (1654-1730), Jesuit missionary who was the first to produce an accurate map of the Amazon River in 1707.

For centuries, Trutnov relied on farming for its economy, but it began to be industrialized during the 19th century. In 1823, Johannes Faltis constructed a linen manufactury and a cotton weaving mill. Textiles remain an important part of the city's economy. Germans were the ethnic majority in the town until their expulsion in 1945.

In 1974, Václav Havel, the future president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, worked for nine months at the Krakonoš brewery.Hockey team HC Trutnov is based in the city. Trutnov has hosted the Trutnov Open Air Music Festival since 1990 and, since 1999, has hosted the Obscene Extreme Festival.


Uarini is a municipality located in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. According to estimates of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), its population was 13, 276 inhabitants in 2016. Its area is 10,246 km².The municipality contains 38% of the 187,982 hectares (464,510 acres) Baixo Juruá Extractive Reserve, created in 2001.

William Detré

William Detré was a missionary, b. in France in 1668, d. in South America, at an advanced age, date uncertain. After his admission to the Society of Jesus, he was sent by his superiors to the missions of South America in 1706, and seven years later was appointed superior-general and visitor of all the missions of the Amazon embracing a tract of over 3000 miles. He is credited with translating the catechism into eighteen different languages for the various Indian tribes under his jurisdiction. It was he who sent to Europe the celebrated map of the Amazon drawn by Father Samuel Fritz, S.J., and engraved at Quito in 1707. In 1727 he was appointed rector of the College of Cuenca, where he continued the zealous exercise of the foundations of the ministry. He left an interesting "Relation" dated 1 June 1731, giving curious details about the uncivilized races of the Amazon. It is inserted in volume XXIII of the Lettres Edifiantes, original edition.


Yurimaguas is a port town in the Loreto Region of the northeastern Peruvian Amazon. Historically associated with Maynas (Pais de los Maynas), the culturally diverse town is affectionately known as the "Pearl of the Huallaga" (Perla del Huallaga). Yurimaguas is located at the confluence of the majestic Huallaga and Paranapura Rivers in the steamy rainforests of northeastern Peru. It is the capital of both Alto Amazonas Province and Yurimaguas District, and had a population estimated at about 62,903 inhabitants (2017).

With a long and illustrious history, Yurimaguas is a tourist destination, especially during the August 15 annual Catholic festival of the Assumption. Long dominated by the presence of the Church, the town is home to the Apostolic Vicariate of Yurimaguas, Loreto Region. Visited in 1855 by the famed botanist Richard Spruce[1], Yurimaguas remains an important commercial center for subsistence and market oriented farmers or ribereños (who cultivate sugar cane, bananas, cotton, tobacco, manioc and other comestible produce) and fishermen. Yurimaguas is notable for being the last urban center in Loreto connected by highway with the rest of Peru: a recently paved road links Yurimaguas with Tarapoto and Moyobamba, located in the tropical Andes (high-jungle), or as it is known in the vernacular, the montaña. While the Moisés Benzaquen Rengifo Airport was first established in Yurimaguas in 1937, it is now barely functioning (the collapse of the Peruvian airline Aero Continente left only two airlines serving the airport). For the majority of the populace, transit is dominated by river travel. In the ports of Yurimaguas trade is in tropical forest produce, particularly hardwoods, petroleum, contraband, and goods (licit and otherwise) from the Andean highlands or Pacific Coast sent down-river to Iquitos and beyond (the Port Authority of Yurimaguas, ENAPU is in charge of the International Puerto de Yurimaguas, Peru). Yurimaguas boasts a magnificent Cathedral built by the Passionist Order, and modeled after the Cathedral in Burgos, Spain.

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