Rondon, Cândido Mariano da Silva

Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon (1865-1958) accompanied Theodore Roosevelt down Brazil’s River of Doubt in 1914. Of Bororo and Tereno Indian and Portuguese descent, Rondon grew up in Brazil and made his own way in the world. When he met Theodore Roosevelt, he was in the midst of a long career as an army engineer, dedicated to the laborious task of laying telegraph lines across Brazil. This dangerous job had taken Rondon to the headwaters of the River of Doubt. During the three-month long Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition (February 27-April 27, 1914), the Brazilian’s experience with native people, geography, flora, and fauna proved invaluable. Rondon’s mission was to map the River of Doubt, and the scientific precision he sought sometimes clashed with Roosevelt’s desire to reach the end quickly, especially once disasters of many kinds struck the expedition. Nevertheless, the two men respected and admired each other.

Rondon’s selfless support for indigenous peoples, his military endeavors, and his bravery in traversing the uncharted interior of Brazil made him a national hero. He died in 1958, and remains one of Brazil’s most famous and respected citizens.