Orellana’s Robots

Historian Ed Hart explained what happened next:

Orellana’s Robot

Having traveled 200 leagues (a league equates to 2.6 miles) down fast-flowing rivers through inhospitable country where food was scarce, in the end his party hadn’t the food, the capacity, the support or the means to alleviate Pizarro’s predicament. There was no way back. They were both in the same famished predicament only in different places.

By improvisation and his unique skills, especially in languages, Orellana and his men escaped being swallowed by the jungle, eaten by crocodiles or strung up on poles by headhunters, and managed to find their way across the uncharted continent to the Atlantic Ocean, where they navigated the coast to Venezuela and returned from there to Spain. To Emperor Carlos V, Orellana’s tale seemed fantastic and contrived, and so it was that Carvajal’s Jornadas languished four centuries on a dusty library shelf, unpublished.

In recent days we have seen ramped-up interest both in the terra preta soils, which, as Lovelock said, are essential to any plan to escape the juggernaut of rapid climate change, and in the history of ancient civilizations. All around the planet, LIDAR imaging has rolled back the forest cover and, in the Amazon, revealed vast city complexes, validating Carvajal’s account. While slow to understand what soil scientists like Sombroek, et al, were telling them, climate scientists are now connecting the dots and starting to glimpse how a terra preta therapy might heal our atmosphere and oceans. Read More