Surely an outstanding character from the last "Age of Exploration". His exploits in mapping the wilderness of South America are well known but here's a short resumè with a few anedoctes of his fascinating career.
Fawcett became convinced that the inhospitable jungles and fearsome mountains of South America were hiding the remains of advanced, yet unknown civilizations and during his expeditions kept searching for them. He never found anything, apart from a few fantastic tales and some scattered tribes which he believed were the degenerate descendants of highly civilized people.
What's more interesting about Fawcett's expeditions are some "wild" claims: he once shot an immense anaconda, 62-foot long, near the Brazil-Peru border. In Mato Grosso his party met a tribe of belligerant, "hair covered" savages, the Maricoxi, which were scared away by a single pistol shot. And the list goes on.
It is well known that Fawcett had dealings with "fringe movements", as we would call them right now: he corresponded with that famous Spiritualist, Arthur Conan Doyle (who got the idea for The Lost World from Fawcett himself) and was himself a strong believer in the existence of Atlantis and other "lost" civilizations. It has been alleged (though never proven) that he believed Brazil to be the last refuge of Atlantean survivors and that many lost cities built by these survivors were hidden in the Mato Grosso.
He was not a believer in increbible hidden treasures: for example he related how, during an expedition, he hid some crates containing emergency equipment and 60 guineas along the way, just in case He recovered the cache on his way back to civilization but a couple of years later he heard how an "Englishman" was supposed to have buried an immense treasure in the jungle, worth 60.000 guineas!
"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"
-Kalevala, Rune XIII-