Where did the word "Amazon" come from?
A Greek myth?
Francisco de Orellana was a Spanish conquistador and the first
European to travel the length of the Amazon river, in 1541-42. Along the
way, he and his men ran into a tribe of fierce women warriors, each "doing
as much fighting as ten Indian men." Orellana recalled the Greek myth
of warrier women and named the entire river "Amazonas."
Orellana's journey down the Amazon River
The Amazon women of South America were only one of many indigenous
peoples which Orellana met during his expedition. Most lived along rivers,
where canoes made transportation easy. Many of these Indians, or indigenous
people, died from diseases brought by Europeans. Others died after being
enslaved. Today, there are fewer indigenous people in the Amazon than there
were 500 years ago. But other people also live in the Amazon. Who are they?
Who else lives there now?