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              What is the       

FIRST INTEGRAL PANAMERICAN EXPEDITION

                  and its European epilogue ?


The First Integral Panamerican Expedition (1982-1996) has its roots in two premises.

One premise is that traveling over the American Continent, with the variety and magnificence of its physical features, is like traveling over a stage representing faithfully all the features of all the other continents; the premise that the American Continent has, in fact, not only as many characteristics as, but more characteristics than, any other continent, and is therefore the best reflection of the whole planet as a physical entity.

The other premise is that recalling the human events having occurred over countless millennia and observing human activity today on the American Continent is like recalling and observing events of the ascent of humankind as a whole.

These two premises can be easily combined into one: that an alien from another planet could get a fairly good notion of life on this Planet Earth by visiting only the American Continent.

The First Integral Panamerican Expedition is summarized by its own name: it is the first expedition with such a multi-disciplinary research scope, over such a detailed and vast Panamerican geographical extension.

Thus, its 390,000 kilometer (about 245,000 mile) long itinerary zigzags widely between Ellesmere, the last land before the North Pole, and Tierra del Fuego, the last land before the Antarctic; between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; between 1,000 meters (about 3,300 feet) below sea level and 6,130 meters (about 20,500 feet) well high up, among sulphur and snow, in the Andes; and through all the places of American significance in Europe.

Thus, its studies, observations, commentaries are densely packed into 4,845 typewritten pages (single-spaced), and documented in about 14,500 photographs; the chronological index alone of the non-stop 13 years and 3 months of field-trip by, mainly, four-wheel-drive truck, also dugout canoe, horseback, helicopter, etc. requires 82 pages.

Do you want a concise insight into the cryptic messages hidden in the Viking writings in America?  Are you interested in the ingenuity of humankind as illustrated in dozens of industrial processes?  Would you throb at the tragedies of the discovery of the Northwest Passage, from Atlantic to Pacific, way up north, or at the tragedies of the settling of the Magellan Strait, from the Atlantic to the Southern Seas, way down south?  Are you strong enough to learn what happens to apples, to wheat, when they are "processed" for your eating pleasure?  Do you want to discover a country with two capital cities and countries without name?  Would you like a pilgrimage along the first steps of Columbus, Cortés, Pizarro, other famous explorers, in America?  Or a pilgrimage to the places from where, centuries apart, Brendan, Madoc, Columbus sailed out without knowing, any one of them, what was awaiting them beyond the horizon?  Would your curiosity be caught by what the black race has to tell about its arrival from Africa to the Caribbean before Columbus?  Would you feel captivated by the birth of the toponym "America", its unlikely location, its fascinating circumstances?  Did you ever ponder that the inability to understand concepts is a much greater problem than the inability to read?

The rise of humankind on the American Continent as seen through 169 archaeological places, insights into worms, sponges, circumpolar lights, blue lobsters, subnuclear particles, mining and faking of emeralds, daily life as it really is in many societies, and hundreds, thousands of similarly diverse and exciting subjects are also part of the Chronicles of the First Integral Panamerican Expedition.

Episodes of "adventures" never were the purpose of the Expedition but they certainly became part of the reality of the Expedition: stumbling nine days on foot through virgin jungle; driving on the frozen Arctic Ocean away from the continent; struggling through the Amazon Basin to legendary Manaos and beyond; sleeping in the Expedition truck with 13°C below zero inside and 40°C (or F, it does not matter) below zero outside; finding oneself at the wrong end of firearms; being immobilized by the breakdown of the vehicle where legally it could not be repaired; daring dengue fever, yellow fever, two kinds of malaria; and more.

The slot of this Expedition in the flow of centuries is rather appropriate, even imperative.

Now is the period when, for the first time and a short time, America possesses concomitantly the whole gamut between the two most estranged extremes of human evolution, from paleoxylic tribes to space explorers, both of which this Expedition had the opportunity to meet.  A short while ago the space explorers did not exist; in a short while the primeval tribes will not exist.

Now also is the period when America still possesses, for the last time, a certain diversity of human groups, each one with its own life-style, and a few pristine places left; but the groups are being laminated into a passive and uniform anonymity and the places are being obliterated by the pounding of the human tide.  So that soon it would have been too late.

Also, this Expedition happens to coincide with the Quincentenary of the last discovery of America.

Thus were the substance, the circumstances, the time-frame of the First Integral Panamerican Expedition with its important European codicil.  The spirit in which it was conducted may be illustrated by quoting the first Preface (of three) of the Chronicles:

"If we wrote 'water is wet' someone, somewhere, without a doubt, would stand up, point his finger upwards and argue otherwise.

"With these Chronicles, mindless as they are of sacred tenets if what we learned is at variance with the tenets, we shall have, no doubt, packs of dissenters barking at us their criticism - from magisterial to derisive.

"We did not, though, devote so many years of energy only to repeat yet once more the usual stereotypes.

"These Chronicles are a straight account of what we really saw, what we really read, what we really heard.  If barking, offended or disparaging, there must be, so be it.

"The photographs follow the same philosophy.  Undoctored, they show things the way things really are.

"Those who would follow our steps would find what we found.

                                                The Pachta spouses."


Oh yes, a bibliography of some 330 books and some 360 other sources is also part of the First Integral Panamerican Expedition.



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