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The real Indiana Jones died in Brazil

Percy Harrison Fawcett, believed to be one of the real-life inspirations for George Lucas' Hollywood explorer, was fascinated with Brazil and disappeared in Mato Grosso

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Explorer Orlando Villas Bôas (center) with what is believed to be Fawcett’s remains. Photo: C.V.B. Villas Bôas Family Archive/Commons

Indiana Jones is not simply a figment of film director George Lucas’ imagination. The rugged explorer known for raiding tombs and thwarting baddies on the big screen is in fact an amalgam of several real-life explorers, many of whom fell under the same moral dilemma as Harrison Ford’s swashbuckling hero: for some, they were great explorers, for others, they were greedy treasure hunters. 

One of the major inspirations for Indiana Jones was British archeologist Percy Harrison Fawcett, an avid explorer at the turn of the 20th century. It is believed that Fawcett also served as inspiration for his close personal...

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