Fordlandia: utopian industrial dream in the Amazon


Ninety years ago the American car magnate Henry Ford created a town in the Amazon jungle in order to secure a supply of rubber for his vehicles' tyres. Today it is just a ghost town, another example of the hubris so commonly associated with this region of the world. Mediapart's Thomas Cantaloube reports from Brazil on whether the lessons of that failed venture have truly been learned.

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It would be hard to imagine a more perfect metaphor for the ultimate fate of lofty dreams about the Amazon than Fordlandia. Even in this era of the internet and when outboard engines can be bought on credit at household appliance stores, this small town sleeping on the banks of the river Tapajos in Brazil seems to revel in its remoteness from the rest of the world. Yet this was supposed to have become a showcase of Western industry, in one of those displays of hubris that generally end badly.