Nearly 2,000 miles up-river from the mouth of the Amazon lies the jungle-locked city of Iquitos. Accessible only by boat or plane, Iquitos holds the title of being the world’s largest city that cannot be reached by road.
Iquitos was known for its rubber industry through the rubber boom of the first decade of the 20th century; it attracted thousands of immigrants from around the world, mostly young, single men who hoped to make their fortunes in rubber. The rise of the automobile and related industries had dramatically increased the worldwide demand for rubber. Some men became merchants and bankers, and made their fortunes that way. Many of the European men married indigenous women and stayed in Peru the rest of their lives, founding ethnically mixed families. The immigrants brought European clothing styles, music and other cultural elements to Iquitos.
The wealthiest Europeans built great mansions in the late 19th century, some of which survive. Casa de Fierro (Spanish for the Iron House) was designed by Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower.
After rubber seeds were smuggled out of the country and began to be cultivated in quantity elsewhere, the Peruvian boom came to an end. The city is still an important trading port in the Amazon basin.
Camera: Canon G9
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