In today's globalized world it can sometimes seem that everything is already explored. There are almost 8 billion people living on our planet, with most of us living in cities connected with each other through modern technology.
But despite all these advancements, there are still hundreds of tribes consisting of thousands of people spread across the world. They are still living like our ancient ancestors thousands of years ago, and many have no idea that the outside world even exists!
Most continents don't have anyone living on them anymore who are completely unaware of modern civilization. The last native American in the United States, who lived most of his life isolated from American society was found in 1911. The last uncontacted Aboriginal hunter-gatherers in Australia were found and contacted in 1984.
So where exactly are these uncontacted tribes?
There are a few left in the Congo Basin in Central Africa.
A couple in the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.
And several in the mountains of New Guinea.
But by far the majority of uncontacted people are living in South America. It is estimated that 97% of all uncontacted peoples live in the deep dark and hard to reach parts of the rainforest.
Over a hundred tribes consisting of thousands of people are currently still living here. And they have done this generation after generation for thousands of years, ever since the first humans arrived on the continent, roughly 15.000 years ago!
But how can it be that so many of these people still don't know anything about the modern world?
The answer is mainly geography.
The Amazon rainforest is enormous, larger than the entire Indian subcontinent! But with the region only having a population of about 20 million, it's practically empty!
The reason so few people live here is because, it's of course covered in thick dense forest, but also dangerous wildlife lives here, then there are the tropical diseases, and historically the region has never really been developed by any civilization.
There's only one bridge that crosses the entire Amazon river, which is right next to the Brazilian city of Manaus. The only major city in the region, which for the most part can only be reached by boat or airplane.
So the uncontacted people who live here are both difficult to actually reach, and it's difficult for them to leave, even if they wanted to!
The other reason why they still exist is because the governments of the countries that still have uncontacted tribes, have decided to leave them alone and not initiate any first contacts.
Many previous attempts to make contact have ended in disaster!
When Europeans first began arriving in large numbers to the new world after its discovery in 1492, 80%-95% of the indigenous population of the Americas died within the next 150 years!
This was mostly due to diseases like measles and smallpox brought by the new settlers. The people who had lived here for thousands of years separated from the rest of the world did not have any immunities to these diseases, unlike the Europeans who were now living among them.
When the Europeans arrived, the natives stood no chance against the pandemic that had now been introduced to the continent, and the remaining uncontacted people still face that exact same danger.
For example, a tribe in Colombia was contacted a few decades ago by modern anthropologists, but this resulted in the tribe's population being reduced by more than 50%! Simply because of the diseases that the anthropologists accidentally exposed them to.
But there's also the risk of violence.
In Ecuador there have been clashes between uncontacted tribes and loggers cutting down the forest as recent as 2006 and 2007! In the end 30 tribesmen and 10 loggers died in the battles.
Loggers, oil prospectors, drug traffickers, and hunters all occasionally stumble upon an uncontacted tribe in the jungle by accident, and these encounters usually end in a violent way.
There's a man who lives in the Amazon in Brazil called the loneliest man in the world. He lives all alone in the jungle and is believed to be the last surviving member of his tribe. The language he speaks is unknown, and so is the name of the tribe he once belonged to. He was first discovered in 1996, and since then the Brazilian government has sent several expeditions to find him. All of those failed until 2007 when they finally met him, and he shot one of the people in the chest with a bow and arrow!
This might seem very violent, but evidence of his old village was later found, which had been bulldozed and destroyed by illegal loggers. Unsurprisingly the man wants nothing to do with outside people, and the Brazilian government has now declared a 68 kilometer square kilometer exclusion zone around him, that's illegal for anyone to enter.
He's the only human living in this entire area, and he's probably still there today! The most recent evidence of him is from a video from 2018 where he's seen cutting down a tree.
The Brazilian government now maintains a policy of zero contact with uncontacted peoples, but occasionally checks up on them with flyovers. This is mainly to count their population numbers and to see how they're doing.
We can only imagine what these people must be thinking when they see an airplane flying above them. But who knows, maybe aliens treat us the same way as we treat these tribes. They don't make first contact and maintain a certain distance, but from time to time they fly by and take a quick look to satisfy their curiosity. It would certainly explain a lot of conspiracy theories!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article!