Lost Countries of South America


An adventurous, dazzling and original continent-sized history that brings South America’s epic past and fascinating present to life

Patria tells an alternative history of South America, spanning thousands of miles and five centuries to the present. Looking beyond modern borders, Laurence Blair takes as his waymarks nine countries that can’t be found on a map: vanished realms, half-imagined utopias and dismembered homelands.

Blair’s journey ranges from ancient Amazonian city-states and a rebel Inca dynasty in the jungle – via a Brazilian Wakanda that defied slavery, Bolivia’s landlocked navy, and the Patagonian power that defeated the Spanish – to fall in with the African freedom fighters who marched over the Andes, and the New World Napoleon who led Paraguay to its ruin.

Groundbreaking recent scholarship, striking archaeological discoveries and vivid eyewitness reporting – including encounters with drug lords, Indigenous leaders, refugees and former guerrillas – weave a story of survival, resistance and revolution, restoring South America to the centre of world history.


  • Ambitious and far-reaching... integrating research into pre-Columbian remains with the contemporary experience of crossing borders as a sharp-eyed, backpacking witness
    Iain Sinclair

About the author

Laurence Blair

Laurence Blair is an award-winning writer and journalist. He was born and raised in Dorset, southwest England, and studied Ancient and Modern History at the University of Oxford. Since 2014, he has reported from across Latin America for outlets including the BBC, Economist, Financial Times, Guardian, New York Times and National Geographic. He currently lives in Asunción, Paraguay.
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