In 1943 President Getúlio Vargas created the Territory of Guaporé from chunks of Amazonas and Mato Grosso. In 1981 it became the state of Rondônia, named for Marechal Cândido Rondon, the enlightened and humane soldier who ‘tamed’ this region in the 1920s when he constructed a telegraph line linking it to the rest of Brazil. He exhorted his agents to ‘Morrer, se preciso for, matar nunca!’ (‘Die, if necessary, but never kill!’).
More recently, Rondônia was the epicenter of the notorious clear cutting of the rainforest in the 1980s, equivalent to more than a football field a minute, for a whole decade. Fortunately, deforestation in Rondônia has dropped considerably from those highs, now accounting for less than 10% of overall cutting in the Amazon.