The Legend Of El Dorado

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The Legend Of El Dorado

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The Legend Of El Dorado - The Legend of El Dorado

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The first journey he had to make was to go to the great lagoon of Guatavita, to make offerings and sacrifices to the demon which they worshipped as their god and lord.

During the ceremony which took place at the lagoon, they made a raft of rushes , embellishing and decorating it with the most attractive things they had.

They put on it four lighted braziers in which they burned much moque, which is the incense of these natives, and also resin and many other perfumes.

The lagoon was large and deep, so that a ship with high sides could sail on it, all loaded with an infinity of men and women dressed in fine plumes, golden plaques and crowns.

As soon as those on the raft began to burn incense, they also lit braziers on the shore, so that the smoke hid the light of day.

At this time, they stripped the heir to his skin, and anointed him with a sticky earth on which they placed gold dust so that he was completely covered with this metal.

They placed him on the raft In the raft with him went four principal subject chiefs, decked in plumes, crowns, bracelets, pendants and ear rings all of gold.

They, too, were naked, and each one carried his offering The gilded Indian then After this they lowered the flag, which had remained up during the whole time of offering, and, as the raft moved towards the shore, the shouting began again, with pipes, flutes and large teams of singers and dancers.

With this ceremony the new ruler was received, and was recognised as lord and king. This is the ceremony that became the famous El Dorado, which has taken so many lives and fortunes.

An alien Indian, hailing from afar, Who in the town of Quito did abide. And neighbor claimed to be of Bogata, There having come, I know not by what way, Did with him speak and solemnly announce A country rich in emeralds and gold.

Also, among the things which them engaged, A certain king he told of who, disrobed, Upon a lake was wont, aboard a raft, To make oblations, as himself had seen, His regal form overspread with fragrant oil On which was laid a coat of powdered gold From sole of foot unto his highest brow, Resplendent as the beaming of the sun.

Arrivals without end, he further said, Were there to make rich votive offerings Of golden trinkets and of emeralds rare And divers other of their ornaments; And worthy credence these things he affirmed; The soldiers, light of heart and well content, Then dubbed him El Dorado , and the name By countless ways was spread throughout the world.

He went about all covered with powdered gold, as casually as if it were powdered salt. For it seemed to him that to wear any other finery was less beautiful, and that to put on ornaments or arms made of gold worked by hammering, stamping, or by other means, was a vulgar and common thing.

In the Muisca territories, there were a number of natural locations considered sacred, including lakes, rivers, forests and large rocks.

People gathered here to perform rituals and sacrifices mostly with gold and emeralds. El Dorado is applied to a legendary story in which precious stones were found in fabulous abundance along with gold coins.

The concept of El Dorado underwent several transformations, and eventually accounts of the previous myth were also combined with those of a legendary lost city.

The resulting El Dorado myth enticed European explorers for two centuries. Among the earliest stories was the one told on his deathbed by Juan Martinez, a captain of munitions for Spanish adventurer Diego de Ordaz , who claimed to have visited the city of Manoa.

Martinez had allowed a store of gunpowder to catch fire and was condemned to death, however his friends let him escape downriver in a canoe.

Martinez then met with some local people who took him to the city:. The canoa [sic] was carried down the stream, and certain of the Guianians met it the same evening; and, having not at any time seen any Christian nor any man of that colour, they carried Martinez into the land to be wondered at, and so from town to town, until he came to the great city of Manoa, the seat and residence of Inga the emperor.

The emperor, after he had beheld him, knew him to be a Christian, and caused him to be lodged in his palace, and well entertained.

He was brought thither all the way blindfold, led by the Indians, until he came to the entrance of Manoa itself, and was fourteen or fifteen days in the passage.

He avowed at his death that he entered the city at noon, and then they uncovered his face; and that he traveled all that day till night through the city, and the next day from sun rising to sun setting, ere he came to the palace of Inga.

After that Martinez had lived seven months in Manoa, and began to understand the language of the country, Inga asked him whether he desired to return into his own country, or would willingly abide with him.

But Martinez, not desirous to stay, obtained the favour of Inga to depart. The fable of Juan Martinez was founded on the adventures of Juan Martin de Albujar, well known to the Spanish historians of the Conquest; and who, in the expedition of Pedro de Silva , fell into the hands of the Caribs of the Lower Orinoco.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans, still fascinated by the New World, believed that a hidden city of immense wealth existed.

Numerous expeditions were mounted to search for this treasure, all of which ended in failure. The illustration of El Dorado's location on maps only made matters worse, as it made some people think that the city of El Dorado's existence had been confirmed.

The mythical city of El Dorado on Lake Parime was marked on numerous maps until its existence was disproved by Alexander von Humboldt during his Latin America expedition — Meanwhile, the name of El Dorado came to be used metaphorically of any place where wealth could be rapidly acquired.

It was given to El Dorado County, California , and to towns and cities in various states. It has also been anglicized to the single word Eldorado , and is sometimes used in product titles to suggest great wealth and fortune, such as the Cadillac Eldorado line of luxury automobiles.

El Dorado is also sometimes used as a metaphor to represent an ultimate prize or " Holy Grail " that one might spend one's life seeking.

It could represent true love, heaven, happiness, or success. It is used sometimes as a figure of speech to represent something much sought after that may not even exist, or, at least, may not ever be found.

The other side of the ideal quest metaphor may be represented by Helldorado , a satirical nickname given to Tombstone, Arizona United States in the s by a disgruntled miner who complained that many of his profession had traveled far to find El Dorado, only to wind up washing dishes in restaurants.

Spanish conquistadores had noticed the native people's fine artifacts of gold and silver long before any legend of "golden men" or "lost cities" had appeared.

The prevalence of such valuable artifacts, and the natives' apparent ignorance of their value, inspired speculation as to a plentiful source for them.

Prior to the time of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and discovery of Lake Guatavita, a handful of expeditions had set out to explore the lowlands to the east of the Andes in search of gold, cinnamon, precious stones, and anything else of value.

During the Klein-Venedig period in Venezuela — , agents of the German Welser banking family which had received a concession from Charles I of Spain launched repeated expeditions into the interior of the country in search of gold , starting with Ambrosius Ehinger 's first expedition in July Spanish explorer Diego de Ordaz , then governor of the eastern part of Venezuela known as Paria named after Paria Peninsula , was the first European to explore the Orinoco river in —32 in search of gold.

After his return he died, possibly poisoned, on a voyage back to Spain. In , he ordered captain Alonso de Herrera to move inland by the waters of the Uyapari River today the town of Barrancas del Orinoco.

Herrera, who had accompanied Ordaz three years before, explored the Meta River but was killed by the indigenous Achagua near its banks, while waiting out the winter rains in Casanare.

The earliest reference to an El Dorado-like kingdom occurred in during Ordaz's expedition when he was told of a kingdom called Meta that was said to exist beyond a mountain on the left bank of the Orinoco River.

Meta was supposedly abundant in gold and ruled by a chief that only had one intact eye. In Hutten led an exploring party of about men, mostly horsemen, from Coro on the coast of Venezuela in search of the Golden City.

After several years of wandering, harassed by the natives and weakened by hunger and fever, he crossed the Rio Bermejo, and went on with a small group of around 40 men on horseback into Los Llanos , where they engaged in battle with a large number of Omaguas and Hutten was severely wounded.

He led those of his followers who survived back to Coro in Welser , were executed in El Tocuyo by the Spanish authorities.

In , Sebastian de Benalcazar , a lieutenant of Francisco Pizarro, interrogated an Indian that had been captured at Quito. Luis Daza recorded that the Indian was a warrior while Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas wrote that the Indian was an ambassador who had come to request military assistance from the Inca, unaware that they had already been conquered.

The Indian told Benalcazar that he was from a kingdom of riches known as Cundinamarca far to the north where a zipa, or chief, covered himself in gold dust during ceremonies.

In , stories of El Dorado drew the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada and his army of men away from their mission to find an overland route to Peru and up into the Andean homeland of the Muisca for the first time.

The southern Muisca settlements and their treasures quickly fell to the conquistadors in and Quesada believed this might have been El Dorado and decided to postpone his return to Santa Marta and continue his expedition for another year.

One of his main captains on this journey was Baltasar Maldonado. In , Gonzalo Pizarro , the younger half-brother of Francisco Pizarro , the Spanish conquistador who toppled the Incan Empire in Peru, was made the governor of the province of Quito in northern Ecuador.

Shortly after taking lead in Quito, Gonzalo learned from many of the natives of a valley far to the east rich in both cinnamon and gold.

He banded together soldiers and about natives in and led them eastward down the Rio Coca and Rio Napo.

Francisco de Orellana accompanied Pizarro on the expedition as his lieutenant. Gonzalo quit after many of the soldiers and natives had died from hunger, disease, and periodic attacks by hostile natives.

He ordered Orellana to continue downstream, where he eventually made it to the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition found neither cinnamon nor gold, but Orellana is credited with discovering the Amazon River so named because of a tribe of female warriors that attacked Orellana's men while on their voyage.

After 3 months, the water level had been reduced by 3 metres, and only a small amount of gold was recovered, with a value of — pesos approx.

A notch was cut deep into the rim of the lake, which managed to reduce the water level by 20 metres, before collapsing and killing many of the labourers.

A share of the findings—consisting of various golden ornaments, jewellery and armour—was sent to King Philip II of Spain.

He died a poor man, and is buried at the church in the small town of Guatavita. The lake was drained by a tunnel that emerged in the centre of the lake.

The water was drained to a depth of about 4 feet of mud and slime. Some of these were donated to the British Museum. In , the Colombian government designated the lake as a protected area.

Private salvage operations, including attempts to drain the lake, are now illegal. Between and he carried out his first two expeditions, going through the wild regions of the Colombian plains and the Upper Orinoco.

Berrio took them to the territories he had previously explored by himself years before. Walter Raleigh 's journey with Antonio de Berrio had aimed to reach Lake Parime in the highlands of Guyana the supposed location of El Dorado at the time.

He was encouraged by the account of Juan Martinez, believed to be Juan Martin de Albujar, who had taken part in Pedro de Silva's expedition of the area in , only to fall into the hands of the Caribs of the Lower Orinoco.

Martinez claimed that he was taken to the golden city in blindfold, was entertained by the natives, and then left the city and couldn't remember how to return.

First, he wanted to find the mythical city of El Dorado, which he suspected to be an actual Indian city named Manõa. Second, he hoped to establish an English presence in the Southern Hemisphere that could compete with that of the Spanish.

His third goal was to create an English settlement in the land called Guyana, and to try to reduce commerce between the natives and Spaniards.

In Raleigh sent his lieutenant, Lawrence Kemys , back to Guyana in the area of the Orinoco River, to gather more information about the lake and the golden city.

Kemys described the coast of Guiana in detail in his Relation of the Second Voyage to Guiana [26] and wrote that indigenous people of Guiana traveled inland by canoe and land passages towards a large body of water on the shores of which he supposed was located Manoa, Golden City of El Dorado.

Though Raleigh never found El Dorado, he was convinced that there was some fantastic city whose riches could be discovered.

Finding gold on the riverbanks and in villages only strengthened his resolve. However, Raleigh, by now an old man, stayed behind in a camp on the island of Trinidad.

Watt Raleigh was killed in a battle with Spaniards and Kemys subsequently committed suicide. On 23 March , Robert Harcourt accompanied by his brother Michael and a company of adventurers, sailed for Guiana.

On 11 May he arrived at the Oyapock River. Local people came on board, and were disappointed at the absence of Sir Walter Raleigh after he had famously visited during his exploration of the area in Harcourt gave them aqua vitae.

He took possession in the king's name of a tract of land lying between the River Amazon and River Essequibo on 14 August, left his brother and most of his company to colonise it, and four days later embarked for England.

In North and Harcourt, obtained letters patent under the great seal from Charles I , authorising them to form a company for "the Plantation of Guiana", North being named as deputy governor of the settlement.

Short of funds, this expedition was fitted out, a plantation established in , and trade opened by North's endeavours.

In , two monks, Acana and Fritz, undertook several journeys to the lands of the Manoas, indigenous peoples living in western Guyana and what is now Roraima in northeastern Brazil.

Although they found no evidence of El Dorado, their published accounts were intended to inspire further exploration. In April one of the Indian guides returned reporting that in Horstman had crossed over to the Rio Branco and descended it to its confluence with the Rio Negro.

Horstman discovered Lake Amucu on the North Rupununi but found neither gold nor any evidence of a city. His survey of the local geography, however, provided the basis for other expeditions starting in The Muisca people of Cundinamarca present-day Colombia had a tradition: kings would coat themselves in a sticky sap before covering themselves in gold powder.

Then, a great festival would begin. This tradition had been neglected by the Muisca by the time of their discovery by the Spanish in , but not before word of it had reached the greedy ears of the European intruders in cities all over the continent.

Some gold was indeed found, but not as much as the Spanish had hoped for. Therefore, they reasoned optimistically, the Muisca must not be the true kingdom of El Dorado and it must still be out there somewhere.

Expeditions, composed of recent arrivals from Europe as well as veterans of the conquest, set out in all directions to search for it. The legend grew as illiterate conquistadors passed the legend by word of mouth from one to another: El Dorado was not merely one king, but a rich city made of gold, with enough wealth for a thousand men to become rich forever.

Between and or so, thousands of men made dozens of forays into the unmapped interior of South America. A typical expedition went something like this.

In a Spanish coastal town on the South American mainland, such as Santa Marta or Coro, a charismatic, influential individual would announce an expedition.

Anywhere from one hundred to seven hundred Europeans, mostly Spaniards would sign up, bringing their own armor, weapons, and horses if you had a horse you got a larger share of the treasure.

The expedition would force natives along to carry the heavier gear, and some of the better-planned ones would bring livestock usually hogs to slaughter and eat along the way.

Fighting dogs were always brought along, as they were useful when fighting bellicose natives. The leaders would often borrow heavily to purchase supplies.

After a couple of months, they were ready to go. The expedition would head off, seemingly in any direction. They would stay out for any length of time from a couple of months to as long as four years, searching plains, mountains, rivers, and jungles.

They would meet natives along the way: these they would either torture or ply with gifts to get information about where they could find gold.

Almost invariably, the natives pointed in some direction and said some variation of "our neighbors in that direction have the gold you seek.

Meanwhile, illnesses, desertion, and native attacks would whittle down the expedition. Nevertheless, the expeditions proved surprisingly resilient, braving mosquito-infested swamps, hordes of angry natives, blazing heat on the plains, flooded rivers, and frosty mountain passes.

Eventually, when their numbers got too low or when the leader died the expedition would give up and return home. Over the years, many men searched South America for the legendary lost city of gold.

At best, they were impromptu explorers, who treated the natives they encountered relatively fairly and helped map the unknown interior of South America.

At worst, they were greedy, obsessed butchers who tortured their way through native populations, killing thousands in their fruitless quest. Here are some of the more distinguished seekers of El Dorado:.

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The Legend Of El Dorado - Beschreibung

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The Legend Of El Dorado Video

El Dorado: How Legends are Made

Lesser New World cultures such as the Maya in Central America and the Muisca in present-day Colombia yielded smaller but still significant treasures.

Tales of these fortunes made the rounds in Europe and soon thousands of adventurers from all over Europe were making their way to the New World, hoping to be part of the next expedition.

Most but not all of them were Spanish. These adventurers had little or no personal fortune but great ambition: most had some experience fighting in Europe's many wars.

They were violent, ruthless men who had nothing to lose: they would get rich on New World gold or die trying.

Soon the ports were flooded with these would-be conquistadors, who would form into large expeditions and set off into the unknown interior of South America, often following the vaguest rumors of gold.

There was a grain of truth in the El Dorado myth. The Muisca people of Cundinamarca present-day Colombia had a tradition: kings would coat themselves in a sticky sap before covering themselves in gold powder.

Then, a great festival would begin. This tradition had been neglected by the Muisca by the time of their discovery by the Spanish in , but not before word of it had reached the greedy ears of the European intruders in cities all over the continent.

Some gold was indeed found, but not as much as the Spanish had hoped for. Therefore, they reasoned optimistically, the Muisca must not be the true kingdom of El Dorado and it must still be out there somewhere.

Expeditions, composed of recent arrivals from Europe as well as veterans of the conquest, set out in all directions to search for it.

The legend grew as illiterate conquistadors passed the legend by word of mouth from one to another: El Dorado was not merely one king, but a rich city made of gold, with enough wealth for a thousand men to become rich forever.

Between and or so, thousands of men made dozens of forays into the unmapped interior of South America.

A typical expedition went something like this. In a Spanish coastal town on the South American mainland, such as Santa Marta or Coro, a charismatic, influential individual would announce an expedition.

The other side of the ideal quest metaphor may be represented by Helldorado , a satirical nickname given to Tombstone, Arizona United States in the s by a disgruntled miner who complained that many of his profession had traveled far to find El Dorado, only to wind up washing dishes in restaurants.

Spanish conquistadores had noticed the native people's fine artifacts of gold and silver long before any legend of "golden men" or "lost cities" had appeared.

The prevalence of such valuable artifacts, and the natives' apparent ignorance of their value, inspired speculation as to a plentiful source for them.

Prior to the time of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and discovery of Lake Guatavita, a handful of expeditions had set out to explore the lowlands to the east of the Andes in search of gold, cinnamon, precious stones, and anything else of value.

During the Klein-Venedig period in Venezuela — , agents of the German Welser banking family which had received a concession from Charles I of Spain launched repeated expeditions into the interior of the country in search of gold , starting with Ambrosius Ehinger 's first expedition in July Spanish explorer Diego de Ordaz , then governor of the eastern part of Venezuela known as Paria named after Paria Peninsula , was the first European to explore the Orinoco river in —32 in search of gold.

After his return he died, possibly poisoned, on a voyage back to Spain. In , he ordered captain Alonso de Herrera to move inland by the waters of the Uyapari River today the town of Barrancas del Orinoco.

Herrera, who had accompanied Ordaz three years before, explored the Meta River but was killed by the indigenous Achagua near its banks, while waiting out the winter rains in Casanare.

The earliest reference to an El Dorado-like kingdom occurred in during Ordaz's expedition when he was told of a kingdom called Meta that was said to exist beyond a mountain on the left bank of the Orinoco River.

Meta was supposedly abundant in gold and ruled by a chief that only had one intact eye. In Hutten led an exploring party of about men, mostly horsemen, from Coro on the coast of Venezuela in search of the Golden City.

After several years of wandering, harassed by the natives and weakened by hunger and fever, he crossed the Rio Bermejo, and went on with a small group of around 40 men on horseback into Los Llanos , where they engaged in battle with a large number of Omaguas and Hutten was severely wounded.

He led those of his followers who survived back to Coro in Welser , were executed in El Tocuyo by the Spanish authorities.

In , Sebastian de Benalcazar , a lieutenant of Francisco Pizarro, interrogated an Indian that had been captured at Quito. Luis Daza recorded that the Indian was a warrior while Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas wrote that the Indian was an ambassador who had come to request military assistance from the Inca, unaware that they had already been conquered.

The Indian told Benalcazar that he was from a kingdom of riches known as Cundinamarca far to the north where a zipa, or chief, covered himself in gold dust during ceremonies.

In , stories of El Dorado drew the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada and his army of men away from their mission to find an overland route to Peru and up into the Andean homeland of the Muisca for the first time.

The southern Muisca settlements and their treasures quickly fell to the conquistadors in and Quesada believed this might have been El Dorado and decided to postpone his return to Santa Marta and continue his expedition for another year.

One of his main captains on this journey was Baltasar Maldonado. In , Gonzalo Pizarro , the younger half-brother of Francisco Pizarro , the Spanish conquistador who toppled the Incan Empire in Peru, was made the governor of the province of Quito in northern Ecuador.

Shortly after taking lead in Quito, Gonzalo learned from many of the natives of a valley far to the east rich in both cinnamon and gold. He banded together soldiers and about natives in and led them eastward down the Rio Coca and Rio Napo.

Francisco de Orellana accompanied Pizarro on the expedition as his lieutenant. Gonzalo quit after many of the soldiers and natives had died from hunger, disease, and periodic attacks by hostile natives.

He ordered Orellana to continue downstream, where he eventually made it to the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition found neither cinnamon nor gold, but Orellana is credited with discovering the Amazon River so named because of a tribe of female warriors that attacked Orellana's men while on their voyage.

After 3 months, the water level had been reduced by 3 metres, and only a small amount of gold was recovered, with a value of — pesos approx.

A notch was cut deep into the rim of the lake, which managed to reduce the water level by 20 metres, before collapsing and killing many of the labourers.

A share of the findings—consisting of various golden ornaments, jewellery and armour—was sent to King Philip II of Spain.

He died a poor man, and is buried at the church in the small town of Guatavita. The lake was drained by a tunnel that emerged in the centre of the lake.

The water was drained to a depth of about 4 feet of mud and slime. Some of these were donated to the British Museum.

In , the Colombian government designated the lake as a protected area. Private salvage operations, including attempts to drain the lake, are now illegal.

Between and he carried out his first two expeditions, going through the wild regions of the Colombian plains and the Upper Orinoco.

Berrio took them to the territories he had previously explored by himself years before. Walter Raleigh 's journey with Antonio de Berrio had aimed to reach Lake Parime in the highlands of Guyana the supposed location of El Dorado at the time.

He was encouraged by the account of Juan Martinez, believed to be Juan Martin de Albujar, who had taken part in Pedro de Silva's expedition of the area in , only to fall into the hands of the Caribs of the Lower Orinoco.

Martinez claimed that he was taken to the golden city in blindfold, was entertained by the natives, and then left the city and couldn't remember how to return.

First, he wanted to find the mythical city of El Dorado, which he suspected to be an actual Indian city named Manõa.

Second, he hoped to establish an English presence in the Southern Hemisphere that could compete with that of the Spanish.

His third goal was to create an English settlement in the land called Guyana, and to try to reduce commerce between the natives and Spaniards.

In Raleigh sent his lieutenant, Lawrence Kemys , back to Guyana in the area of the Orinoco River, to gather more information about the lake and the golden city.

Kemys described the coast of Guiana in detail in his Relation of the Second Voyage to Guiana [26] and wrote that indigenous people of Guiana traveled inland by canoe and land passages towards a large body of water on the shores of which he supposed was located Manoa, Golden City of El Dorado.

Though Raleigh never found El Dorado, he was convinced that there was some fantastic city whose riches could be discovered. Finding gold on the riverbanks and in villages only strengthened his resolve.

However, Raleigh, by now an old man, stayed behind in a camp on the island of Trinidad. Watt Raleigh was killed in a battle with Spaniards and Kemys subsequently committed suicide.

On 23 March , Robert Harcourt accompanied by his brother Michael and a company of adventurers, sailed for Guiana. On 11 May he arrived at the Oyapock River.

Local people came on board, and were disappointed at the absence of Sir Walter Raleigh after he had famously visited during his exploration of the area in Harcourt gave them aqua vitae.

He took possession in the king's name of a tract of land lying between the River Amazon and River Essequibo on 14 August, left his brother and most of his company to colonise it, and four days later embarked for England.

In North and Harcourt, obtained letters patent under the great seal from Charles I , authorising them to form a company for "the Plantation of Guiana", North being named as deputy governor of the settlement.

Short of funds, this expedition was fitted out, a plantation established in , and trade opened by North's endeavours. In , two monks, Acana and Fritz, undertook several journeys to the lands of the Manoas, indigenous peoples living in western Guyana and what is now Roraima in northeastern Brazil.

Although they found no evidence of El Dorado, their published accounts were intended to inspire further exploration.

In April one of the Indian guides returned reporting that in Horstman had crossed over to the Rio Branco and descended it to its confluence with the Rio Negro.

Horstman discovered Lake Amucu on the North Rupununi but found neither gold nor any evidence of a city. His survey of the local geography, however, provided the basis for other expeditions starting in Between and , Alexander von Humboldt conducted an extensive and scientific survey of the Guyana river basins and lakes, concluding that a seasonally-flooded confluence of rivers may be what inspired the notion of a mythical Lake Parime , and of the supposed golden city on the shore, nothing was found.

A bit later, in , Sir Walter Raleigh, the great inspirer, was beheaded for insubordination and treason. The prospect of real gold overshadowed the illusory promise of "gold men" and "lost cities" in the vast interior of the north.

The gold mine at El Callao Venezuela , started in , a few miles at south of Orinoco River, was for a time one of the richest in the world, and the goldfields as a whole saw over a million ounces exported between and The Orinoco Mining Arc OMA [40] , officially created on February 24, as the Arco Mining Orinoco National Strategic Development Zone, is an area rich in mineral resources that the Republic of Venezuela has been operating since ; [41] [42] occupies mostly the north of the Bolivar state and to a lesser extent the northeast of the Amazonas state and part of the Delta Amacuro state.

It has 7, tons of reserves of gold, copper, diamond, coltan, iron, bauxite and other minerals. It appears today that the Muisca obtained their gold in trade, and while they possessed large quantities of it over time, no great store of the metal was ever accumulated.

Members of the expedition were accused of looting historic artifacts [43] but an official report of the expedition described it as "an ecological survey.

Spanish explorers heard of these stories and were led by their greed. The seductive tale of El Dorado would eventually become generically known as any undiscovered place filled with treasure somewhere in the Americas.

Was this the origin of the legend of El Dorado? Interestingly, in gold-hungry Spaniards attempted to drain Lake Guatavita. They removed a significant amount of gold, but could not reach the trove that supposedly existed in the deepest parts of the lake.

In the s many other explorers claimed they found El Dorado. It was once thought that Sir Walter Raleigh had found it at the end of the s. English maps listed it and described it as a location in the north.

This location was thought to be significant until the s when Alexander von Humbolt proved otherwise during his own exploration of South America.

A portion of a map of northeastern South America. The legend of El Dorado originated in Colombia, and it appears we have enough evidence to explain that legend today.

Hunters still cling to the belief there is an El Dorado in South America. The Peruvian legend describes the sack of Cusco, and how Francisco Pizzaro looted the Incan city of its gold.

These treasures included golden mummies of previous Incan leaders. Rumors existed of treasures hidden in the network of ancient mazes that run underneath Peru and Ecuador.

When Pizarro sacked Cusco, many artifacts thought to be there were not found. Pizzaro and his men were unable to locate the missing gold, mummies, and artifacts, despite explorations into the Incan tunnels.

One present-day attempt to find El Dorado took place in The Monastery of Santo Domingo searched for underground Incan tunnels.

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