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Eldorado - A City Made Of Gold ?

Eldorado

El Dorado, also known as Omagua and Manoa, is a legendary Colombian country home to great wealth and fabulous treasures. The legend of El Dorado says that somewhere in the jungles and highlands of Colombia near Bogota and Lake Guatavita would be a city whose temples and palaces are built entirely of solid gold and where the walls of buildings are full of gems and precious stones. According to some hypotheses, El Dorado would have served as landmark to the last Incas during guerrilla warfare in the midst of the jungle and they would've taken away and conceal their booty there. Built in the greatest of secrecy, the city of El Dorado would not appear on maps. Over time, the prospect of discovering a big loot has prompted many adventurers and conquistadors to risk their lives in search of the legendary El Dorado, without success.

The origins of the El Dorado myth

Muisca Raft El Dorado

The myth of a lost golden city would take root in the rituals of indigenous tribes living around Lake Guatavita. Each year, the king of the tribe, who was nicknamed El Dorado or The Golden One, was entirely covered with gum and coated with fine gold dust before being plunged into the waters of the sacred lake. Many rare ornaments were also thrown into the lagoon as offerings. From there springs the legend of El Dorado. During the sixteenth century, Spanish conquistadors, who had heard about Indian practices, tried to drain Lake Guatavita by digging a gigantic breach but only managed to find some nuggets of gold. The basin, which is in a volcano or meteorite crater, still exists today but Colombian government prohibits anyone from trying to empty it.

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The gold Rush

Aguirre the Wrath of God

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, exalted adventurers of the Old World explored the hostile forests, mountains and great rivers of South America in search of the famous El Dorado. Many armed expeditions led by conquistadors ended in murder, madness and sometimes even suicide. The most famous case is that of Lope de Aguirre, nicknamed El Loco (the Madman), because of his cruelty and the mutiny he engendered in the Peruvian rainforest on his journey to El Dorado. Aguirre, the Wrath of God, a 1972 Werner Herzog's movie, tells the sordid story and criminal psychosis of the Spanish conquistador and his renegade group on the banks of the Amazon River. Aguirre and his men allegedly butchered and raped thousands of natives and burned whole villages down in their hunt for gold.

Francisco de Orellana

A second famous case is that of Francisco de Orellana, a European who has crossed the Amazon River from end to end to discover the location of El Dorado. The name of the river comes from his stories where he claims to have met a people of warrior women, the Amazons. Other famous researchers like Sir Walter Raleigh and his whimsical book depicting his adventures in a grandiose fashion have greatly contributed to create the myth El Dorado.

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More than just a legend

Eldorado

A recently discovered document in Rome by an anthropologist suggests that the city of El Dorado really exists. It is a correspondence between a Jesuit Peruvian father and a cleric of the Society of Jesus. The letter mentions El Dorado but the location of the city, located in the Peruvian region, is kept secret. Although a large number of expeditions came back empty-handed and technological instruments reveal nothing that demonstrates its existence, many still believe that El Dorado lies somewhere between Ecuador and Bolivia. Some say it is not a city but several treasures scattered in the Amazon rainforest ...

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