Rivers of ink have been spilled about the real existence or not of that idyllic place that so eagerly sought the Spanish conquerors back in 1530 in Andean territory, thus giving rise to the legend of El Dorado.
Origin of the El Dorado legend
The legend seems to be forged at the time when one of the expeditions to the "New World" commanded by the conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, comes into contact with the people of the Muiscas and it is a witness to a ritual in which, with great vehemence, the auriferous ornament that the kings of this peculiar town displayed is flaunted.
Before the astonished eyes of those men, the heir to the Muisca throne, was adorned with feathers of exotic birds, stripped and covered entirely with gold dust and embellished with glyph plates and bracelets of the same metal, escorted to a raft full of precious stones and guided to the center of a large lagoon where he poured all those riches to honor their gods.
Soon, greed was present and those men plundered those lands to make possession of all the wealth there was in them.
In doing so, they realized that in that place there were no mines or any vestige that evidenced the obtaining of said materials and they concluded that such riches could only have been obtained through trade with other peoples.
In order to find the source of those treasures, several Muiscas were taken prisoner who were later tortured to obtain the whereabouts of those gold lands. And here we have the first obstacle in the veracity of the history of "The Golden”.
Torture is not and will never be the ideal method of obtaining objective information
History is full of absurd confessions obtained in this way. There we have the Templar confessions about the heretical practices of the Temper with the baphomet figure or each one more fabulous witchcraft self-incrimination obtained by Holy inquisition, to give some topical and recurring example.
Thus, perhaps, those conquerors They only got what they wanted to hear, a land where gold was as common as the land they walked on, cities built on blocks of solid gold and pomegranates everywhere with emeralds and other precious stones.
It is not possible to know what was true in those confessions but the wildfire was already burning and there were many expeditions that were organized to discover the situation of that city.
The search for El Dorado
The search spread from Colombia to Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela... and with each step the legend grew, blurring, distorting. El Dorado stopped being that Muisca king "The Golden Indian”, To become a city, the city into an Empire, as folklore was added to the events.
History has left us clear evidence that several pre-Columbian cultures, like the Inca, made use of gold as an ornamental element, although surely it did not have the same value that was given in the "Old continent”.
It is likely that the myth of "El Dorado" it was nothing more than an exaggeration of certain real evidences, scattered among the conglomerate of pre-Columbian peoples that greed and human imagination had shaped.
The truth is that even today, the legend of “El dorado” continues to attract explorers and archaeologists and, from time to time, certain discoveries appear on the cover that make one suspect that perhaps that legend was not so much as the mythical Troy, discovered by Schliemann.
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