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Publisher's Summary

Alongside the famous Lost City of Atlantis, perhaps no mythological city has captured the imaginations of people or been the source for exploration quite like El Dorado, the fabled city of gold that the Spanish believed was located somewhere in South America. The origins of the Spaniards’ belief in the existence of the mythical city was based on their rumors surrounding the tribal chief of the Muisca in present-day Colombia; the Spanish heard that his initiation included covering himself with gold dust and diving into Lake Guatavita. Of course if the chief could cover himself in gold, he must have access to a lot of it, and around this figure the myth of El Dorado sprang up.

Naturally the belief in the existence of El Dorado propelled it from being merely a city to an entire empire itself, and this spurred several journeys in the 16th century, including one by Francisco Pizarro’s half brother, Gonzalo, and another by Sir Walter Raleigh. Although none of these journeys actually discovered such a place, they resulted in plenty of lives lost and a lot of exploration of the heart of South America. Moreover, despite the fact none of the explorers actually found El Dorado, the rumors and journeys only cemented the belief that such a place existed, and El Dorado was actually located on maps made by several European nations for centuries. As folklorist Jim Griffith once put it, "El Dorado shifted geographical locations until finally it simply meant a source of untold riches somewhere in the Americas." In fact it would not be until about the early 19th century that explorer Alexander von Humboldt disproved El Dorado’s existence, at least in the spot it was assumed to be located for over 200 years.

©2012- Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

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short and uninspiring

its a lot more about the spanish conquistadores than el dorado.
it barely referred to el dorado in other fiction, and didnt describe the myths of el dorado in that great detail. voltaires el dorado was only mentioned briefly, and dreamworks movie was only scoffed at as being historically inaccurate. its a myth ! its not about historical accuracy...