With the discovery of America, rumors spread among Europeans about a fabulous country located in new lands. It was believed that this country abounds in gold and treasures accumulated by the local population. Many adventurers have tried to find this world of abundance and gain access to its riches. But later it turned out that the fabulous country, called Eldorado, is just a myth.
How the legend of El Dorado was born
The legend of El Dorado was based on a religious custom described by the European conquerors, which they observed among the natives of South America. On certain days, the leader of the Indians went to one of the sacred lakes and made sacrifices there, showering himself with golden sand.
Ethnographers later found out that the ritual described by the Spaniards was used when a new native ruler was inaugurated. He was coated with a layer of clay, and then the assistants covered the body of the leader with gold dust, as a result of which he seemed to become gilded.
The "golden" ruler on a raft strewn with jewels sailed to the middle of the lake. There, jewelry and utensils made of gold were thrown into the water. Exaggerating the amount of the precious metal, the Spaniards believed that the bottom of the mysterious lake should have become covered with a thick layer of gold items. This gave rise to rumors about the untold treasures of the natives.
Numerous enterprising Europeans spent time and money searching for a country that was supposedly abundant in gold.
Eldorado: myth debunked
One of the explorers of South America, the conquistador of Orellana, was convinced that the magical land of Eldorado was located near the Amazon River. He brought to Europe not only samples of local gold products, but also stories full of fantastic fiction about the riches of these lands. The very name of the mythical country was coined by the Spaniard Martinez.
Translated from Spanish, El Dorado literally means "golden", "sprinkled with gold."
The Spaniards, in their search for El Dorado, also relied on the stories of the natives, telling about the existence of an ancient city in the interior of their mainland, which was so rich that all its streets were completely covered with gold.
The embellished narratives of the Spaniards became the basis for the creation of the legend of the "golden country". Until the middle of the 19th century, people of various nationalities were unsuccessfully looking for it. The British believed that El Dorado was located in the area adjacent to Lake Guatavita, located in Colombia. But the search activities, conceived by one of the British industrial companies, ended in failure and complete disappointment of the expedition members.
Yes, the search for a fabulous country called Eldorado, which took almost five hundred years, ended in failure. But they have greatly enriched science with ethnographic and geographical discoveries. And the promising name of the mythical land of abundance began to be used when someone wanted to emphasize the untold riches of a locality.