Precious Metals

Why El Dorado is called the Lost City of Gold?

Shreya Matta

Shreya Matta

July 18, 2022

Eldorado (Spanish for “the golden one”), originally El Hombre Dorado (“The Golden Man”) or El Rey Dorado (“The Golden King”), was the term used by the Spanish in the 16th century to describe a mythical tribal chief (zipa) or king of the Muisca people, an indigenous people of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense of Colombia, who as an initiation rite, covered himself with gold dust and submerged in Lake Guatavita.

El Dorado - World History Encyclopedia

Meaning of Eldorado is “The Gilded One” in Spanish, spelled as El Dorado, is the legendary ruler of an Indian town near Bogotá, believed to plaster his naked body with gold dust during festivals, then plunge into Lake Guatavita to wash off the dust after the ceremonies; his subjects threw jewels and golden objects into the lake.

Spanish conquistadores heard the tale before 1530, and one of them reported that he had visited El Dorado himself in a city called Omagua.

As the search continued into the Orinoco and Amazon valleys, El Dorado came to mean an entire fabulous country of gold, with legendary cities named Manoa and Omagua. The story tells that, once a year, the chief would cover himself from head to foot in turpentine and gold dust. According to Castellanos, the chief took a barge out into the middle of Lake Guatavita, a small almost circular crater lake sunk in the mountain.

The chief’s people looked on, voices raised in song, as he made an offering of gold and emeralds to the lake. Then Eldorado dived in — the signal for a festival to begin.

The Significance of Gold

In the cultures of ancient Colombia, gold had long been a popular material for metalworkers. The metal actually had no particular value as a currency other than as a raw material for exchange and, indeed, it seems that, unlike in other Americas cultures, gold was not limited to the nobility but also owned by lower strata of society. Rather than its intrinsic value, then, gold was esteemed because of its luster, incorruptibility, spiritual associations (especially the sun), and workability in the hands of craftsmen.

Gold and gold alloy artworks were offered in vast quantities to the gods and buried at sacred locations so that the balance of the cosmos was maintained and natural disasters averted. Very often the offerings were figurines known as tunjos which represented in fine detail people carrying objects such as shields, weapons, and musical instruments.

The lust for gold spans all eras, races, and nationalities. To possess any amount of gold seems to ignite an insatiable desire to obtain more. Through the centuries, this passion gave rise to the enduring tale of a city of gold. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans believed that somewhere in the New World there was a place of immense wealth known as El Dorado.

The legend of the Seven Cities of Gold (Seven Cities of Cibola) led to Francisco Vázquez de Coronado’s expedition of 1540 across the New Mexico territory. This became mixed with the stories of El Dorado, which was sometimes said to be one of the seven cities.

Origin of El Dorado the City of Gold

The origins of El Dorado lie deep in South America. And like all enduring legends, the tale of El Dorado contains some scraps of truth. When a new chieftain rose to power, his rule began with a ceremony at Lake Guatavita. Accounts of the ceremony vary, but they consistently say the new ruler was covered with gold dust, and that gold and precious jewels were thrown into the lake to appease a god that lived underwater.

1635 Bleau Map of Guiana, Venezuela and El Dorado | eBay

The Spaniards started calling this golden chief El Dorado, “the gilded one.” The ceremony of the gilded man supposedly ended in the late 15th century when El Dorado and his subjects were conquered by another tribe.

But the Spaniards and other Europeans had found so much gold among the natives along the continent’s northern coast that they believed there had to be a place of great wealth somewhere in the interior.

The Spaniards didn’t find El Dorado the city of gold, but they did find Lake Guatavita and tried to drain it in 1545. They lowered its level enough to find hundreds of pieces of gold along the lake’s edge. But the presumed fabulous treasure in the deeper water was beyond their reach.

El Dorado in 16th and 17th Centuries

El Dorado was a mythical city said to be rich with gold, first reported in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. The rumored location of El Dorado is disputed in different sources but is most commonly said to have been in South America. El Dorado the city of gold, shifted geographical locations until finally it simply meant a source of untold riches somewhere in the Americas. But this place of immeasurable riches hasn’t been found.

Story of El Dorado Gold Rush is always inspiring to many passionate gold miners. This could be one of the pivotal moments for the origin of many gold mining in the US.

Learn About El Dorado’s Culture and Customs

El Dorado’s culture was shaped by centuries of exploration and adaptation to a range of environments. Settlements throughout the region were often cryptically named, such as ‘El Dorado’ or ‘the city of gold’. Learn about the customs and rituals practiced by ancient cultures in this mystical city, including spiritual ceremonies and unique burial practices.

El Dorado’s age-old customs still influence culture in and around the city. For example, many locals believe that certain symbols bring good luck or ward off danger—especially the El Dorado sun symbol, a sacred representation of hope, faith and power. Ancient rituals such as fire ceremonies were also practiced, with participants often donning brightly colored costumes amidst chanting and drumming.

Additionally, citizens of El Dorado often buried their dead in tombs marked by intricate symbols, gardens and artifacts crafted from natural materials like clay and wood. These ancient best practices remain to this day, having been passed down from generation to generation.

Follow the Legends to Locate the Lost City

While the city of El Dorado remains unfound to this day, the search for the lost city has fascinated many adventurers. Many believe that El Dorado is hidden on one of the hundreds of islands in South America. Even further away. Adventurers must rely on clues, legends and stories to locate the lost city. They often involving a long and difficult journey with many obstacles. Are you ready to join them in the quest for El Dorado the city of gold?
Over the centuries, many theories as to the whereabouts of El Dorado have come about and been followed. People travel deep into South America looking for a mysterious lake and city.  They have been mining an ancient Egyptian tomb in pursuit of a golden statue. Like these everyone has had their own ideas on where this mythical location might be located. Some believe that El Dorado was nothing more than a metaphor for incredible wealth and prosperity.
Others search still in hopes that one day they will uncover this long-lost fabled city. The discovery would no doubt change Modern History forever. For now however, all we can do is follow the legends in our search for El Dorado – the real City of Gold!

El Dorado the city of gold

El Dorado the  The City of Gold said to have existed in the 16th century. It was completely made of Gold. Kolar Gold Fields literally mines gold which is the cause of the power struggle between the various stakeholders.

Eldorado in India is a mining region in K.G.F. (Kolar Gold Fields) taluk (township), Kolar district, Karnataka. It is headquartered in Robertsonpet. In the near by area employees of (Bharat Gold Mines Limited) BGML, and BEML and their families live. Eldorado KGF is about 30 kilometers from Kolar, and 100 kilometers from Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka. For over a century, the town has been known for gold mining.

The mine closed on 28 February 2001 due to a fall in gold prices, despite gold still being present there. One of India’s first power-generation units was built in 1889 to support mining operations. The mine complex hosted some particle physics experiments between the 1960s and 1992.

A second location for El Dorado was inferred from rumors, which inspired several unsuccessful expeditions in the late 1500s. This was done in search of a city called Manoa on the shores of Lake Parima. Two of the most famous of these expeditions were led by Sir Walter Raleigh. In pursuit of the legend, Spanish conquistadors and numerous others searched what is today Colombia or Venezuela.

They also searched parts of Guyana and northern Brazil, for the city and its fabulous king. In the course of these explorations, much of northern South America, including the Amazon River, was mapped.

Origin Stories of El Dorado the city of gold

Route to el dorado kgf 2 The famous El Dorado origin stories was first mentioned when Juan de Castellanos, a priest, included it in  his verse. His verse is after history of Spanish heroism in the Americas. This is called “Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias“, written in the 1570s. According to the World History Encyclopedia, the story relates to the chief of a Muisca tribe. He inhabited a large plateau – the conquistadors knew it as Cundinamarca. It is  high in the eastern range of the Andes in what is now Colombia.

Factors Behind Belief in City of Gold

The City of Gold, or El Dorado, has been a source of both wonder and mystery for centuries. In the popular imagination, El Dorado is an abundant city full of wealth and riches beyond compare. But what are the factors behind this belief in the existence of such a place?

Throughout history, many cultures have spoken tales of far-away lands with untold wealth and resources. These myths likely stem from observations made by travelers. Travelers who compared their own country to those they visited which had different climates and resources. The possibility that someplace could exist with great abundance was then extrapolated into stories about cities. The cities that are filled with gold or other precious materials.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, El Dorado the Lost City of Gold, has been told in many ways through the years. It is a tale that speaks to our fascination with riches and adventure. The city’s actual location is still a mystery, steeped in myth and folklore. But the world will always be intrigued by what could be found in El Dorado.If only someone could find it. Through literature, film and other sources of entertainment, the legend of El Dorado continues to live on.

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