The Chimera of El Dorado –

In the conquest of Americathe expeditions and massacres of Hernan Corteas in Mexico and Francisco Pizarro in Peru were the best known episodes.

But, around the same dates, other conquerors they swooped in all directions on the continent they had just discovered. There were those who ventured to North America, in search of the treasures of the “Seven Cities of Cíbola”.

But the dispatch of Crownedwho went up the Colorado, discovered the Grand Canyon and crossed the Pradera, did not achieve the desired results in 1540. The silver mines discovered in the desert mountains of northern Mexico (Zacatecas, 1546) marked for a long time the advanced front of the Spanish colonization, which did not enter the open spaces of North America.

A dream disturbed all spirits: that of The Golden, the mysterious king who, it was said, anointed his body with gold powder before bathing in a sacred lagoon. The chronic The RAMby Juan Rodríguez Freyle, would report that:

“They undressed the heir (…) and spread him with a sticky garter, and sprinkled everything with gold dust, so that everything was covered with that metal. They put him on the raft, on which he was standing, and at his feet they put a large pile of gold and emeralds to offer to his god. Four caciques entered the boat with him, the most important, dressed in feathers, crowns, bracelets, chagualas and gold earmuffsand also naked… The golden Indian made his offering by throwing all the gold and emeralds that he carried at his feet in the middle of the lagoon, followed later by the other caciques who accompanied him.”

The king’s palace, located among the mountains of gold, was also of solid gold. There were adventurers who searched for it in Venezuela, and then they went deeper and deeper into the continent. He was supposed to be located somewhere in the Amazon jungle, between Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, or Brazil.

European financiers were involved in the promising business. The WelserNuremberg bankers, commissioned a German agent to discover the fabulous treasures, in order to collect the debts of the Spanish monarchy.

In 1539, three expeditions coincided in the place that would later be the city of Santa Fe de Bogotá: that of the Wesler of Nuremberg, which Pizarro had sent from Peru with Francis of Orellana at the head, and a third, arrival from Panama.

(History with Maps)

Of course, it was all just a pipe dream, and not an innocent one. Along with explorations for The Golden The new diseases brought by the Europeans, and the Europeans themselves, germs of native destruction, spread throughout the American continent.

On the other hand, the conquest She was already showing symptoms of exhaustion. To the north of the continent, the main conquering forces of Portugal and Spain did not enter, and to the south, in the Andes Mountains, after having annihilated everything in their path, the Spanish ran into resistance in Chile and Argentina. of the Araucanians.

Source: Venard, M.: The Beginnings of the Modern World, vol. V, Argus.