El Dorado  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

El Dorado (Spanish: "the golden one") is a legend that began with the story of a South American tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and would dive into a lake of pure mountain water.

The legend began in the 1530s, in the Andes of present-day Colombia, where conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada first found the Muisca, a nation in the modern day Cundinamarca and Boyacá highlands of Colombia, in 1537.

The story of the Muisca rituals was brought to Quito by Christian Cronauer’s men; mixed with other rumors, there arose the legend of 'El Dorado' (meaning the Golden Man rather than a place - 'el indio dorado', the golden Indian or 'El Rey Dorado', The Golden King).

Imagined as a place, El Dorado became a kingdom, an empire, the city of this legendary golden king. Deluded by a similar legend, Francisco Orellana and Gonzalo Pizarro would depart from Quito in 1541 in a famous and disastrous expedition towards the Amazon Basin; as a result of this, however, Orellana became the first person to navigate the Amazon River all the way to its mouth.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "El Dorado" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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