Good post Jeremiah. I want to add that in addition to the myth of the golden city there are many more stories, some true, some with a basis in truth.
I am including two factual stories.
For the original poster I would say you are on a wild goose chase with El Dorado, you have more probable chance of searching for the gold of the Incas
hidden in the mountains.
I also want to say that myth is often based on 'some' fact. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Incas did have a lot of gold. Any doubts can be
assauged by taking a visit to your nearest museum to see the wonderous pre-Columbian artificats. Though I have to point out that most of the original
gold was melted down and did not survive.
The Incas considered a lot of things 'gold'. Gold was good. The sun was gold, the maize was gold, the way a beautiful maiden who had bathed in the
river (which had gold dust residue) looked when the sun shone on her. If it was healthy, beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, the Incas considered it
gold - which derived from their love of the sun.
Inca means children of the sun.
A mere trinket to the Incas was a lifetime of wealth to the Spaniards, often second sons - which explains some of their brutal and ignorant behaviour.
They stood in line to inherit nothing and so had nothing to lose and everything to gain by exploiting new lands for the 'king' and for 'god'.
In the stories of the conquest there are references to the indians being amused that the Spanish were so amazed at all their gold. I believe one story
goes that an Inca prisoner just gave one man his bracelet because the Spaniard couldn't keep his eyes off of it. In another more gruesome story, a
warrior had his hand hacked off for a solid 'trinket'.
1. Atahualpa Prince of the Incas was captured by Francisco Pizarro and his men and watched while his people died, were tortured, burned/etc... He
promised them he would give him two rooms full of gold. This was agreed and Atahulap's servants faithfully brought gold vases, plates, to him every
day until the wealth amassed. Needless to say, the Spanish went against their word and King Atahualpa was killed anyway after being 'converted' to
christianity. Truly a dark time in history.
It was greed that drove the Spanish Conquistadors, they wanted to get their hands on the Inca gold. Upon Pizarro's first meeting with the Sapa Inca
Atahualpa, he was carried in by bodyguards covered in sheets of gold. Atahualpa wore a woollen braid interwoven with gold, wound round his head. Each
of his earlobes were encrusted with a gold disk. He offered the Spaniards beer in large golden vases.
The meeting ended violently with Atahualpa's capture. He bargained for his life by offering to fill a room with treasure. The ransom was brought from
all over the Inca kingdom.
One-fifth of Atahualpa's ransom was reserved for the king of Spain; the remainder was shared out between Pizarro and his men. In total, the ransom
consisted of about 6,000 kg of gold worth about 31 million pounds and 11,000 kg of silver worth 850,000 pounds. Silver was so abundant that the
Spaniards used it to shoe their horses. Very little Inca gold survives today in its original form because the Spanish melted it all down into
Some of those ingots made it home to Spain. A visit to the churches in Sevilla and Andalucia should show you what happened to that wonderful gold. It
is a good example of what happens when riches are looted and people slaughtered all in the name of christianity.
Tales of the ships being so loaded down with gold from the new world that they often sank before reaching their destination, spawned even more myths
and legends of pirated, sunken or buried treasures.
2. General Ruminahui - a prominent Inca warrior, hid gold and treasure in the Llanganati. He prefered it to be lost forever rather than handing it
over to the Spanish. This story is fact, but depending on where you hear it, some of the quests to find it have spun of some wonderful books, films
and games. The gold has never been found till this day. The indians hid an estimated 700 tons of gold in those mountains.
An Inca General named Rumiñahui fled the marauding Spanish and took with him a large share of the ransom he had been collecting for his King.
He disappeared into the remote mountainous region of Ecuador called the Llanganati. The load of gold artifacts he took with him is considered the
largest undiscovered treasure in Latin America, valued at two billion dollars.
Since Ruminahui's disappearance, generations of adventurers have sought Atahualpa's gold. As if gripped by a vengeful curse, the mountains of the
Llanganati have refused to surrender this gold, punishing those who would have it with the spite of a broken race.
The Incas and the Conquest - www.hc09.dial.pipex.com...
Inca gold: An expedition - www.ecuadorexplorer.com...
Gold in the Ancient World - www.gold.org...
Lost Treasure of the Inca - Peter Lourie
The Conquest of the Incas - John Hemming
[edit on 4-9-2005 by nikelbee]