Minggu, 27 Agustus 2017

The legend of El Dorado and the treasures of Lake Guatavita

A city made of gold with its king which is also wrapped in gold dust, the legend of El Dorado has become one of the most interesting legends to tell. Many people say that this legend is just an imagination, but in fact some of El Dorado's secret is arguably revealed and Guatavita lake is one of them.

This is a short story about El Dorado.

When Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, the story of a new world rich in gold came to Europe. Not long after, the Spanish conquerors began to enter the civilization of Central and South America including the Aztec and the Incas.

Francisco Pizzaro (1475-1541), who succeeded in conquering the rich Incan civilization in the 1530s believed that elsewhere on the continent was still hidden great treasures of great value.

It did not take long for him to get confirmation about this.

Shortly after the conquest, a messenger from an unknown tribe emerged in Peru, where the Inca empire, with a message for the Inca King. this messenger did not know that the Inca kingdom had been conquered by Pizarro.

After being interrogated by Spanish soldiers, the messenger said that he was a member of one of the tribes in the Bogota area. Interestingly, this messenger also told of another kingdom in the same region where his King was covered with gold dust and swam in a golden lake.

The legend they heard was then called El Dorado which means "Golden Plated Man".

Interested in getting more gold, the Spanish conquerors then sent at least five major expeditions to find El Dorado.

One of the expeditions sent was an expedition led by Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada who departed in 1536.

Together with his 500 soldiers, he went into the dense wilderness that now includes the territory of Columbia. After exploring long enough and encountering various obstacles, Quesada and his team found the rich Chibca tribe. However, they did not find the golden king and the golden lake sought.

However, the tribe told Quesada about a mysterious lake in a mountain crater on the Andes plateau in Bogota called Guatavita. According to them, every year, in the lake, a mysterious ceremony is performed by a local tribe named Muisca as an offering to their god.

The king, also called Zipa, will be covered with mud which is then coated again with gold dust. After that, he along with the other tribal elders will row a raft containing silver gold and other jewelry to the middle of the lake.

Once up in the middle, they will throw the silver gold into the lake. Then the king will plunge into the lake to rid his body of gold dust and mud covering his body.

Hearing this extraordinary story, Quesada decides to look for El Dorado.

He could not find the Muisca tribe or the golden city in question, but he managed to find the lake of Guatavita.

When this discovery was announced to Spain, an attempt was made to dredge the lake in 1545. This effort was led by Hernan Perez de Quesada, brother of Jimenez de Quesada.

Quesada uses the workers to dry the lake with giant buckets. After three months, the water level of the lake dropped about 3 meters and Quesada managed to get 18 kilograms of gold from it.

In the 1580s, a trader from Bogota named Antonio de Sepulvada mobilized 8,000 locals in an attempt to dry the lake by making water gates on the lake side. He managed to reduce the surface of the lake to 20 meters.

In this way he managed to find gold in considerable quantities. But then the lake side collapsed and killed many workers. The project was later canceled.

Today, we can still see the clipped side of the lake, the remnants of Sepulvada's efforts.

In the following years, the European ambition to find El Dorado reappeared when a mysterious man named Juan Martinez told of a golden city called Manoa. This city could be related to the legend of El Dorado, but it could not. To be sure, Europeans increasingly believe that the American continent to store wealth in large numbers.

Martinez recalled that he was an ammunition watchdog on a Spanish ship exploring the Caroni River connected to the Orinoco River. Their vessels roam the river deep into the jungle. However, the observed munition warehouse exploded so that this exploration was canceled. As a punishment for Martinez, he was left in the river by a canoe.

Then, Martinez confessed to meeting a group of friendly indian tribe members. They closed Martinez's eyes with cloth and took them to their kingdom called Manoa. Martinez said that Manoa King's palace that he visited was made of gold.

In 1586, this story reached the ears of Sir Walter Raleigh, a prominent explorer who founded the legendary Roanoke Island colony.

In 1595, Raleigh and his colleagues sailed across the Orinoco River in South America to find Manoa. However, the expedition did not produce anything. Interestingly, they found the Spanish Ship Anchor Martinez that was left when the explosion occurred on the ship. So, at least part of Martinez's story can be trusted.

Although it does not find Manoa's golden empire, Raleigh brings numerous samples of exotic flora and fauna and a beautiful stone that marks the extraordinary natural wealth of the place. Raleigh even wrote a book about his explorations.

Raleigh himself believes that the city of Manoa is actually located in the Parime lake area behind the mountains of Guyana region. It even provides a very accurate map of where this walayah is.

In 1618, Raleigh again made a second expedition to find the city at the expense of the British Empire. But this expedition also failed to bring results.

The story of El Dorado did not stop in medieval times. The explorers of the next centuries are still trying to find the golden city. Nevertheless, the concern for Lake Guatavita has never subsided.

In 1911, a gold-making company again tried his luck on Lake Guatavita. They managed to get rid of most of the lake's water by making tunnels and sluices. However, the mud of the lake immediately hardened and the rain soon filled the lake again. They only find some gold objects that are then auctioned off to pay off investors.

In the following years, the interest in finding El Dorado seemed to be diminishing. Most people start to think that El Dorado might just be a legend. There is even one suggestion that the Indians who tell about El Dorado may have lied to distract the conquerors from their village.

However, a major clue appeared in 1969.

Two workers digging in a small cave near Bogota accidentally found a golden statue. It was a raft with a tribal chief and eight men pedaling on it....

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