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Where is El Dorado?

2024-02-20 00:00:00 / episode: 376

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In this video we are going to explore the history of El Dorado and I'm going to tell you where it is, along with some of the stories about it.

Along the way I'll tell some stories about the Conquistadors, a very special Conquistador called Quesada and the mysterious Muisca tribe and their secret gold ceremony. Hi, my name is Les Perras and welcome to the Les Perras podcast episode number 376. This episode, naturally, is about El Dorado.

The Conquistadors

When Spanish conquistadors arrived in South America naturally, they came in contact with lots of the indigenous people of South America. They were quite impressed with these people because they had gold. Of course the conquistadors loved gold. That was one of the targets that they were travelling for. When they talked to the people, they asked where they got the gold from and of course, lots of stories came out of that. Usually the people did not find the gold themselves. Rather, they traded for the gold with other tribes. This is perhaps the origin of the El Dorado myth. The myth said there was some place out there that is full of gold, and the streets are made of gold and the people wear gold.

The Conquistador who found El Dorado

There were many conquistadors, but there is one main conquistador associated with El Dorado. He was searching for El Dorado, because he wanted to get rich just like the rest of them. On the other hand, he was one of the best educated conquistadors in South America at the time. He wasn't a very good fighter, but he was a great explorer. In fact, due to his explorations, he was able to found the capital city of Colombia, which is modern day, Bogotá. Along the course of his adventures, he was able to track down some of the rumours of mysterious tribes that had vast amounts of gold… So much gold, in fact that they could cover their leader in gold. This conquistador was called Quesada. Not only did he found Bogota, but he was also responsible for discovering the Muisca tribe of people and the famous lake, where they held their secret ceremony.

Muisca and the Secret Ceremony

The people of the Muisca tribe thought gold was special. Not special in the let's get rich and get lots of gold sense. They felt gold had the power to bring balance and harmony back to the tribe and the world. Gold was essential to their secret ceremony to initiate a new leader of the tribe. When the old leader of the tribe died, they needed to find a new leader, but they couldn't just call him the leader. They needed the blessing of the people in the tribe and the blessing of the gods. They had a secret ceremony to initiate their new leader. This was a long ceremony, but the ending was out on a lake. That lake was Lake Guatavita. The Muisca would cover their leader in flakes of gold which they could get by trading with many different tribes around them. They would float the leader out onto the lake on a barge with torches in each corner. The supporters would offer gold statues to the gods by throwing them into the lake, and then the people of the tribe would shout their approval and they had a new leader.

Where is El Dorado?

Guatavita is the best candidate for the actual location of any place that could be called El Dorado. Of course the myths and rumours of El Dorado were so exaggerated that no place on earth could be El Dorado. But if any place could be El Dorado this was it because this was the origin of many of those stories. However, the conquistadors spent their lives searching for this place. As a result of that the meaning of El Dorado has come to change. El Dorado is a quest. It's a quest for happiness, material, success, and for some love.