What was ‘EI Dorado’?

What was 'EI Dorado'?An old South American legend told of a strange coronation ceremony. It took place high in the Andes on the shore of Lake Guatavita. Every new king had his body anointed with oil and then covered with gold dust. Glittering with this golden skin he plunged into the lake whilst his subjects cast in further gold and jewels as offerings to their god. When this legend reached the first Spanish settlers they called the king ‘EI Dorado’ – The Gilded Man – and the city, Manoa. With this knowledge came a great desire to find the legendary king and his golden city. Many expeditions were undertaken in search of fabulous treasure, but all, in fact, failed. One of the first expeditions was headed by Gonzalo de Quesada who, in 1569, led an army of eight hundred men into the remote fastnesses of the Andes. After a year of incredible difficulties Quesada reached a city where he discovered a certain amount of gold and silver articles, a relatively small prize for all the hardships he and his men had endured. This city was named New Granada (now Bogota). Others after him continued the search for EI Dorado and many died in the attempt. Sir Walter Raleigh led two expeditions from England, both of which were unsuccessful.

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