Golden vitives figures (known as tunjos), Muisca-Chibcha culture — pre-columbian culture in the territory of modern Colombia

The Search for El Dorado – Lost City of Gold

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Sir Walter Raleigh went on two expeditions to find El Dorado

Sir Walter Raleigh went on two expeditions to find El Dorado. ‘Raleigh's First Pipe in England’ by Frederick William Fairholt, 1859. (public domain)

Several expeditions to find El Dorado have been attempted since Raleigh’s time, but none have been successful. Monks Acana and Fritz, Don Manuel Centurion - Governor of San Thome del Angostura, and entrepreneurs Nicholas Rodriguez and Antonio Santos, have all led expeditions in hopes of finding the lost city. All have failed to find the El Dorado, and the expeditions have led to the loss of hundreds of lives – from those killed during the attempts to drain Lake Guatavita, to those who perished while searching the landscape of Latin America. The most recent attempt to find El Dorado occurred in 2000. The Monastery of Santo Domingo was searching for underground Incan tunnels, when they found a large tunnel beneath the Monastery, but no gold. Then in 2001, Italian archaeologist Mario Polia discovered a document from the 1600s that contained descriptions of a city that could potentially be El Dorado. Within the area, located in Paratoari in Peru, tools and evidence of manmade structures have been recovered, but El Dorado remains a mystery.

Although the costly search for El Dorado has yet to yield any evidence of an actual city of gold, the topic remains one of interest to this day. Searches for El Dorado have spanned hundreds of years and vast areas of Latin America, while costing a great deal of money, and hundreds of lives. To some, it has become clear that the costs and risks of continuing to search for El Dorado are not worth it, while others remain determined to find the lost city of gold. Perhaps someday the city of El Dorado will be discovered, and the riches rumored to be contained within will be found, but for now, it remains a mystery whether El Dorado is a real gold-filled ancient city, or simply a legend.

Featured image: Golden vitives figures (known as tunjos), Muisca-Chibcha culture — pre-columbian culture in the territory of modern Colombia; Gold Museum, Bogotá, Colombia ( Wikimedia Commons )


The Legend of El Dorado – Historic Mysteries. Available from:

El Dorado Legend Snared Sir Walter Raleigh – National Geographic. Available from:

El Dorado – Wikipedia. Available from:

El Dorado – Myths Encyclopedia. Available from:

By M R Reese


rbflooringinstall's picture

These people looking for material riches are going to be highly dissappointed, if not dead. There is no physical golden city. Its a spiritual metaphore of a sorts. At least that's what it seems to me. Thanks for the Article.

Peace and Love,


I can't remember the source, but I read somewhere that because gold was the "sweat of the sun" or something along that lines, it was used only for ceremonial and decorative purposes. It had absolutely no economic value in a barter driven society. It just struck me how that fact serves to really highlight the sheer wanton avarice of the western colonials. Both societies thought of gold as precious but in the New World this was generally creative, whereas in the Old World it caused greed and was generally destructive.

Muisca religious statues are identical in design to religious statues found in Cyprus

Dr. Derek Cunningham
Author: The Map that Talked

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