Saturday, April 2, 2022

El Dorado (Idiom)


There was a time when each new ruler of the Muisca people near modern Bogota, Colombia, would be ritually covered in gold dust, and then bathe in nearby Lake Guatavita. As he did so, his attendants would throw objects made of gold, emeralds, and precious stones into the lake. Or so says the legend of El Dorado, the "Golden One." In time, through faulty transmission, the man became a city, then a kingdom or an empire. The story set off a flurry of expeditions in the late 1500s to find the place (two of them led by the Englishman Sir Walter Raleigh), leading to the mapping of much of northern South America, including the Amazon River, as the gold-hungry conquistadors searched Colombia, Venezuela, and parts of Guyana and northern Brazil.

Needless to say, neither man nor place has ever been found, but the term has come to mean "a place of fabulous wealth or opportunity." Numerous places in North and South America now bear the name.


(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons; CTTO)

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