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The Lure of El Dorado Orellana's Expedition

Gold was the ultimate goal for the Spanish Conquistadors of the 1500s. The myth of an entire city of gold, ruled by a king who covered his body with a layer of pure gold dust and bathed each night in a lake of gold, drove the Conquistadors in their determined search for El Dorado. Where did this myth originate? Probably from the Muysca Indians of Peru, who honored a new chief by putting sticky balsam pitch on his body and then blowing gold dust onto him.

Also important to the Spanish Conquistadors was their desire to find La Canela, the land of valuable cinnamon trees.    [more]

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Little did Francisco de Orellana know that, when he volunteered to take his men ahead to find food, he would later be accused by Gonzalo Pizarro of being a traitor. Or was he really a hero who did the only thing possible under the circumstances?

The Dilemma: Was Orellana a Hero or a Traitor?

Some would make the argument that Orellana was a traitor. After all, he was under the command of Gonzalo Pizarro and was duty-bound to return to him in the agreed-upon time of 10-12 days. The fact that Orellana didn't return to his commander was mutiny.   [more]