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By the beginning of the 19th century most people dismissed the existence of the city as a myth.The Muisca occupied the highlands of Cundinamarca and Boyacá departments of Colombia in two migrations from outlying lowland areas, one starting ~1270 BCE, and a second between 800 BCE and 500 BCE.Arrivals without end, he further said, Were there to make rich votive offerings Of golden trinkets and of emeralds rare And divers other of their ornaments; And worthy credence these things he affirmed; The soldiers, light of heart and well content, Then dubbed him El Dorado, and the name By countless ways was spread throughout the world.He went about all covered with powdered gold, as casually as if it were powdered salt.In pursuit of the legend, Spanish conquistadors and numerous others searched Colombia, Venezuela, and parts of Guyana and northern Brazil for the city and its fabulous king.In the course of these explorations, much of northern South America, including the Amazon River, was mapped.With this ceremony the new ruler was received, and was recognised as lord and king.There is also an account by poet-priest and historian of the Conquest Juan de Castellanos, who had served under Jiménez de Quesada in his campaign against the Muisca, written in the mid-16th century but not published until 1850: An alien Indian, hailing from afar, Who in the town of Quito did abide.
The original narrative can be found in the rambling chronicle El Carnero of Juan Rodriguez Freyle.The resulting El Dorado myth enticed European explorers for two centuries.Among the earliest stories was the one told on his deathbed by Juan Martinez, a captain of munitions for Spanish adventurer Diego de Ordaz, who claimed to have visited the city of Manoa.They, too, were naked, and each one carried his offering ....when the raft reached the centre of the lagoon, they raised a banner as a signal for silence. [threw] out all the pile of gold into the middle of the lake, and the chiefs who had accompanied him did the same on their own accounts. After this they lowered the flag, which had remained up during the whole time of offering, and, as the raft moved towards the shore, the shouting began again, with pipes, flutes and large teams of singers and dancers.
The lagoon was large and deep, so that a ship with high sides could sail on it, all loaded with an infinity of men and women dressed in fine plumes, golden plaques and crowns....