The Search For El Dorado by John Hemming hits the £1 shelf in my shop.
Book Club Associates, 1978, Hardback in dust wrapper.
Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Facsimiles; Colour Photographs; Maps; Illustrated endpapers and blanks;
From the cover: The lure of the sacred gold of the American Indians in Central and Southern America gripped the imagination of the early sixteenth-century European explorers.
When Cortes discovered and conquered the fabulous empire of the Aztecs in Mexico, and Pizarro then overthrew the even richer empire of the Incas in Peru, it seemed possible that there were other golden kingdoms to he conquered in the heart of South America.
The north of that continent was explored by a series of tough and brutal expeditions, some of which marched inland with purely geographical aims. Hut most were gold-rushes, lured onward by enticing reports from native tribes and forever seeing undiscovered rich lands.
In 1537 the Spanish lawyer Gonzalo Jimenez, de Quesada struck gold in his conquest of the rich kingdoms of the Muisca near modern Bogota. Within two years, two other great expeditions had converged on Bogota from Venezuela and from Pizarros Peru. It was only after this epic meeting of three conquistadores that the legend of El Dorado took shape. The legend told of a native ruler who coated his naked body in gold dust in a ceremony on a sacred lake. In The Search for El Dorado, John Hemming investigates the objectives of each conquistador, to demonstrate when and where the El Dorado legend arose.
This book describes the nature of the conquistador, and tells from contemporary sources the appalling cruelty of these explorers, who preyed on the Indian tribes but who themselves suffered indescribable hardships.
Once the El Dorado legend had evolved, it became an obsession of successive adventurers. There was the handsome Gonzalo Pizarro, betrayed by Orellana in the first European descent of the Amazon River. The paranoid murderer and rebel Lope de Aguirre, the aged Antonio de Berrio and Sir Walter Ralegh, the epitome of an Elizabethan courtier, who tried to found a British empire in Guiana.
The Gold Museum at Bogota with nearly 25,000 objects provides the splendid backcloth to this story. The best of these objects, photographed in colour by Mario Carrieri, are here reproduced for the first time.
Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper.
Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine.
223 pages. Index. Bibliography. 10″ x 7½”.
This book will be listed, sooner or later, for £6.50 on my delightful website… (added to my Exploration South America category.) but get 50% off buying from my blog… below…