Tuesday, May 29, 2012

El Dorado - The Legend

Date of Issue: March 10, 2004
Scott #:  1221

El Dorado: is the name of a Muisca tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dove into Lake Guatavita, a highland lake. Later it became the name of a legendary "Lost City of Gold", which fascinated explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors. No evidence for its existence has been found.

Imagined as a place, El Dorado became a kingdom, an empire, and the city of this legendary golden king. In pursuit of the legend, Francisco Orellana and Gonzalo Pizarro departed from Quito in 1541 in a famous and disastrous expedition towards the Amazon Basin, as a result of which Orellana became the first person known to navigate the Amazon River all the way to its mouth.

The Ceremony: The Zipa (King or chief priest) used to cover his body in gold dust and, from his raft, he offered treasures to the Guatavita goddess in the middle of the sacred lake. This old Muisca tradition became the origin of El Dorado legend. The model of the raft in gold (as shown in stamp sheet) is on display in the Gold Museum, Bogotá, Colombia.

Many thanks to my swap friend from Colombia, Mr. Alejandro Restrepo, for sending me this stamp sheet for my collection.

Text Source: Wikipedia

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