This book traces the origin of the legend of El Dorado and the various expeditions that set out to locate that mysterious land of untold wealth in South America. Motivated by both fanciful rumors of a golden city ruled by a man who coated himself daily with gold dust, and the more practical allure of a region abundant in cinnamon trees (a spice that was worth its weight in gold to Europeans), many conquistadors convinced themselves that another native empire awaited their conquest. These quests for fortune and glory would lead to an encounter with fierce female warriors who were believed to be the Amazons of ancient Greek lore, and the discovery of the mighty river later named for the legendary Amazon tribe.
The first half of this book details the lesser-known accounts of German interest in locating the wealth of a golden kingdom called Xerira and an elusive passage at Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo which supposedly led to the Pacific Ocean. The second section focuses on the various Spanish efforts to discover El Dorado, each of which was eventually doomed to despair, disappointment, and death.