Word around the campfire is that the legend of “El Dorado,” what was believed by many conquistadores and explorers to be a lost city and vast kingdom of GOLD in the “New World” — has its origins in what is now modern day Colombia.
Legend has it (depicted in the second photo above) that when the Spanish began to explore the interiors of South America in the 15th Century, they heard stories of a Muisca King in the Andes who would cover himself in gold dust during different indigenous ceremonies and rituals. Along with other elaborate gold pieces and works, he would then dive from a raft into the sacred waters of a Lake Guatavita.
According to reports, the Spanish called this chief “El Dorado,” or the gilded one, which, through word-of-mouth eventually gave way to the different tales of the long, lost city made of Gold.
Most of the gold found in Colombia during that time is long lost by now; however, what little bit does remain — actually the largest collection in the world — is housed and exhibited in the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, Colombia.
Here are a few images of different pre-hispanic gold works and pieces that still survive today.