The Legend of El Dorado, or the "gilded man," is a centuries-old story
About a native Indian king whose body was covered with powdered gold.It is believed that he still appears to his people.Looking for gold and treasures intrigued the Spanish colonizers, Indians, and Muiscas.The natives were rich in gold and seemed to have obtained their wealth from a place outside their home towns.From some captured natives the Spaniards began to hear of a legendary king and leader by the name of El Dorado.
The legend begins with the spiritual ceremony of appointing El Dorado the new leader.As part of the rites, the king was to journey out to the great lagoon of Guatavita to make an offering to the gods."An elaborately decorated raft was made and loaded with all sorts of treasures from the village to be used as a sacrifice" (Morrison 84).
On the day of the ceremony the king was stripped to his bare-skin.He was then anointed with sticky oil and completely covered with gold dust.As the raft pushed off shore, the smoke from burning torches and incense, resin,
And 2 other perfumes shrouded the area in darkness.The king was accompanied by four chiefs decked in golden crowns, bracelets, pendants, and ear rings.
When the raft reached the center of the lagoon, a banner was raised as a sign calling for silence.The gilded man then threw out the piles of gold and treasure into the center of the lake.As he headed to shore, the villagers celebrated with song and dance.They were happy that a new ruler had been received and recognized as king."The gold offerings would also ensure that the villagers would be protected and blessed with wealth" (DuBois & Jermyn 19).
Since then it is believed El Dorado sometimes appears to his people by a lake in the mountains.