The Myth Of El Dorado Analysis

1641 Words7 Pages
As with most of the New World, the Spaniards motives in Colombia were self-serving. They were interested in the acquisition of territory, the expansion of power, the accumulation wealth, and the subjugation of the native people through conversion to Catholicism. The Spaniards organized and calculated colonial tactics in Latin America directly contrast the turbulence and instability that has plagued Colombia since the onset of its colonization.
Colonization of Colombia happened in increments, rather than all at once, and the effects of this disjointed colonization have lasted for four centuries Colombia was discovered in 1499 by Alonso de Ojeda, but the process of colonization did not begin until 1525, when Rodrigo de Bastida established
…show more content…
The quest for riches is a common theme in this colonizer colonized story though, especially in the search for El Dorado. The discovery of the Musica people was central to Spanish colonization of Colombia, as the Musica tribe was rumored to be connected to this legendary city. Willie Drye, author of, “The Myth of El Dorado” expands on this, “when Spanish explorers reached South America in the early 16th century, they heard stories about a tribe of natives high in the Andes mountains in what is now Colombia. When a new chieftain rose to power, his rule began with a ceremony at Lake Guatavita.” It was the Musica people who had this tradition. According to “Colombia´s Lake Guatavita and the Search for El Dorado”, “Kings would coat themselves in a sticky sap before covering themselves in gold powder. The king would then take a canoe to the center of Lake Guatavitá and, before the eyes of thousands of his subjects watching from shore, would leap into the lake, emerging clean. Then, a great festival would begin”. The Spaniards began referring to this king as “El Dorado,” meaning “the gilded one.” Though this tradition was not practiced by the Musica by the time of their discovery by the Spanish, the colonizers took a very specific interest in the natives. Under the guise of religious conversion, they demanded that the Musica reveal their shrines and…show more content…
In addition to Colombia, this territory included modern-day Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela, with Bogota as the administrative center. It was during this time though that the Spaniards were beginning to lose control of their vast empire, both at home and in their conquered territories. The French and American revolutions, as well as ideology from the Enlightenment created a longing for political and economic independence within the colonies. The thousands of Europeans living in Latin America since the 1500’s had created a new culture, a blend of foreign and native traditions and blood. This weakened the once strong colonial ties. In addition, Napoleon’s move into Portugal and Spain in the 1800’s severely destabilized Spanish control. The Spanish rule in Colombia lasted from about 1525 until 1808, and while there were several attempts at a rebellion for independence, it was not until 1811 that Antonio Nariño became one of the first prominent revolutionary leader. The uprising he led sparked a civil war until in 1819. It was then that, “El Libertador” Simon Bolivar was victorious in securing New Granada’s independence. He was elected president of this newly freed territory, but instability quickly led to the separation of New Granada into the nations of Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama

More about The Myth Of El Dorado Analysis

Open Document