The Legend of El Dorado Criticism: Major Explorations For El Dorado - Essay

H. Tracy Sturcken (essay date 1967)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Sturcken, H. Tracy. “Raleigh and El Dorado of Guiana.” The Americas 19, No. 8 (August, 1967): 15-21.

[In the following essay, Sturcken describes how Walter Raleigh's failure to find El Dorado led to his execution in 1618.]

The Empyre of Guiana is directly east from Peru towards the sea … and it hath more abundance of Golde then any part of Peru, and as many or more great Cities than euer Peru had when it florished most … I haue beene assured by such of the Spanyardes as haue seene Manoa the emperiall Citie of Guiana, which the Spanyardes call el Dorado, that for the...

(The entire section is 1596 words.)

Evan Connell (essay date 1978)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Connell, Evan. “The Golden Man.” The Atlantic Monthly 241, No. 6 (June 1978): 65-71.

[In the following essay, Connell describes the hardships and madness endured by expeditions led by Ambrosius Dalfinger, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, Gonzalo Pizarro, Lope de Aguirre, and Walter Raleigh as they vainly sought El Dorado.]

If you go to Bogotá and visit the Banco de la República you will see, in the bank's Museo del Oro, nearly 10,000 pre-Columbian gold artifacts: labrets, nose rings, brooches, masks, spoons, pincers, receptacles, representations of birds, snakes, crocodiles, people, animals—so many that you think they must be dime-store replicas. You walk...

(The entire section is 5632 words.)

John Hemming (essay date 1978)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Hemming, John. “Chapter 9.” In The Search for El Dorado, pp. 151-61. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1978.

[In the following essay, Hemming describes expeditions by Antonio de Berrío and Domingo de Vera in the last two decades of the sixteenth century to find the elusive El Dorado.]

Gonzalo Jiménez died without any immediate family but with great estates of tribute-paying Muisca. He remained obsessed by El Dorado and determined that his heirs should conquer the kingdom that had eluded him. He chose as his heir his niece María, who was married to an old soldier called Antonio de Berrío, veteran of many Spanish campaigns in Italy, Flanders and against the Moors....

(The entire section is 5750 words.)

Andrew Sinclair (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Sinclair, Andrew. “The Quest for El Dorado” and “The Knight of El Dorado.” In Sir Walter Raleigh and the Age of Discovery, pp. 56-63; 105-12. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1984.

[In the following essay, Sinclair recounts Walter Raleigh's two unsuccessful searches for El Dorado, the failure of which ultimately resulted in his execution.]

When the Spaniards seized rooms full of gold ornaments from the Incas, they never found the mines from which the metal came. Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada set off with an expedition to find the mines in the Amazonian jungles; most of his men died, including his brother, struck by a bolt of lightning; he...

(The entire section is 3885 words.)

Neil L. Whitehead (essay date 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Whitehead, Neil L. “The Discoverie as Ethnological Text.” In The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana by Sir Walter Ralegh, edited by Neil L. Whitehead, pp. 60-116. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.

[In the following excerpt, Whitehead examines Walter Raleigh's Discoverie as an anthropological work that provides ethnographic information on the native peoples of Guiana, and he analyzes the “symbolic convergence of native and non-native traditions” regarding El Dorado.]


Recent work in the anthropology of colonial contact and the texts...

(The entire section is 23289 words.)