El Dorado in the Marshes: Gold, Slaves and Souls Between the Andes and the Amazon
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El Dorado in the Marshes: Gold, Slaves and Souls Between the Andes and the Amazon

by Massimo Livi-Bacci
     
 

The search for gold and for the mythical El Dorado gripped the imagination of the conquistadors from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Crossing over the Andes, they explored the unknown eastern forests and jungles, launching expeditions that were often disastrous and always disappointing. As the range of exploration expanded, El Dorado retreated, always just

Overview

The search for gold and for the mythical El Dorado gripped the imagination of the conquistadors from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Crossing over the Andes, they explored the unknown eastern forests and jungles, launching expeditions that were often disastrous and always disappointing. As the range of exploration expanded, El Dorado retreated, always just beyond the horizon.

The last goal of these explorations was the land of the Mojos, a land located in the upper Amazon basin and which lies many months of the year submerged under water. It is a mysterious land and, as legend had it, inhabited by a people rich in gold and precious stones. Yet all the Spaniards found – as narrated in these compelling pages – was a limitless swamp, sparsely inhabited by a small number of people and so ill suited to usual system of productive forced labor. It was the Jesuits instead who established here a network of missions second in size and population only to that or Paraguay and so went in search of souls rather than gold.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Following in wake of Spanish explorers and missionaries centuries ago, Massimo Livi Bacci enters the extraordinary world of Bolivia's Llanos de Mojos. There he documents the European search for an elusive El Dorado, finding instead sustainable, indigenous adaptations that in time were modified and undone by outside intrusion."
W. George Lovell, Queen's University, Canada

"Massimo Livi Bacci weaves together with masterful skill narratives of European exploration, Jesuit relations, and demographic data to tell a remarkable story of the Mojos, indigenous peoples of what is today eastern Bolivia. Livi Bacci places the Mojos' story within the totality of colonialism, its ruthless quest for gold and slaves, its diseases, its religious imperatives to save Native souls, and its imperial rivalries and warfare. In doing so, Livi Bacci shows how the Mojos' history was neither linear nor preordained. El Dorado in the Marshes provides an even-handed account and is a must read for those who want an accessible yet sophisticated telling of European colonization and its impact on indigenous peoples."
Paul Kelton, University of Kansas

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745645520
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
01/19/2010
Pages:
196
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Massimo Livi Bacci is Professor of Demography at the University of Florence.

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