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El Dorado in the Marshes: Gold, Slaves and Souls between the Andes and the Amazon / Edition 1
     

El Dorado in the Marshes: Gold, Slaves and Souls between the Andes and the Amazon / Edition 1

by Massimo Livi-Bacci
 

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ISBN-10: 0745645534

ISBN-13: 9780745645537

Pub. Date: 12/29/2009

Publisher: Wiley

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745645537
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
12/29/2009
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction.

I A gold nugget as large as a suckling pig; the treasure of Atahuallpa enriches 74 horsemen, 138 foot soldiers, and the king of Spain; El Dorado, a vain cacique covered in gold dust washes off in the lagoon; stories of Amazons and a Greek artilleryman.

II At the foot of the Andes, under water for five months of the year. The inhabitants of the great swamp: mild, ingenious, adaptable. Three men in a boat take a census. Vast quantities of land and water, but no gold, silver, or precious stones.

III The myth of Paititi, Father-Tiger, and the mysterious Incan migrations over the Andes. A rich and noble mestizo with fourteen men seeks to conquer half of America. El Dorado bogs down in the swamps of the Mojos. The citizens of Santa Cruz – eleven disorderly streets – look for slaves.

IV The round up of Indian slaves comes to an end while the contest for their souls begins. A chaplain-physician and a polyglot missionary. Hatchets, wedges, and knives in exchange for obedience. Three-naved cathedrals of mud and wood.

V The good fathers confront the loose habits of the Mojos. A straw mattress, two geese, and two spindles make up the bride’s dowry. The Indios and disease: stoic or healthy? Portuguese and Spaniards at war on the edge of the swamp. The sad expulsion of the fathers in 1768: twenty-four leave but only fourteen arrive.

Epilog.

Chronology.

Glossary.

Appendix.

Index.

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