Test Your Knowledge of the Truth of El Dorado

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Mar 28, 2024

For centuries, the tale of El Dorado, a mythical city of gold, has captivated explorers, historians, and dreamers worldwide. However, the true story behind this legend is rooted in the rich cultural practices of the Muisca people of South America, far removed from the European myths of endless riches.

This quiz will take you on a journey through the real events, cultural significance, and historical misunderstandings that have shaped the narrative of El Dorado. Prepare to explore the depths of historical truths and debunk the myths that have led many astray. Are you ready to uncover the golden truths behind the legend of El Dorado?

What true form does the legend of El Dorado originally refer to?

  • A) A golden city
  • B) A mountain of gold
  • C) A golden man
  • D) A river of gold
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Photograph of the Bible opened to the Book of Psalms

Source: Pexels

Answer:

C) A golden man

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Bars of gold and gold coins all in a pile together.

Source: Zlaťáky.cz/Unsplash

In which country did the Muisca people, associated with the El Dorado ceremony, live?

  • A) Brazil
  • B) Venezuela
  • C) Colombia
  • D) Peru
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Flat map of every country on planet Earth

Source: Amazon

Answer:

C) Colombia

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Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as seen from the ISS

Source: NASA/Wikipedia

What was the main purpose of the Muisca El Dorado ceremony?

  • A) To display wealth
  • B) To find a new leader
  • C) To offer tributes to the gods
  • D) To prepare for war
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Muisca Raft cast in gold

Source: Smithsonian

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Answer:

C) To offer tributes to the gods

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Hands lifted to heaven outside

Source: Canva

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What material was not solely for material value but had spiritual significance to the Muisca people?

  • A) Silver
  • B) Tumbaga
  • C) Iron
  • D) Platinum
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A rock of iron pyrite, or fool's gold), sitting against a blue background.

Source: Uoaei1/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

B) Tumbaga

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A tumbaga pectoral girdle of the Quimbaya culture; 300–1600 AD

Source: Madman2001/Wikipedia

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Which lake was central to the El Dorado ceremony?

  • A) Lake Titicaca
  • B) Lake Guatavita
  • C) Lake Maracaibo
  • D) Lake Atitlán
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A student of Te Wharekura o Ngati Rongomai dives into the water in Rotorua, New Zealand

Source: Amy Toensing/Getty Images

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Answer:

B) Lake Guatavita

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Above shot of Laguna Del Guatavita

Source: Masanalv/Wikipedia

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Who was the European explorer that made two trips to search for El Dorado in the early 17th century?

  • A) Christopher Columbus
  • B) Sir Francis Drake
  • C) Hernán Cortés
  • D) Sir Walter Raleigh
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An oil painting depicting a tranquil sea scene at sunset. The golden light of the setting sun reflects off the calm waters. In the foreground, a small boat with two large sails is anchored, with a rowboat beside it. Dominating the center is a large, multi-masted ship of the line, its sails unfurled and still

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

D) Sir Walter Raleigh

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Portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh by 'H' monogrammist

Source: Wikipedia

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How did Europeans misinterpret the Muisca ceremony of El Dorado?

  • A) As a healing ritual
  • B) As a fertility ceremony
  • C) As a myth of a city of gold
  • D) As a declaration of war
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An old painting of a big ship with smoke behind it, with two smaller boats full of people on the water

Source: Europeana/Unsplash

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Answer:

C) As a myth of a city of gold

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A pile of gold. There are gold coins and bars all piled together and vary in size and weight.

Source: Zlaťáky.cz/Unsplash

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What is the metalworking process used by the Muisca to create gold objects for offerings?

  • A) Forging
  • B) Lost wax process
  • C) Smelting
  • D) Enameling
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A steel furnace in the middle of smelting steel.

Source: Alfred T. Palmer/Wikimedia Commons

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Answer:

B) Lost wax process

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On the left is an example of a rubber mould, often used in the lost-wax process, and on the right is the finished bronze sculpture.

Source: Wikipedia

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What percentage of Muisca production was dedicated to votive offerings, according to experts?

  • A) Over 25%
  • B) Over 50%
  • C) Over 75%
  • D) Over 90%
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A collection of jewelry from Rome, Greece, and Byzantine.

Source: Gary Todd/Wikimedia

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Answer:

B) Over 50%

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Part of a female face with inlaid eyes, Ancient Greek Votive offering, 4th century BC, probably by Praxias, set in a niche of a pillar in the sanctuary of Asclepios in Athens, Acropolis Museum, Athens

Source: Tilemahos Efthimiadis/Wikipedia

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What does gold represent to the Muisca people, contrary to European belief?

  • A) Power
  • B) Wealth
  • C) An offering
  • D) A currency
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Gold Bar Lot

Source: Pixabay/Pexels

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Answer:

C) An offering

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A person holding gold pieces in their open hands.

Source: Alexander Grey/Unsplash

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Which institution in Bogota is known for its research and exhibits on the Muisca and their gold?

  • A) National Museum of Colombia
  • B) Museo del Oro
  • C) Bogota Historical Museum
  • D) Colombian Museum of Archeology
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Several scientists are pictured working on a theory in her laboratory

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Answer:

B) Museo del Oro

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Gold Museum, Bogota, Colombia

Source: Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz)/Pexels

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Which artifact found in 1969 provides physical evidence of the El Dorado ceremony as described by early chroniclers?

  • A) A gold crown
  • B) A gold mask
  • C) A gold raft
  • D) A gold chalice
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Close up of a Golden Venetian Mask with Plume

Source: Carolina Spork/Pexels

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Answer:

C) A gold raft

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Muisca raft detail

Source: Tisquesusa/Wikipedia

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Who wrote the account that gives one of the best descriptions of the El Dorado ceremony?

  • A) Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
  • B) Juan Rodriguez Freyle
  • C) Francisco Pizarro
  • D) Bartolomé de las Casas
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Anonymous female therapist and client sitting in armchairs during session in modern office

Source: SHVETS production/Pexels

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Answer:

B) Juan Rodriguez Freyle

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The cacique of Guatavita was known to Juan Rodríguez Freyle, who settled in Guasca, Cundinamarca, close to sacred Lake Guatavita, the site of the legend of El Dorado

Source: Frank Ballesteros/Wikipedia

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How did the European conquerors’ interpretation of gold differ from that of the Muisca people?

  • A) They viewed it as purely decorative
  • B) They saw it as a symbol of divine right
  • C) They considered it as a material for weaponry
  • D) They regarded it as a source of wealth
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Various bits of gold that have been discovered. There are gold coins, bars of gold, and a gold cup.

Source: Andrev Sachov/Unsplash

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Answer:

D) They regarded it as a source of wealth

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A briefcase filled with $100 bills.

Source: Pixabay/Pexels

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What outcome has resulted from the misinterpretation and legend of El Dorado over the years?

  • A) Increased cultural appreciation
  • B) Scientific advancements in metalworking
  • C) Widespread looting and loss of cultural artifacts
  • D) Peaceful integration of different cultures
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Inspection of the Welser army by Georg von Speyer (right) and Philipp von Hutten (center) at Venezuela.

Source: Hieronymus Köler/Wikipedia

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Answer:

C) Widespread looting and loss of cultural artifacts

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Looting protest in Columbia

Source: NACLA

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