Francisco de Orellana
The Search For El Dorado
Beginning in 1541, rumors of a rich land of gold emerged. The ruler of this land was so rich they called him "El Dorado" or "Golden Man". The governor of Quito, Gonzalo Pizarro, set off with more than 200 Spanish troops. The troops began facing many hardships and death by the time they had reached the Andes mountains and thus Pizarro imprisoned his men. Francisco De Orellana, a relative of the Pizarro family, made a reputation fighting the Manca Inca and was head of the 23 Conquistadors. Orellana's crew grew larger and he and Pizarro continued to search beyond the Amazon. In 1541, the expedition split and the two conquistadors went separate ways on the Napo River, hoping for one to find food. Later, Pizarro would consider Orellana's departure a thing of treason, as a person who purposely separated to venture on without him. Orellana's crew found company and well being with native Indians, who later warned him about the hostile tribes ahead. Orellana pushed forward for hundreds of miles despite facing deadly attacks from local natives. Finally, the crew reached the end of the Amazon river and noticed the tide rising and falling, a sure sign that the sea was near. Orellana's crew made it out to the Caribbean and were relieved upon knowing they had made it out of the dangers of the Amazon River.
Orellana once more attempted to lead another expedition through the Amazon, however this trip ended before it hardly even began. On a final attempt to set sail one of the few ships sank while the others ran aground. Orellana tried desperately to find the channel that had delivered him before, but to no avail. Shortly afterwards the crew disbanded and many, including Orellana himself, were never seen again.