I incorrectly thought Lope de Aguirre was the first European to explore the length of the Amazon. In fact, he sailed down the Orinoco river, and it was Francisco De Orellana who first reached the mouth of the Amazon twenty years earlier, in 1541-1542.
Orellana was a member of Gonzalo Pizarro’s abortive expedition to find El Dorado or “The Golden Man.” The Spaniards were lured into the jungle by a native legend that a Muisca tribal chief covered himself in gold.
(Ceramic head from the Muisca confederacy, Colombia, c. 1200)

I incorrectly thought Lope de Aguirre was the first European to explore the length of the Amazon. In fact, he sailed down the Orinoco river, and it was Francisco De Orellana who first reached the mouth of the Amazon twenty years earlier, in 1541-1542.

Orellana was a member of Gonzalo Pizarro’s abortive expedition to find El Dorado or “The Golden Man.” The Spaniards were lured into the jungle by a native legend that a Muisca tribal chief covered himself in gold.

(Ceramic head from the Muisca confederacy, Colombia, c. 1200)

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