The European myth that arose of El Dorado, as a lost city of gold waiting for discovery by an adventurous conqueror, encapsulates the Europeans' endless thirst for gold and their unerring drive to exploit these new lands for their monetary value.

The South American myth of El Dorado, on the other hand, reveals the true nature of the territory and the people who lived there. For them, El Dorado was never a place, but a ruler so rich that he allegedly covered himself in gold from head to toe each morning and washed it off in a sacred lake each evening.

Dr Jago Cooper, Curator of the Americas at the British Museum