The legend seems to be based around an account by Juan Rodriguez in 1638. Apparently, the king of Muisca was covered in gold dust in a ritual before he was recognized as ruler. It is believed that this story stemmed ideas of an actual place filled with gold.
The legend of the lost Inca gold does have its roots in real events, although like most legends of lost gold it has been embellished and exaggerated. In the 16th century, the Inca king Atahuelpa was taken captive by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. In an attempt to gain freedom, Atahuelpa offered the Spanish a room filled with gold and treasure. Precious metals were brought from all over the Inca Empire to ransom the king, but the Spanish probably had no intention of keeping their word. Pizarro took the gold and had Atahuelpa executed anyway. According to some legends, a large part of the ransom that was still not delivered when Atahuelpa was killed was buried in a secret mountain cave.
A few treasure hunters claim to have found the gold, but none of them have produced any proof.
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