South America is the perfect place to hide secrets. In the Land of Gold, Jago Cooper explores another lost kingdom of South America. Cooper explores both the Muisca and Tairona. Their gold carvings drew the Spanish conquistadors into their lands. Was the land of El Dorado hidden in Columbia? Both cultures were skilled in gold making. Cooper explores this myth and teaches about the Muisca and Tairona cultures.
1492 changed the world of the Muisca and Tairona people. There were rumors of the Inca Empire. The conquistadors made their way to the Andes. Columbia was on the way to the Inca Homeland. The Conquistadors were surprised as they made their way through the Columbian jungle. An army of 800 conquistadors went through the Columbia jungle. It was difficult and tough, sickness went through the army. The journey was a nightmare.
The Muisca was the largest culture in South America. They occupied an area larger than Switzerland. They were not ruled by a single person. The Muisca was organized into two federations and these federations were made up of small towns. When the Conquistadors came through, they occupied a small town. Few original Muisca towns remain. The Musica people built with wood, so little was left behind. The land was held communally. Some research hints that they were a democracy.
The Muisca also negotiated with the gods. The gods took care of the weather. However, the gods could not take care of the Spanish. There were rumors of gold and cities of gold. The Spanish searched for this city gold. However, the story of El Dorado was inspired by a person, and he was a person who wore a lot of gold. The Gold Museum shows off how the Muisca crafted gold. There were many precious objects created with gold.
The second part of the episode discusses the Tairona people. They rose about the same time as the Muisca people. They lived upriver from the Muisca people. They shared a language with the Muisca. In fact, they traded gold, cotton, and salt with each other. Discovering more about the Tairona people is a challenge. Their mountainous location proves to be a challenge to archaeologists. There was a horde of gold discovered in the mountains and Cooper takes a three-day hike to the place where the gold was discovered. The site was big. It was 10 times bigger than Manchu Pichu.
The Tairona people took a lot of effort to build the city. It was a tough terrarium where they were building. When the civilization declined, the jungle took over and hid the city. The Tairona people built with stone. Stone preserved the Tairona structures for all time. Archeologists discovered that the Tairona did not use mortar when they built. They worked with their environment to survive. The Tairona valued things that reflected light. Gold not only reflected light but was the color of light. They worked carefully with gold. They polished and finished their pieces. Tairona gold had spiritual values. Instead of individual pieces, goldsmiths crafted objects that could be replicated over and over.
To continue to learn more about Muisca and Tairona watch the documentary. This is another good episode to share with a history class. The downside of the episode is that the Muisca and Tairona could have been easily covered over two episodes instead of one. I felt like Cooper shared too little information about both cultures. That said, if I was a teacher, I would share an episode or two of this series with a history class. It is also an excellent research source for a class too.
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