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The "El Dorado" Feature

El Dorado, Spanish for "the golden one", originally El Hombre Dorado (the golden man), El Indio Dorado (the goldenIndian), or El Rey Dorado (the golden king), is the term used by Europeans to describe a mythical tribal chief (zipa) of theMuisca native people of Colombia, who, as an initiation rite, covered himself with gold dust and submerged in Lake Guatavita. The legends surrounding El Dorado changed over time, as it went from being a man, to a city, to a kingdom, and then finally an empire.

El Dorado is also sometimes used as a metaphor to represent an ultimate prize or "Holy Grail" that one might spend one's life seeking. It could represent true love, heaven, happiness, or success. It is used sometimes as a figure of speech to represent something much sought after that may not even exist, or, at least, may not ever be found. Such use is evident in Edgar Alan Poe's poem "El Dorado". In this context, El Dorado bears similarity to other myths such as the Fountain of Youth and Shangri-la. The other side of the ideal quest metaphor may be represented by Helldorado, a satirical nickname given to Tombstone, Arizona (United States) in the 1880's by a disgruntled miner who complained that many of his profession had traveled far to find El Dorado, only to wind up washing dishes in restaurants. The South African city Johannesburg is commonly interpreted as a modern-day El Dorado, due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand on which it is situated.