Westholme Publishing
The Search for Mysterious Realms and Treasure in the Exploration of the Americas


Cities of Gold
Legendary Kingdoms, Quixotic Quests, and Fantastic New World Wealth
Bill Yenne

$26.00 Hardback
$26.00 eBook

  • 304 pages
  • 6 x 9.25
  • 40 b/w illus., maps
  • American History

About this Book

For half a millennium, stories of vast treasures—El Dorado, Ciudad de los Césares, Sierra del Plata, and the Seven Cities of Cibola—have been part of the lore of the Americas. Long before the Spanish set foot in the New World, myths and rumors of fabulous wealth in distant lands had entered the European popular imagination. Claims of mysterious realms in Africa and Asia had been alive in castles and seaport taverns for centuries. Accounts of these astonishing places, such as the kingdom of Prester John, were told and retold so often that they were assumed to be true. When explorers first made contact with the Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations, they found cultures that were literally dripping with gold. This evidence made it easy to believe the native stories of even greater wealth just beyond the horizon. In these unchartered lands, European dreamers sought their fortunes, such as Francisco de Coronado, who ranged over North American deserts and plains in search of the elusive Cibola, and Gonzalo Pizarro, younger brother of the man who conquered the Incas, who desperately followed the shadowy trail leading to El Dorado. In Cities of Gold: Legendary Kindgoms, Quixotic Quests, and Fantastic New World Wealth, Bill Yenne takes the reader from the jungles and mountains of Peru, Paraguay, and Venezuela to the deserts and peaks of Mexico and the United States to tell the extraordinary story of how the search for mysterious New World cities fueled the exploration of an unknown hemisphere for hundreds of years. Even without finding the places they sought, during Spain’s “Siglo de Oro” in the sixteenth century, the Spanish plundered and mined thousands of tons of New World gold and silver and shipped it home where the reserves alone reached a staggering estimate of two trillion dollars. And it was not just the Spanish who were obsessed with gold: Sir Walter Raleigh made two voyages in search of Manoa, a golden city he was convinced was deep in the rainforests of Guyana. Discussing the many expeditions to find New World riches over a 500-year timeline, the author includes stories of lesser-known explorers and soldiers of fortune and explains how their quests changed the history of Europe and the New World. Throughout, the author demonstrates that the insatiable lust for treasure continues to dazzle the modern fortune hunter.

BILL YENNE is an award-winning author of numerous books of history and popular culture, including the acclaimed biography Sitting Bull and Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West, both available from Westholme Publishing.




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