Thursday, 14 March 2013

Paititi - Lost City of Gold

The Spanish had been at war with the Incas of Peru for nearly forty years and the Incas had retreated to the Vilcabamba Valley in what is now Ecuador where they held off the invaders until 1572.

When the Spanish conquered the Incas they found the city there was largely deserted. It appeared as if the Incas had fled to a new location in the rainforests taking their vast treasure of gold with them. The new city was never found nor was the gold.

In 1979 the Inca city of Mamería, long since reclaimed by the dense Amazon forest, was re-discovered. These ruins, some way out into the jungle from where the known boundaries of the Inca empire lay, seem to have been a outpost and coca growing area.

In 2001, the Italian archaeologist Mario Polia discovered the report of the missionary Andres Lopez in the archives of the Jesuits in Rome. In the document, which dates from about 1600, Lopez describes a large city rich in gold, silver and jewels, located in the middle of the tropical jungle called Paititi by the natives.

2009 satellite photos of deforested areas of the Boco do Acre region of Brazil have revealed that there were once vast settlements there.

Some say that the belief in the existence of Paititi is the result of the conquering of the indigenous of the Cusco region, who hope that somewhere their culture and traditions continue. They say it is a myth.

Others say it is a passed-down historical fact, that some Incas left their defeated empire to start again out of the reach of the Spaniards.