Monday, 11 January 2016

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 the Incas had fled to a new location taking their vast treasure of gold with them. The new city was never found nor was the gold.

A remote location in the Peruvian Amazon thought to be the legendary Lost City has been discovered and is the target for a professional expedition taking place this summer.

Inca traditions mention a city, deep in the jungle and east of the Andes area of Cusco which could be the last Incan refuge following the Spanish Conquest. The Spanish conquistadors pillaged Cusco for its gold and silver, but the bulk of the mass treasure has never been found.

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.

Due to the remote location of the area, as well as the rugged terrain, Paititi remains hard to find.

Currently drug trafficking and illegal logging are overtaking this part of Peru, and many explorers that enter never return.

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.