The legend of El Dorado, a fabulous golden city in South America, inspired many expeditions in the 16th Century to go in search of wealth and excess.
The El Dorado mentality is alive and well today and nowhere more so than in the world of gambling and stock market trading.
According to some versions of the legend, El Dorado was not a city but the name of a wealthy king, who used to cover his body in gold dust and offer his gods gifts from his raft in the middle of a sacred lake.
The picture above is of the Muisca Raft (Andrew Bertram – World66, CC BY-SA 1.0). The Muisca raft is on display in the Gold Museum, Bogotá.
The Quest of El Dorado, by poet-priest and historian of the Conquest Juan de Castellanos goes as follows:
An alien Indian, hailing from afar,
Who in the town of Quito did abide.
And neighbor claimed to be of Bogata,
There having come, I know not by what way,
Did with him speak and solemnly announce
A country rich in emeralds and gold.
Also, among the things which them engaged,
A certain king he told of who, disrobed,
Upon a lake was wont, aboard a raft,
To make oblations, as himself had seen,
His regal form overspread with fragrant oil
On which was laid a coat of powdered gold
From sole of foot unto his highest brow,
Resplendent as the beaming of the sun.
Arrivals without end, he further said,
Were there to make rich votive offerings
Of golden trinkets and of emeralds rare
And divers other of their ornaments;
And worthy credence these things he affirmed;
The soldiers, light of heart and well content,
Then dubbed him El Dorado, and the name
By countless ways was spread throughout the world.
Expeditions to find El Dorado continue to this day. Not to a city or to find a wealthy king but in search of fabulous wealth nonetheless.
We humans always want to get rich quick, and why not? Sometimes it is possible. The Tulip Boom was an example or the technology boom on NASDAQ in the 1990s. Get in and out before the inevitable crash and you will have found your own Eldorado.
High Frequency Trading was another successful discovery of the fabled El Dorado. For some years the HFT brigade have made staggering returns, some say from front running and inside information. The SEC has been investigating the matter for some time without any conclusion so far.
Trading and gambling websites are as numerous on the internet as grains of sand on a beach. Most of them are full of fools and no hopers in search of El Dorado and people trying to sell them tickets to get there.
The world was ever thus.