legendary country of the Golden Man sought by adventurers in South America. The legend supposedly originated in a custom of the Chibcha people ofColombia who each year anointed a chieftain and rolled him in gold, which he then ceremonially washedoff in a sacred lake, casting offerings of emeralds and gold into the waters at the same time. This customhad apparently disappeared long before the coming of the conquistadors, but the tales lived on and grewinto a legend of a land of gold and plenty. Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana set out in quest forit, the latter drifting down the length of the Amazon River in the process. From the middle of the 16thcent. a series of adventurers searched for El Dorado and its fabulous variants—Omagua, the Land ofCinnamon, or the golden land of Manoa. El Dorado passed into European literature and found its way tothe maps. The conquistadors of Venezuela and New Granada—Federmann , Benalcázar , and Jiménez de Quesada —all searched for El Dorado. Perhaps best known to English-speaking peoples is the expeditionof Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595. The location of the mythical land shifted as new regions were explored, andsimilar legends appeared in W United States. Cabeza de Vaca told of the Seven Cities of Cibola; interestin these treasure-laden cities reached a peak with the stories of Fray Marcos de Niza and culminated in atremendous but fruitless expedition under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado . El Dorado is used figuratively to mean any place of fabulous wealth, a utopian dream, or the land of desire.