26th Oct at 11am Radio 4 documentary on Raleigh and El Dorado
In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh sailed to South America in search of the fabled ‘El Dorado’. Gold had long fascinated Europeans and he was determined that his expedition would bring back untold treasures. In the end there was little to show for it except his remarkable account of the journey, ‘The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana’.
Jerry Brotton takes this as his guide as he travels to Trinidad, Raleigh’s staging post for the journey, and then into modern day Guyana just to the south of Raleigh’s original exploration.
Jerry discovers the descendants of the indigenous peoples Raleigh met and wrote about in his account, and travels upriver in search of the elusive gold that was so prized by Europeans.
What is left, if anything, of the dream of El Dorado in today’s Guyana? Deep In the pristine rainforest of South America he finds out if the lure of gold still holds.
Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London
Full details of the programme here