Born in 1554, Raleigh was knighted in 1585 by Elizabeth I. In 1595 Sir Walter Raleigh led an expedition to what is now Venezuela in South America, sailing up the Orinoco River in the heart of Spain's colonial empire. The Discoverie of Guiana (1596) is the story of this expedition. The stories told by Indians and some Spanish documents convinced Raleigh of the existence of El Dorado, a mythical city of gold in the interior of South America. Raleigh did locate some gold mines, but no one supported his project for colonizing the area.
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