Earlier this month I posted about the recent discovery of the legendary Lost City of the Monkey God also known as La Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”) in Honduras. I’m keeping an eye on this discovery because IF the ruins discovered are really the lost city then that would be phenomenal. But, the question is….IS IT REALLY the Lost City of the Monkey God? Let me begin with a letter from the famed Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortez.
“….I have trustworthy reports of very extensive and rich provinces, and of powerful chiefs ruling over them, and of one in particular called Hueitopalan, and in another dialect Xucutaco, about which I possessed information six years since, having all this time made inquiries about it, and ascertained that it lies eight or ten days march from that town of Trujillo, or rather between fifty and sixty leagues. So wonderful are the reports about this particular province, that even allowing largely for exaggeration, it will exceed Mexico in riches, and equal it in the largeness of its towns and villages, the density of its population, and the policy of its inhabitants.” [Hernan Cortez, 1st Letter to Charles V]
Cortez (or Cortes if you prefer) apparently first heard of the Lost City around 1520 and believed it to exist in the dense jungles of what is today Honduras’ Mosquito Coast. But, the famed Conquistador was not the only one to write about what he’d heard about the White City as Catholic Bishop Cristobal de Pedraza also wrote about it in a letter to the Spanish King Charles V (Carlos V). Bishop de Pedraza describes a mysterious city somewhere in the Honduran jungle located in a valley and, strangely, he also wrote that his guides told him that the people who live in the city ate on golden plates. Of course, this peaked the interest of the Spanish explorers as their primary goal in Mesoamerica was the discovery of and accumulation of gold and treasure.
Thus was the beginning of the legendary La Ciudad Blanca, the Lost City of the Monkey God. This is where the legend began but is it true or was it simply something made up by the Mesoamerican natives to fool Cortez, et al? Let’s face it. The Spanish Conquistadors were ruthless in their dealings with and conquest of Mesoamerica and I think it fairly safe to assume that people such as the Aztecs were afraid of the Spanish especially after Cortez destroyed the Aztec Empire. Fear does wonders when it come to population control as history have proven time and time again. A people who live under fear will tell you just about anything you want to hear or what they think you want to hear. Was this the case with the tale of the fabled Lost City? Was it something simply made up to lure Cortez into the dense jungles of Honduras where the natives hoped the Spanish might meet their demise?
As I posted in my last post on this subject (see link below) other explorers over the centuries have searched for the fabled lost city. Some have claimed to have found it but never bothered to tell everyone else where it was so it remained “lost.” Recently, a new team of explorers claimed to have found it but they aren’t telling anyone where it is as well. According to them the ruins of the fabled city lay on a crossroad heavily used by area drug traffickers and reportedly the Honduran government is sending troops to the area to guard the ruins and keep the artifacts there safe.
I can understand why the latest explorers might not wish to divulge the location of the fabled city as the business of artifact theft remains lucrative around the world. However, for the sake of science I hope they’ve told someone where the fabled ruins are so they can be explored and excavated in the future. I’m excited about this find and a part of me really hopes that it is the fabled White City of the Monkey God but is it really? Right now we don’t know.
David Meyer, Guerilla Explorer, (see link below) thinks that it is unlikely the ruins are that of La Ciudad Blanca and I hope he’s wrong. But, as he says it is “questionable” if Ciudad Blanca ever existed to begin with. He notes the tales roots lie in “mythology” and “…neither Cortes nor Bishop Cristobal de Pedraza described their supposed cities in that fashion.” As he points out the current name of the fabled city appears to be a “later addition.” Further, as he also points out there ARE ruins in the area. In fact, there are MANY ruins in the area to the tune of over 200 sites but the question is do they belong to the fabled city of the Monkey God? Meyer is a noted author, adventurer, and world traveler btw.
Dr Chris Begley has discovered over 200 ruins in the area and he speaks about them on his website (see link below). He notes that Bishop de Padraza’s letter was written 20 years after that written by Cortez. The bishop wrote his letter to the Spanish King in 1544. So the legend was born and twenty years later it was still going as it is right into our own times as well.
Dr Begley, an archaeologist, notes that the legend has grown every since Cortez first reported it and it is linked to “Central American mythology.” He goes on to say that it has at times been credited as the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl the Aztec god. In his post on the subject, Dr Begley notes that the most recent discoverers of the lost city “….join a long line of people making the same claim.” Further, according to him archaeologists in the area are “skeptical” about the most recent claim. And then Dr Begley notes something very interesting. He says, “Every time it seems the White City has been found, events conspire to conceal its location before its existence is verified.” In short, just when we think we have the Lost City of the Monkey God in our grasp events take a turn and again is becomes LOST!!
Dr Begley points out the local indigenous peoples have a different take on the lost city. Apparently, the locals forbid entrance into the city and believe it is a refuge for their indigenous gods of old!
Finally, Dr Begley suggests several questions be asked of those who claim to find the lost city, namely, which version of the legend they are using as a guide to the discovery. The legends of the locals concerning the fabled site are very different from those being presented in the mainstream media. And he also suggests one ask just what features one might be using leading one to conclude that the city is “lost” to begin with! He also notes that NONE of the “legends have any characteristics, traits, or identifying attributes of the Ciudad Blanca.” So how can one claim to have found it? He concludes with calling it all the “Lost City hype” and says, “….ultimately, in every case yet, [it] ends up being just that —hype.” And, indeed, it may well be all HYPE Dr Begley!
Wow! Dr Begley just dashed all my hopes and excitement against the wall. But, I’m grateful to him for handing me a REALITY CHECK. Sorry, but sometimes I tend to get a bit lost in all the HYPE as some of you well know LOL. I’m going to keep my eye on this latest chapter in the Lost City saga and….hell…..maybe I’ll even jet down to Honduras and search of it myself one day.
BTW does any of this remind you of the movie King Kong and its lost city??? Just askin’