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Post El Dorado (Arkansas) and Chipola (Florida); from Gary Moore
Created by John Eipper on 06/20/18 4:23 AM

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El Dorado (Arkansas) and Chipola (Florida); from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 06/20/18 4:23 am)

Gary Moore writes:

Great to hear JE's exposition of the real roots of the El Dorado legend (June 18), whose wishful echoes have reached from El Dorado, Arkansas [that's Ell-duh-Raider, pardner] to Chipola, Florida (à la Seven Cities of Cibola, strained through another great wish, which put the whole Appalachian Mountain chain on Renaissance parchment as being the envisioned home of a gilded paradise, "Great Apalachee"--which was not entirely a myth, but boiled down to some palm thatch near Tallahassee).

In these bold tracks, our intrepid Humboldtian moderator, braving the anti-"Venezuelización" election of Colombia's angst, has now added his customary footsteps of wisdom.

JE comments:  We head back to the gilded paradise of Royal Oak today, but Gary Moore's kind words will give me the energy to endure three flights and four airports (Pereira-Bogotá-Ft Lauderdale-Detroit).  Gracias, Amigo Gary.  I'd love to see an image of that Renaissance parchment.

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  • Great Apalachee Explained; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 06/21/18 12:41 PM)

    Gary Moore writes:

    JE asked on June 20th about the Renaissance maps that referred to the whole
    of eastern North America as "Great Apalachee" (hence the name
    of the mountain chain long after people had forgotten the mythical

    In school, those of us corrected for misspelling the mountains
    may have wondered at the illogic: Shouldn't it be Appala-CHAIN--for a
    chain of mountains? Well, I don't have the actual parchment, but the
    roots are this: Pánfilo de Narváez, one of the more repugnant of conquistadores,
    landed his troops near Tampa Bay in 1527, before De Soto, before St. Augustine
    (the town), but still looking for gold. Asking and sometimes torturing the local
    natives to find where the gold was (one of his methods was to unleash his
    brace of mastiffs), Narváez began getting cooperative replies: "Yes, there is a
    great city of gold, but not right here. You've got to leave here and go up the
    trail to get the good stuff." As he went, the tales conflated with vague native
    knowledge that some kind of kingdom did lie to the north (in the present
    Florida panhandle), and that the people there were called the Apalachee.
    Red-beard eventually found the real Apalachees, in mound-builder elevated
    lodges thatched with cabbage palm, and some interesting social dynamics,
    but no gold.

    (I think JE has previously narrated the sequel, when
    Pánfilo died in his quest and the sole conquistador survivor was
    Cabeza de Vaca, plus a slave named Esteban.)

    On maps back in Europe,
    the mountains became the "Apalachee-an" before anybody really knew
    what they were. The Apalachees themselves survived as later Spanish
    serfs, until complicated wars around 1700 found the English raiding
    south into Florida, whereupon the remaining captive Apalachee villages were
    burned and the survivors carried to the Carolinas as slaves, not only by the
    British but by various native groups of enslavers. I dimly guessed in school
    that the funny look the teacher gave me when I complained about the
    spelling of "Appalachian" meant that sensible people didn't venture into
    such mazes.

    JE comments:  Narváez also fought against Cortés in Mexico, and had an eye put out in the melee.  Appalachia is one of those words that somehow got re-pronounced in the last twenty years.  It used to be Appa-LAY-shuh.  Now it's Appa-LATCH-shuh.  See also Carnegie, which has shifted its stress from the first to the second syllable.  (Old Andrew himself was a penult guy, but years of radio broadcasts from CARnegie Hall set the mood for two or three generations.)

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