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Gold rush links between El Dorado and B.C. highlighted in new exhibit

05/15/2015 03:49 EDT | Updated 05/15/2016 05:59 EDT
A new exhibit at the Royal BC Museum will showcase some rare and priceless pieces of pre-Hispanic gold, including some exhibited outside of their native country for the first time ever. 

The Gold Rush: El Dorado in B.C. exhibit was curated with help from experts in Bogota, Colombia where gold has been an important cultural artifact for thousands of years.

"For Colombian people, gold is very much connected with the past. It's a source of pride for us," says Maria Alicia Uribe, the Director of the Museo del Oro (or the Gold Museum) in Bogota.

Uribe is in Victoria to help open the exhibit and to give a talk focusing on how gold figures in Colombian and British Colombian history.

She says that in the early days of Europeans making their way to the Americas, El Dorado was a series of myths created to attract those who came in search of gold.

"In the case of Colombia, they heard about the myth of our ruler who covered his body with gold dust. It fostered the conquest."

Uribe notes that the El Dorado in this exhibit doesn't play upon those same myths. The objects on display hold symbolic and spiritual significance.

Linking the Colombian gold rush to B.C.

Uribe says that even though they were separated by thousands of kilometres, there are a number of links to be drawn between the gold rush that occurred in Colombia, to that of the one in the Northwest.

"I think in both places they produced devastation and major changes for the native people. In our context they were probably worse — many of these groups were killed through the conquests."

Gold Rush: El Dorado in B.C. runs until Oct. 31, 2015 at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

To hear more, click the audio labelled: Gold rush links B.C. to Colombia.

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