Llanganatis – Ecuador
We are planning to lead several expeditions to the region of the Llanganatis, in Ecuador. We’ll investigate the story of the Valerde’s Derrotero, search for the mummy of the emperor Atahualpa and the lost gold of the Incas.
16th Century, Spain is expanding its empire in the Americas. Few years after Hernando Cortez conquered Central America, Pizarro and a few hundreds of men set land in Tumbes, Peru. Back then, the Inca Empire covered actual Peru, most of Ecuador and part of Chili. When the Spanish arrived, the empire was ravaged by waves of mortal epidemic and years of civil war between the two brothers, Huaynac Capac in the South and Atahualpa in the North. Atahualpa was victorious but peace won’t last for too long. With incredible audaciousness, Pizarro, who reached Cajamarca will make Athualpa his prisoner. Noticing the greed of the Spanish who sacked the city from its gold, the Inca emperor will try to negociate his life and freedom by promising Pizarro to fill an entire room with gold. The details agreed, the Inca army started gathering gold from the 4 corners of the empire. Once the room half-filled and while the rest of the ransom was on its way, the Spanish decided to send a clear message to the Inca army and Atahualpa was executed.
Rumihanui, the emperor’s general who was on route to deliver the second half of the ransom was able to quickly intercept the news. While the Spaniards started heading to the South to sack Cuzco, Ruminahui’s men recovered Atahualpa’s body. Ruminahui, the gold and the body of the emperor where then rerouted, to the North, in direction to Quito. There, Ruminahui, decided to hide both the gold and Atahualpa’s mummy in the mountains of the unhospitable region of the Llanganatis.
Despite the violence of the Spanish and the capture of Ruminahui, the conquistadors will never be able to find what became the famous ‘Tesoreo del Llanganates’.
Many years later, and according to the legend, a Spanish soldier, Valverde, married a descendant of the Inca nobles, in the same area where Ruminahui supposely hidded the treasure. Valverde was poor but became rich overnight. On his deathbed, he told that the father of his wife guided him to the mountains where he found the treasure and took a small part of the gold. Before passing away, he wrote the itinerary in a document that is now called ‘El Derrotero de Valverde‘ to the attention of the king. In order to investigate the story and recover the gold, Charles V sent a group of soldiers and a priest to Ecuador, with the document, but in the middle of the expedition, the Father Longo mysteriously disapeared.
For centuries, we never heard about the Valverde’s Derrotero, until a British botanist found a copy while he was investigating rare plants in the Llanganatis. The treasure hunt was on! Since, hundred of treasure hunters, from all nationalities, will try to solve the mystery, many of them loosing their life in the journey. So many explorers died that it is said that the gold is cursed. However, few of them might have found parts of the treasure like the British sailors, Blake and Chapman, or the Austrian Paul Van Der Koos, but there is no clear evidence of their existence and findings as we wrote these lines.
Our expedition will be the accomplishment of years of research. The last component to our attempt to solve this riddle.
Throughout this expedition, our goals are the following:
Identify facts from fiction:
- Who was Valverde and did he really existed?
- Did the Valverde’s Derrotero really existed?
- Are there several versions of the Valverde’s Derrotero?
- Are the Valverde’s Derrotero and Guzman’s map, the two documents used by Richard Spruce, fakes?
- Has Ruminahui really hided the gold of the ransom in the Llanganatis?
- Are the gold and the mummy hidden in the same location?
- Were Ruminahui able to recover the body of Atahualpa, momify it and hide it into the Llanaganatis?
- Did Blake and Chapman really existed?
- Did Van Der Koos really existed?
Document all previous expeditions:
- From the father Longo to the most recent attempt
- Identify what has been discovered
- Map areas of investigation
- Find the location of Atahualpa’s grave
- Find the location of the Inca Cacique’s graves
- Find the cache(s) where the gold has been buried
- Find the location of ancient Inca mines
- Find the ancient Inca road that cross the Llanganatis and map it
- Find legendary Inca constructions in the Llanganatis
- Find the location of Chapman’s grave