El Dorado

El Dorado
/el' deuh rah"doh, -ray"-/ or, Sp., /el daw rddah"dhaw/ for 1, 2; /el' deuh ray"doh/ for 3, 4
1. a legendary treasure city of South America, sought by the early Spanish explorers.
2. any place offering great wealth.
3. a city in S Arkansas. 26,685.
4. a town in S Kansas. 10,510.

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(Spanish: "The Golden") Legendary golden city sought by Spanish explorers in the New World.

It was the fabulously wealthy land of a king who was said to have been covered with gold dust so many times that he was permanently gilded. Many Spanish and English expeditions in the Americas were sent in search of El Dorado. In 1540 Francisco Vazquez de Coronado ventured as far north as Kansas seeking the Seven Golden Cities of Cibola. Walter Raleigh searched for El Dorado in vain in South America, leading an expedition up the Orinoco River in 1595.

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      city, seat (1843) of Union county, southern Arkansas, U.S., 100 miles (160 km) south of Little Rock. The site was selected in 1843 by county commissioners Robert Black, John Hampton, and Green Newton, who were instructed to locate centrally the county seat. Its Spanish name (meaning “place of riches”) was supposedly given by Matthew Rainey, a storekeeper and the town's first settler. Lumber and cotton were the basic products before oil was discovered in 1921 in the Busey Well, resulting in an economic boom. Oil production and refining, petrochemicals, poultry products, financial services, and timber are now major industries. Conservation methods pioneered in the nearby Shuler Field have been adopted nationwide by the oil industry.

      A wide variety of native flora and fauna are protected within the South Arkansas Arboretum, nestled in the heart of the city. Moro Bay State Park is to the northeast, and Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge (102 square miles [263 square km]), with the world's largest greentree reservoir (area of timber seasonally flooded to attract waterfowl), is to the southeast. Inc. town, 1845; city, 1905. Pop. (1990) 23,146; (2000) 21,530.

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Universalium. 2010.

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