The Ruins of Choqquequirau
The RUINS of CHOQQUEQUIRAU
This book was especially republished to raise funds for these charities & many more...
33% of the publishers profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.
Hiram Bingham (1875 - 1956) was an academic, explorer, treasure hunter and politician from the United States. He obtained degrees from Yale, UCLA Berkeley, and a PhD. from Harvard. He taught history and politics at Harvard and then served as preceptor under Woodrow Wilson at Princeton.
In the 58 pages of this booklet you will find but one of the results of Binghams journeys of discovery into the interior of Peru (See also INCA LAND - ISBN: 978-1-907256-69-1.)
The Incas lived in this land of violent contrasts. In Inca Land one may pass within a few hours from alpine landscapes of snow and glaciers to tropical, humid settings, lush with tree ferns. The story of the Incas is still in a maze of doubt and contradiction. It was this mystery and the romance of nineteenth-century exploration that first led Bingham into the relatively unknown interior of ancient Peru, the Land of the Incas.
In the very last paragraph of this booklet, in a throw-away sentence, Bingham writes, .until someone explores the present village of Vilcabamba and its vicinity. Little did he know when he wrote those words in 1909 that a mere two years later he would be the expedition leader that explored this region sometimes called the Cradle of the Incas. It was then he made the discovery for which he became famous - that of Machu Picchu, the fabled Inca citadel - and the world has been captivated by the mystery and romance of the Land of the Incas ever since.
2011 was the centennial year of Binghams famous announcement and this booklet has been republished, in part, to celebrate his achievement. It has also been republished to raise funds for
PROJECT PERU which gives ongoing and practical support to those who live in extreme poverty in the desert shanty towns of Lima, Peru.
33% of the Publishers profit will be donated to PROJECT PERU.
Excerpt from The RUINS of CHOQQUEQUIRAU
It seems that in Quichua, the language of the Incas, still spoken by a majority of the mountaineers of Peru, Choqquequirau means "Cradle of Gold." Attracted by this romantic name and by the lack of all positive knowledge concerning its last defenders, several attempts had been made during the past century to explore its ruins and to discover the treasure which it is supposed the Incas hid here instead of allowing it to fall into the hands of Pizarro with the ransom of Atahualpa. Owing to the very great difficulty of reaching the site of the ruins a tradition had grown up that the Incas built a great city that once contained over 15,000 inhabitants, high up on the mountain-side, six thousand feet above the river Apurimac. That the tradition had a basis of fact had been demonstrated occasionally by bold mountain climbers who succeeded in reaching a part of the ruin.
We were told that the first man to reach there went and came alone. All he saw was a stone wall which he reached late in the afternoon, exhausted and without food. He slept in its shelter, left his gun as proof that he had been there, and came away early the next morning anxious only to get home. A generation later a small party of adventurers succeeded in reaching the ruins with enough food to last them for two days. They excavated two or three holes in a vain effort to find buried treasure and returned with a tale of sufferings that kept any one from following their example for twenty years. They brought back reports of rocky "palaces, paved squares, temples, prisons and baths," all crumbling away beneath luxuriant tropical vegetation. Then a local magistrate, dreaming of untold riches, so ran the tale, endeavored to construct a path by which it might be possible to reach Choqquequirau and to maintain a transportation service of Indian
carriers who could provide workmen with food while they were engaged in making a systematic effort to unearth the "cradle of gold." This man had at his disposal the services of a company of soldiers and a large number of Indians, and it is said that he expended a large amount of time and money in his quest. He succeeded in reaching the top of the ridge, 12,000 feet above the river and 6,000 feet above Choqquequirau, but was unable to scale the precipices that surround the ruins and all his labor came to nought. Others tried to utilize the path that he had made but without success until the present prefect of the department of Apurimac, Honorable J. J. Nuiiez, assumed office and became interested in the local traditions. Under his patronage, a company of treasure seekers was formed and several thousand dollars were subscribed.
The first difficulty that they encountered was the construction of a bridge over the frightful rapids of the Apurimac. All efforts failed. Not a Peruvian could be found willing to venture his life in the whirlpool rapids. Finally "Don Mariano," an aged Chinese peddler, who had braved the terrors of the Peruvian mountains for thirty years, dared to swim the river with a string tied to his waist. Then, after much patient effort, he succeeded in securing six strands of telegraph wire from which he hung short lengths of fiber rope and wove a mat of reeds two feet wide to serve as a foot path for a frail suspension bridge. Once on the other side, the company was able to use a part of the trail made twenty years before, but even with that aid it took three months of hard work to surmount the difficulties that lay between the river and Choqquequirau. Cheered on by the enthusiastic prefect and his aide, Lieut. Carceres, an exceptionally bold officer, the task which had defied all comers for four hundred years, was accomplished. A trail that could be used by Indian bearers was constructed through twelve miles of mountain forest, over torrents and precipices, and across ravines from the river to the ruins.
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