National Geographic : 1953 Aug
Solemn Brown Faces Reflect the Wonder of Music from the Air None of the youngsters had heard a radio before; the little boy seems awe-struck. The man with the pipe visited the expedition's camp on the upper Rio Indio to ask if he might bring his family to call, since they had never seen people like the Stirlings. Guests came to the concert over jungle trails despite darkness and heavy rain. eagles. They persuaded a chief to lend guides for a trip to the mines. The wily Indians guided the white men far into the interior to the roots of some huge trees where they said the gold was found, a place actually in the territory of an enemy of the chief. The eager Spaniards, without having to use tools, gathered a hand ful of gold each. One is inclined to suspect that the Indians had salted the locality with gold to satisfy the Spaniards. Columbus's settlement at Belen was short lived. Rebelling against the white men's ill treatment, the Indians killed many of them and threatened to exterminate the rest. Short of food and pounded to exhaustion by the sea, Columbus abandoned the settlement. Gold is still found in small quantities in this region, particularly in the Concepcion, Belen, and Cocl del Norte Rivers. Natives pan for it with shallow wooden trays, as the aborigines did. A hard day's work produces about three dollars' worth. Legends of "Lost Mines" Persist The large quantity of gold the Spaniards found was the accumulation of many years of labor, rather than the output of rich mines or deposits. Nevertheless, legends of fabu lously rich "lost mines" still persist.