El Dorado

El Dorado

[el duh-rah-doh, -rey- or, Sp., el daw-rah-thaw for 1, 2; el duh-rey-doh for 3, 4]
El Dorado [Span.,=the gilded man], legendary country of the Golden Man sought by adventurers in South America. The legend supposedly originated in a custom of the Chibcha people of Colombia who each year anointed a chieftain and rolled him in gold, which he then ceremonially washed off in a sacred lake, casting offerings of emeralds and gold into the waters at the same time. This custom had apparently disappeared long before the coming of the conquistadors, but the tales lived on and grew into a legend of a land of gold and plenty. Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana set out in quest for it, the latter drifting down the length of the Amazon River in the process. From the middle of the 16th cent. a series of adventurers searched for El Dorado and its fabulous variants—Omagua, the Land of Cinnamon, or the golden land of Manoa. El Dorado passed into European literature and found its way to the maps. The conquistadors of Venezuela and New Granada—Federmann, Benalcázar, and Jiménez de Quesada—all searched for El Dorado. Perhaps best known to English-speaking peoples is the expedition of Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595. The location of the mythical land shifted as new regions were explored, and similar legends appeared in W United States. Cabeza de Vaca told of the Seven Cities of Cibola; interest in these treasure-laden cities reached a peak with the stories of Fray Marcos de Niza and culminated in a tremendous but fruitless expedition under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. El Dorado is used figuratively to mean any place of fabulous wealth, a utopian dream, or the land of desire.

See A. F. Bandelier, The Gilded Man (1893, repr. 1962); G. Arciniegas, The Knight of El Dorado (tr. 1942); R. Silverberg, The Golden Dream (1967); V. S. Naipaul, The Loss of El Dorado (1970).

El Dorado, city (1990 pop. 23,146), seat of Union co., S central Ark; inc. 1845. The discovery of oil in 1921 made it the oil center of the state. The city has oil refineries, chemical plants, and poultry-packing houses, as well as diverse manufactures.

El Dorado County is a county located in the Gold Country of the U.S. state of California, in the Sierra Nevada. Its 2004 population was estimated to be 172,889, its 2000 population was 156,299. The county seat is Placerville.

Much of the population of El Dorado County has become suburbanized, as the Sacramento Metropolitan Statistical Area area has expanded. In addition, the population of the Lake Tahoe area has also boomed recently.


As of the census of 2000, there were 156,299 people, 58,939 households, and 43,025 families residing in the county. The population density was 91 people per square mile (35/km²). There were 71,278 housing units at an average density of 42 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.71% White, 0.52% Black or African American, 1.00% Native American, 2.13% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 3.55% from other races, and 2.96% from two or more races. 9.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.9% were of German, 13.4% English, 10.3% Irish, 6.6% Italian and 6.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 90.5% spoke English and 6.5% Spanish as their first language.

There were 58,939 households out of which 34.2% had kids under the age of 18 living with them, 60.1% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.

The 2000 census also states that the median income for a household in the county was $51,484, and the median income for a family was $60,250. Males had a median income of $46,373 versus $31,537 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,560. About 5.0% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2004 61.2% 52,878 37.3% 32,242 1.4% 1,244
2000 58.3% 42,045 36.4% 26,220 5.4% 3,871
1996 51.8% 32,759 36.3% 22,957 11.8% 7,480
1992 39.9% 25,906 32.4% 21,012 27.7% 17,969
1988 59.3% 30,021 39.1% 19,801 1.5% 781
1984 64.9% 27,583 33.7% 14,312 1.4% 583
1980 58.3% 21,238 29.5% 10,765 12.2% 4,446
1976 47.7% 12,472 48.8% 12,763 3.5% 919
1972 54.2% 11,330 41.4% 8,654 4.4% 921
1968 49.0% 1,719 39.7% 6,054 11.3% 1,719
1964 39.5% 5,775 60.3% 8,810 0.2% 25
1960 49.2% 6,065 50.1% 6,175 0.8% 97

El Dorado is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

El Dorado is part of California's 4th congressional district, which is held by Republican John Doolittle. In the State Assembly, El Dorado is part of the 4th district, which is held by Republican Ted Gaines. In the State Senate, El Dorado is part of the 1st district, which is held by Republican Dave Cox.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,788 square miles (4,631 km²), of which, 1,711 square miles (4,431 km²) of it is land and 77 square miles (200 km²) of it (4.32%) is water.

El Dorado County contains the Desolation Wilderness, with Freel Peak as its highest point at 10,881 feet.

Cities and towns

Incorporated Cities

Communities over 10,000 population

Communities under 10,000 population

The county is also home to the Heavenly Ski Resort and the Sierra-At-Tahoe Ski Resort.

Adjacent counties

Transportation infrastructure

Major highways

Public transportation

  • runs local service in Placerville and surrounding areas (as far east as Pollock Pines). Commuter service into Sacramento and Folsom is also provided.
  • BlueGo is the transit operator for the South Lake Tahoe area. Service also runs into the state of Nevada.


General aviation airports are include: Placerville Airport, Georgetown Airport, Cameron Airpark and Lake Tahoe Airport.


Portions of El Dorado county are known to contain natural asbestos formations near the surface. The USGS studied amphiboles in rock and soil in the area in response to an EPA sampling study and subsequent criticism of the EPA study. The study found that many amphibole particles in the area meet the counting rule criteria used by the EPA for chemical and morphological limits, but do not meet morphological requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos. The executive summary pointed out that even particles that do not meet requirements for commercial-grade-asbestos may be a health threat and suggested a collaborative research effort to assess health risks associated with "Naturally Occurring Asbestos".

In 2003 after construction of the Oak Ridge High school soccer field, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that some student athletes, coaches and school workers received substantial exposures. The inside of Oak Ridge High School needed to be cleaned of dust.


External links

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