Treasure of the Llanganatis

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The Treasure of the Llanganatis refers to a huge sum of worked gold and other treasures supposedly hidden deep within the Llanganatis mountain range of Ecuador by the Inca general Rumiñahui.

In 1532 Francisco Pizarro founded the town of San Miguel de Piura and began the conquest of the Inca Empire. Later in the same year, he captured the Inca king Atahualpa at Cajamarca. Atahualpa, seeing that the Spaniards cherished gold above all, promised to fill a room with gold in exchange for his freedom. Pizarro agreed to do this, although he likely had no intention to ever let Atahualpa leave. Before the room could be filled with gold, Pizarro's distrust of Atahualpa, and his influence over the many remaining Inca warriors, caused him to have the Inca garroted on July 26, 1533.

The legend holds that the Inca general Rumiñahui was on his way to Cajamarca with an enormous amount of worked gold for the ransom when he learned that Atahualpa had been murdered. The amount of gold varies with different versions of the legend, but all agree that on the news of Atahualpa's death, he returned to Quito and hauled the treasure up into the Llanganatis mountains. There he hid it, either in a cave, or by throwing it into a lake. Rumiñahui continued fighting against the Spanish, and though he was eventually captured and tortured, he never revealed the location of the treasure.


  • Steven J Charbonneau, Lust For Inca Gold: An Intriguing True Story of Exploration, Discovery, Murder, Espionage & Treasure
  • Peter Lourie, Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon: A Chronicle of an Incan Treasure
  • Richard Spruce, Notes of a Botanist on the Andes and Amazon
  • Pedro Cieza de León, The Discovery and Conquest of Peru
  • John Hemming, The Conquest of the Incas
  • Erskine Loch, Fever, Famine and Gold
  • Jorge Anhalzer, Llanganati
  • Hamish MacInnes, Beyond the Ranges
  • Rolf Blomberg, Buried Gold and Anacondas
  • Mark Honigsbaum, Valverde's Gold
  • Rob Rachowiecki and Betsy Wagenhauser, Climbing and Hiking in Ecuador
  • William H. Prescott, History of the Conquest of Peru
  • Garcilaso de la Vega, Comentarios Reales
  • Luciano Andrade Marin, Viaje a las Misteriosas Montanas de Llanganati
  • Walter Reltsick, Weg zum See

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