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The White City of Honduras: a lost city with macabre mysteries and controversies

The White City of Honduras: a lost city with macabre mysteries and controversies 1

White City: a legendary lost city of an unknown civilization. The Indians consider it a cursed land, full of dangerous deities and is known as City of Honduras

The White City is a mythical lost city in the middle of an impenetrable jungle in eastern Honduras, with white buildings and golden effigies of a monkey god. In 2015 controversy was generated over the alleged discovery of its ruins. The story presents macabre mysteries as strange deaths of its explorers. For the Pech Indians, the city was built by gods and is cursed. Another related folklore speaks of arcane deities half human and half spirit.

The citadel is also known as “City of the Monkey God .” It is presumed that it would be found in the La Mosquitia region, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras.

White City: Brief review of the legend

Illustration of Virgil Finlay about the lost city, 1940 City of Honduras
Illustration of Virgil Finlay about the lost city, 1940 (Public-domain).

The history of the White City dates back to legends of the Pech Indians, who describe it as a city with gigantic columns and white stone walls. It would have been built by the gods, who would have cut the colossal stones. According to the Pech Indians, the city was abandoned due to a “spell” made by a powerful Indian.

The Payas Indians of Honduras also speak of the sacred city of Kaha Kamasa, dedicated to the monkey god. It would include effigies of monkeys and the giant golden statue of a monkey god.

The legend was accentuated at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Hernán Cortés realized her, including references to a large amount of gold in the citadel. He explored the jungle, but never found the White City.

Theodore Morde’s exploration and his unexpected death (murder?)

Article by Theodore Morde published on September 22, 1940 in The American Weekly City of Honduras
Article by Theodore Morde published on September 22, 1940, in The American Weekly. Courtesy

Theodore Morde was a prominent explorer who, in 1939, entered the jungle of La Mosquitia to search for the White City. According to Morde, he did find the citadel, and it would have been the very capital of the Chorotegas, a tribe older than the Maya:

At the entrance was built a pyramid with two columns at its sides. In the right column an ​​image of a spider and in the left that of a crocodile. At the top of the pyramid carved in stone, a colossal statue of a monkey with an altar for sacrifices before made in the temple.

Morde found the walls covered by vegetation, but in good condition. The Chorotegas were “very skilled in stonework,” so it is very likely that they had built quite there in the Mosquitia.

Something unusual is that Morde compares the prehistoric Mono-God with Hanuman , a monkey deity of Hindu mythology. He said they were very similar!

Theodore Morde
Theodore Morde. Credit: The American Weekly / Wikimedia commons.

The explorer also speaks of the so-called «Dance of the Dead Monkeys», a sinister religious ritual performed by (or performed) by the natives of the region. The ritual is unpleasant because monkeys are hunted and then burned. According to the indigenous mythology, the monkeys are descendants of the ulaks, beings half human and half spirit, with the appearance of corpulent man-monkey. The monkeys were ritually killed to scare away these dangerous beings (they would still live in the jungle, according to folklore).

Something sad is that Morde did not receive more funding to continue investigating and, strangely, dies in a traffic accident. His death has been the subject of conspiracy theories about a murder executed by the authorities ( what dangerous mystery will there be in the White City to kill a potential discoverer? ).

The alleged finding made by National Geographic (City of Honduras)

Copan Ruins in Honduras, reference image City of Honduras
Copan Ruins in Honduras, referential image. Courtesy:

In February 2015, National Geographic publishes that the ruins of the White City had been discovered. However, this news is considered as misleading (has been criticized by various experts). If it were the legendary lost city, it should have contained some symbol of the legend, such as the great golden monkey (they haven’t found it). What was found must have been another the numerous ruins of the Mosquitia.

The White City of Honduras remains a mystery, despite that latest controversial discovery by National Geographic. It could be just a legend, but the natives describe it in a very vivid way. Explorations from the twentieth century have revealed many archeological ruins throughout the Honduran Mosquitia.

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