In 1541 Gonzalo Pizarro together with his nephew Francisco de Orellana gathered about 350 soldiers and 4000 Indians, and set out to look for the elusive city. After attacks from hostile natives, hunger, disease, and desertions Pizarro quit, but ordered Orellana to continue his journey. Orellana continued and ended up following the course of the Amazon River until he eventually made it to the Atlantic Ocean.
So in 1618 Raleigh set out for the Americas. Raleigh encountered hostile Spaniards, hostile natives and hostile monsters from a tribe of headless, club-wielding warriors with eyes and mouths on their torsos. Raleigh had clearly lost his head, and when he returned to England empty-handed, King James ensured that he did.
*The first in a four part series on The Search for El Dorado.