Many years since I had knowledge, by relation, of that mighty, rich, and beautiful empire of Guiana, and of that great and golden city, which the Spaniards call El Dorado, and the naturals Manoa, which city was conquered, re-edified, and enlarged by a younger son of Guayna-capac, Emperor of Peru, at such time as Francisco Pizarro and others conquered the said empire from his two elder brethren, Guascar and Atabalipa, both then contending for the same, the one being favoured by the orejones of Cuzco, the other by the people of Caxamalca.

Manco's success in securing such a place of refuge, and in using it as a base from which he could frequently annoy his enemies, led many of the Orejones of Cuzco to follow him. The Inca chiefs were called Orejones, "big ears," by the Spaniards because the lobes of their ears had been enlarged artificially to receive the great gold earrings which they were fond of wearing.

He then, as they knelt before him one by one, pierced their ears with a golden bodkin, which they continued to wear until the hole was made large enough to contain the enormous pendants worn by the Incas, which made the Spaniards call them 'Orejones. Indeed, as one of the conquerors remarked, 'The larger the hole, the more of a gentleman, and the sovereign wore so massive an ornament that the cartilage of his ear was distended by it nearly to the shoulder.

The novices then drew near, and, kneeling one by one before the Inca, he pierced their ears with a golden bodkin; and this was suffered to remain there till an opening had been made large enough for the enormous pendants which were peculiar to their order, and which gave them, with the Spaniards, the name of orejones.29 This ornament was so massy in the ears of the sovereign, that the cartilage was distended by it nearly to the shoulder, producing what seemed a monstrous deformity in the eyes of the Europeans, though, under the magical influence of fashion, it was regarded as a beauty by the natives.