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 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.
One version of the legend holds that the Inca general Rumiñahui was on his way to Cajamarca with an estimated 750 tons of worked gold for the ransom when he learned that Atahualpa had been murdered. Most scholars however believe that this is a wild over-estimation. The only mention of a specific amount in any records is by Spanish soldier Pedro Cieza de Leon who quotes '300 cargas'. A carga is the amount that a single man could carry over long distances and is estimated at no more than 50lbs which would make the entire hoard under seven metric tons.
The legend says that he returned to Quito (which at that time was the name of the territory nowadays called Ecuador), hauled the treasure up into the Llanganatis mountain range and threw 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.
People have searched for the treasure over the last five hundred years and many have come to unfortunate ends resulting in the belief that it is cursed. The legend was popularised in the English-speaking world when the botanist Richard Spruce discovered Valverde's Derrotero and a map drawn by an Ecuadorian by the name of Don Atanasio Guzman, and published this information in the Journal of Royal Geographical Society in 1860.
Many believe that the treasure was located and removed in the late 18th century by Antonio Pastor y Marin de Segura, although no proof of this, or of the existence of the treasure in the first place, has ever surfaced.