Treasure Seekers: Lost Cities of the Inca

Genre: Documentary


For centuries home of the high

civilizations of the Andes.

Here the Sun Kings of the Inca

ruled over a vast empire,

which stretched for 2,000 miles along

the mountain spine of South America.

In 1532, that empire was destroyed

with tragic ease by the Spanish.

As their world crumbled around them,

Inca nobles retreated into the remote

recesses of the mountains.

There they struggled to keep alive

their culture in its final refuge.

The last city of the Incas


This is the story of two men

lured by the silent call of that

last Inca hiding place.

One to rediscover it

the other to destroy it forever.

Machu Picchu.

For centuries, this spectacular

Inca citadel lay forgotten,

hidden by the plunging ravines

and coiling mists of the mountain

cloud forest.

The year is 1948.

Machu Picchu is visited by

a retired American senator

a man, who in his youth,

revealed it to the world.

He has done many things in

his remarkable life,

but Hiram Bingham knows

he will be remembered for one:

this astonishing archeological


Hiram Bingham is a sort of

accidental archeologist.

He's been scorned by better trained


but he really doesn't care

he's used to coping with bad press.

Back in Washington he'd been elected

a Republican senator

in the Roaring Twenties.

His flamboyant style was perfectly

in tune with the times.

A bribery scandal, an affair with

the wife of another Congressman,

divorce, accusations that he'd

embezzled his first wife's fortune

had all left him unscathed.

In 1929, he landed a Zeppelin

on Capitol Hill as a publicity stunt.

Hiram loved headlines.

He was a very, very colorful


a man of enormous energy,

tremendous ambition.

He was capable of doing almost

anything, and he had an attitude

that led him to believe he could

accomplish whatever he set out to do.

Perhaps Hiram's adventurous life was

the perfect reaction to his upbringing.

Born to pioneering Christian

missionaries in the Hawaiian Islands,

Hiram was raised for a life of

Puritan austerity.

In the world of his childhood,

any extravagance,

lack of discipline, even dancing

were strictly forbidden.

Not surprisingly,

Hiram was eager to escape.

Resourceful and intelligent,

he saved and studied to get into

school on the mainland.

Before long, he was headed for Yale.

Hiram threw himself into

Yale college life.

Gone were the puritanical days

of his Hawaiian childhood.

Suddenly, a new world of temptations

was beckoning.

Intellectual excitement, adventure,

and girls.

Dear Mother, what can I do?

I know it will hurt you

to think that I dance,

but people here in the East do not

understand why

anyone should not dance,

unless one is sick or lame.

I can see nothing wrong with it

unless carried to excess.

Although reserved, Hiram was

determined to enjoy himself.

Thanks to his charm,

he was soon moving freely in this

atmosphere of wealth and privilege.

Before long, he met Alfreda Mitchell,

heiress to the Tiffany fortune.

Alfreda was irresistible, wealthy,

and from the high society

Hiram was now determined to be

a part of.

In 1900,

two years after they first met,

Hiram and Freda were married at the

Mitchell's grand estate in New London.

Hiram took to wealth like a duck to

water but there was a down side.

There was obviously an economic


The wife brought with her a set

of expectations

about the style in which

she should live,

and her side of the family was

apparently very active

in making sure that those

expectations were met.

He liked the money and status,

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    "Treasure Seekers: Lost Cities of the Inca" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 24 Oct. 2020. <>.

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