The Fabled 'White City' Discovered

Mar 21, 2015 By Deepa Gopal
Deepa Gopal's picture

Locals in the region would speak of an undiscovered city, deep inside the Mosquitia jungle in Honduras. A city with white walls that they called "La Ciudad Blanca."

Since the 1920s, several attempts have been made to find this lost city. Then in 1940, Theodore Morde - an eccentric explorer, led an expedition into the dense forests of eastern Honduras with a colleague, Laurence Brown.

When Morde and Brown returned, they claimed to have discovered an ancient civilization that worshipped a Monkey God. In fact, local indigenous people had told them about a temple dedicated to the monkey god buried underground. What made it even more fascinating were legends that the ape had bred with humans to create half-human, half-monkey children!

Morde brought back thousands of artifacts as proof of his discovery. He passed away before he could lead another expedition.

The Recent Discovery

Archeologists from the U.S and Honduras led a joint expedition into La Mosquitia recently. The Mosquito Coast was once home to the Miskite kingdom, and is now inhabited by many local tribes. With dense tropical forests and swamps, the only access to this area by air and water. This is why the team had two British SAS officers trained in survival skills. 

The expedition was launched after archeologists had proof of a hidden city, thanks to a technology known as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). We had written here about how LIDAR was used to uncover an ancient city in Asia. This sophisticated mapping technology uses a laser mounted on a plane to map the terrain. The light pulses from the LIDAR had revealed man-made structures along the river. 

The team found the tops of 52 artifacts peeking out of the ground, including possible burial sites. The items include stone ceremonial seats and finely carved vessels decorated with snakes and vultures. The most fascinating find was the head of a "were-jaguar" which may have been used by a shaman (people who practice magic). The team has not disclosed the exact location of the ruins for fear of it being looted.

Preserving For The Future

It is well-known that the Maya lived in western Honduras, and Copan was a major city.

The Mayan civilization reached its peak between 750-800 AD, but somewhere in the 9th century, it started to decline. The once great city of Copan was abandoned and overrun by the jungle, but its people continued to live in the region. The people who lived in this newly discovered city were different and may have been the ancestors of tribes that live today.

Archeologists also believe that there wasn't any city called La Ciudad Blanca - inst,ead it may have referred to a collection of settlements. While more expeditions will continue in the region, the area is under threat from deforestation. Honduras is the largest exporter of beef and ranchers are clearing forests illegally for their cattle ranches.

Courtesy National Geographic


S9E9r's picture
S9E9r November 29, 2015 - 9:23am
That's so cool! A lost civilisation! Think of it! What did they wear? What did they eat? Did they fight wars with over Civilisations? It's SO cool!
haydenb2's picture
haydenb2 April 6, 2015 - 5:14pm

I think i herd about this before...

nayelig2's picture
nayelig2 April 2, 2015 - 2:02pm

I would have never guessed that people used to worship monkeys. Now days it is very weird or unique. Because we are not used to it.

charlesr2's picture
charlesr2 April 2, 2015 - 1:21pm

I found this article very interesting. I find it cool and kind of weird that people used to worship monkeys. Can you imagine what it would be like if we still worshiped monkeys?

nayelir's picture
nayelir April 2, 2015 - 8:51am

I didn't know people worshiped monkeys either, did you? I find this really weird but cool at the same time.

nayelig2's picture
nayelig2 April 2, 2015 - 2:00pm

Yes I agree that is definitely different. And I did not know that people use to worship monkeys. But it is cool to know that.

coltonw2's picture
coltonw2 April 1, 2015 - 1:56pm

wow I never knew people worshiped monkeys and it is just strange that the monkey bred with people. Its really cool that they found this lost city Its to bad it got overrun by jungles

jamesr3's picture
jamesr3 April 1, 2015 - 1:06pm

Dude i love it when they find new things like that but you would also think that they could find things like that earlier because of all the people on earth.

makenzieb's picture
makenzieb April 1, 2015 - 1:02pm

I think that is so cool! The Mayan people fascinate me, and I think it is amazing that we have developed technology able to scan an area and show what is there.

nyahc's picture
nyahc April 2, 2015 - 9:26am

I think that the Mayan people are also cool! It would be cool to find a hidden tribe in the wilderness and learn from them.

jolenen's picture
jolenen April 1, 2015 - 12:55pm

I think that they should have a documentary about places like this. its very interesting, i would love to sometime be able to visit White City and see if i could find something from along time ago.

colbya2's picture
colbya2 April 1, 2015 - 12:17pm

That's a cool thing to find. I hope that they might find more about it and see what else they did. The monkey god is a little bit weird though.

krisc's picture
krisc April 1, 2015 - 9:14am

It's a little creepy that no one found this city before, but it is cool and what is really cool is that they found out that they worshiped a monkey god.

nyahc's picture
nyahc April 1, 2015 - 9:07am

This article was really interesting because it is a new discovery. It would be neat to find a place like that even though it would be hard in such a big land. I would love to go visit there in the future if it ever becomes tourist like.

charlesr2's picture
charlesr2 April 2, 2015 - 1:23pm

I agree with you nyah. I think that this new discovery is really cool. I would also love to visit it in the future if they ever let in tourists.

justinc5's picture
justinc5 April 1, 2015 - 9:04am

This is really interesting how they use this technology to find the White City. It's like an Indiana jones movie in real life!

dillonw's picture
dillonw April 1, 2015 - 8:23am

This really cool, but also a bit weird at the same time. I think that the people that worshiped the monkey or apes are the ones that built these monkey statues. This reminds me of the movie planet of apes.

austins6's picture
austins6 April 1, 2015 - 8:19am

I think that this " fabled white city" is indeed a amazing place for people to visit but it is in a dangerous part of the world and it will be hard to visit.

brandonh2's picture
brandonh2 April 1, 2015 - 8:19am

It is creepy but it would be cool to go there someday do you think you would ever want to go there?

makenzieb's picture
makenzieb April 1, 2015 - 1:03pm

I would love to go there someday! It would be such an amazing adventure! It seems like a very neat place.

sidneem's picture
sidneem April 1, 2015 - 8:17am

I think this article is really cool and interesting. Do you think that there are many other lost cities to be discovered? Where do you think that they are?

noahh2's picture
noahh2 April 1, 2015 - 8:15am

Its really cool how they found a city in the middle of the jungle with white walls also how they cant reveal it for fear of being looted. Also why would people mate with monkeys to make half human half monkey kids?

diamondh4's picture
diamondh4 April 1, 2015 - 7:40am

I think that's a little crazy but cool. the crazy part is that they think a monkey repopulated with a human and created a half human half monkey that's just crazy.
the cool part is they found an old city that is apparently under ground. What do you think the crazy part is? What do you think the cool part is?

jolenen's picture
jolenen April 1, 2015 - 12:57pm

I personally think that the crazy part is that the apes would not be aggressive toward the humans. Also i think the cool part is that they found all this old stuff that's hasn't been touched in centuries.I would love to be able to find stuff like this.

erikr's picture
erikr March 31, 2015 - 12:18pm

that is so awesome that they found that city in the jungle and it had white walls this a awesome story and creepy

austins6's picture
austins6 April 1, 2015 - 8:23am

I don't know how you think this a creepy story because it isn't creepy its informative.

rylanm3's picture
rylanm3 March 31, 2015 - 9:20am

This is crazy how they are finding parts if the white city! It is a little creepy on how they all thought there was no city called La Ciudad Blanca and then they found it!

krisc's picture
krisc April 1, 2015 - 9:15am

I agree with you Rylan. It is pretty crazy that they are finding these so far into the future. I'm surprised more people didn't find them before

justinc5's picture
justinc5 April 1, 2015 - 9:03am

Yeah, I find it weird how we haven't discovered it until now. But it's really cool to see that this city did exist after all.

tylerh7's picture
tylerh7 March 31, 2015 - 9:20am

I think this is really cool that we just now discovered it. I also think that it is cool because of how old it is!

domanich's picture
domanich March 31, 2015 - 8:35am

That is way cool that would be intense finding a lost city specially one that people worshiped monkeys!

nyahc's picture
nyahc April 1, 2015 - 9:10am

Yeah I think it is super cool that they found a lost city and that it was a big finding. It is also cool that the people here worshiped an animal.

elizabethv2's picture
elizabethv2 March 31, 2015 - 8:27am

I think this article was cool and that there are probably lots of other places like this out there. Although this is the first time I have read about one that worships monkeys or apes. Do you think there are many places like this out there?

nutsag's picture
nutsag March 30, 2015 - 12:09am

what is that?

elizabethv2's picture
elizabethv2 March 31, 2015 - 8:29am

If you are asking about one of the pictures, I think the one of the ape is a statue. Since these people worshiped apes or monkeys they probably made statues f them too. Do think that is what this picture is of?

delfinas's picture
delfinas March 27, 2015 - 7:49am

that's a really cool story its also kinda creepy but yeah still cool.

rylanm3's picture
rylanm3 March 31, 2015 - 9:21am

I agree with you about it being creepy! But it would still be cool to visit some history in the making haha!

tylerh7's picture
tylerh7 March 31, 2015 - 9:21am

I agree, it is kind of creepy, but it would be a very cool place to visit. How long do you think it will be available to visit?

andrewe's picture
andrewe March 26, 2015 - 12:58pm


El-Miracle Akpan's picture
El-Miracle Akpan March 25, 2015 - 11:47am


aston's picture
aston March 25, 2015 - 8:03am

That is a little creepy but awesome!

Tryn28's picture
Tryn28 March 24, 2015 - 8:06am
cool and uncool