Colombian writer, professor, diplomat, Arciniegas tells here of the German attempts to participate in the conquest and settlement of South America in the 16th century, which ""illustrates some amusing mishaps which occur to the haughty"". As financiers of the Castilian nobility, the powerful German banking houses of Fugger and Welser were able to participate in the Spanish conquistadoral ventures; more experienced in mailing, mining, barter, Germans were the captains of many Spanish-soldiered expeditions. But in spite of the fact that the Germans were given every opportunity, none succeeded. Among the leaders, Ehinger and Federmann, hard, cruel men, were defeated by favors, Indians, jungle and climate; Schmidl spent twenty aimless years in the interior; Hochermuth went from misadventure to calamity; von Huten's dream of El Dorado proved an illusion; and the Spaniards who came out of adventure rather than greed reaped far greater rewards. Historical ironies -- retold for the record with wit. Limited interest.