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Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Hidden Treasures of Nueva España PART 2

Bandeleros Continued...

The Banditos are often portrayed as thoughtless, ruthless and uncaring men, although not to be contended with, these native born Mexican Indians and some times Mexican born Spanish began to form organizations of men dedicated to the cause of cutting off the supply of wealth to Spain and accumulating the wealth in order to someday fund and rise up in a civil war against their oppressor. These men were of humble origins and of good character, they were artisans and mechanics of which membership of the growing organization was handed down from father to son, a membership viewed as a mark of honor and distinction. These men were bound by strict oaths of allegiance and secrecy, and if required they were prepared to lay down their lives for the cause. By the time of the end of the 17th century, these bands of men were equally established and distributed, having been assigned to the many places throughout New Spain and along the many Caminos Real or Royal roads established in the land and leading to the many ports of export.

By the 17th century, the primary secret headquarters of the organization of Banditos was located in San Luis Potosi which may have been known at that time as San Luis de Mezquitique. Many a mule train loaded with gold and silver passed through this community on its way to Mexico which were made up of shipments from both Royal expeditions and private expeditions funded by Nobles of Spain. Shipments by way of caravan came for nearly 300 years from as far North as Garazona, El Alto, San Dimas and Topia and many other places such as El Pilar, Gavilanes, Tal yal ta, El Naran jal, Metalitos, the great mines of Sonora and Tahuaheto all on their way along the Royal roads heading for Mexico or some port for export. The objective of the organized Banditos was to intercept as many of the shipments as possible and wherever possible, to cut off the supplies to Spain and to accumulate the wealth needed in order to fund a civil war. The Banditos lived off of their own trade as other citizens of the states and were allowed to take of the smaller wealth of coins carried by many of the soldiers they killed. The Banditos did not live off of the spoils of vast treasure in lavish comfort as thought by so many.

The Banditos were in a bit of a conflict which at times upset their plans; majorities of the Banditos were for several generations converted Catholics and as a result they tried to avoid shipments intended as tithing. One of their final robberies in the late 1780s after the slaughter of 85 men, the Captain of the Banditos band discovered that a large part of the shipment was for the purpose of tithing. From that day on, they thought that they had been cursed and within the next 20 to 30 years, the majority of the Banditos had been captured and executed while only a few escaped. The efforts of the Count of Branciforte, owner of many shipments robbed and General Barron de Villamoco, Lord and owner of the great mines of Sonora, Baja California, and Tamazula, made much effort to eliminate the existence of these Banditos once and for all. Each of the Captains at some time before their death seem to have written their account of robberies, passing this information of wealth down and remaining within the families. At times in the past, these thought to be non existent documents, occasionally make their way to private hands. One of the last of these surviving captains had written such an account in September of 1839 describing the activities that had taken place since the early 1600's.

The paths robbed were many during the 300 years of Spanish pilferage, Royal roads from the famous mines of the North including Nayarit, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Jalisco and Zacatecas. Shipments from these places often were sent to Mexico and then to the port of Veracruz. At other times, they were sent through Tepic and down to San Blas. Due to the many bands of Banditos which were established along the many roads, there became numerous primary cache sites because of the vast treasures which were accumulated for these 300 years. These caches developed fame and rumor of their existence: a fame that drives many treasure hunters of all walks today to search for these places. Many of the treasure stories in Mexico are primarily of these many robberies of the Banditos whereas here in the north it is primarily Spanish Cache sites, sites in which the Spanish cached their surplus that could not be shipped for some restrictive reason, this is not to say however that there is not many sites where in the Native tribes of the north did not rob and kill those of the many expeditions, and dispose of it in some unknown location.

There are many Bandito hoards along the many roads worthy of mention, cache sites such as the Caves of Picacho, which had been contributed to since as early as 1605, the cache sites at Mesa Dinero, Trigo, Remudadero, Magos, Blanco Cuevecillas, El Durazno, and Falso, but none had the level of fame of the gold and silver that had been accumulated at Majoma. So great was the accumulation of treasure at Majoma that it is said that it exceeded all the others combined. It is rumored that it resides in a natural cavern in which the earliest of the Captains of the Banditos vowed to fill it with the spoils from the Spanish shipments and with Gold only, the Silver was to be placed elsewhere nearby: a goal that was finally realized in about 1780 in which the overflow had to be located in shallow trenches nearby. Many cache sites described by the Bandito Captains in their final words have been handed down to the descendants of those who wrote those words. Many never sought after the hordes which were left behind largely because of the belief of a curse, and the knowledge of many of the place names were eventually lost and forgotten... 

To be continued.... in

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