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The Robin Hood of El Dorado

Material Information

Title:
The Robin Hood of El Dorado
Series Title:
This week in history
Creator:
Castro, Richard T.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
Richard T. Castron
Publication Date:
Language:
English

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Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
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Copyright [name of copyright holder or Creator or Publisher as appropriate]. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Full Text
This Week In History
"The Robin Hood of El Dorado" by
Richard Castro
On May 17, 1853, Governor John Bigler created the California Rangers, patterned after the notorious Texas rangers, to capture Joaquin Murieta, a Mexican guerrilla fighter and folk hero, Less
THAN A YEAR LATER A $5,000 REWARD WAS PAID TO THE LEADER OF THE
Rangers, Captain Harry S, Love, for shooting and killing Murieta
AND HIS SIDE KICK "THREE FINGERED JACK," THUS ENDED A TWO YEAR REIN OF TERROR THAT MURIETA AND HIS MEN HAD VENT UPON ANGLO MINERS WHO STREAMED INTO CALIFORNIA FOLLOWING THE END OF THE MEXICAN WAR AND THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD BY FRANCISCO LOPEZ IN SANTA FELICIANA
Canyon,
The story of Joaquin Murieta is an example of what confronted Hispanic miners and settlers following the Mexican War of 1846-1848,
AND HOW MOST LOST PRECIOUS LAND IN CALIFORNIA, THE EARLY HISPANIC SETTLERS WHO HAD SETTLED THE REGION IN THE EARLY 1700'S WERE CALLED
Californios,
Following the acquisition of California by the United States,
RELATIONS BETWEEN YANKEE SETTLERS AND CALIFORNIOS WERE QUITE GOOD, The RIGHTS OF BOTH SPANISH AND MEXICANS IN THE STATE WERE RESPECTED AND TITLES TO THEIR LAND GRANTS WERE GENERALLY RECOGNIZED BY U.S.


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LAND COMMISSIONERS AND BY THE COURTS, THIS IS OFTEN FORGOTTEN
BECAUSE OF THE WAVE OF NATIONALISM; RACISM AND LYNCHING THAT FOLLOWED,
The change began shortly after the discovery of gold and the
ARRIVAL OF THOUSANDS OF MINERS FROM MEXICO; PERU AND CHILE, OTHER EARLY ARRIVALS INCLUDED MANY U.S. VETERANS OF THE MEXICAN WAR WHO
HAD SETTLED IN NEARBY FRONTIER STATES, IT WAS INEVITABLE THAT
FRICTIONS WOULD DEVELOP, ESPECIALLY AS THE GOLD SUPPLY DWINDLED AND THE NUMBER OF YANKEE GOLD SEEKERS INCREASED. MANY YANKEES TOOK THE ATTITUDE THAT AS CONQUERORS THEY NEED NOT SHARE THE GOLDEN BOUNTY OF THE NEW STATE WITH THE CONQUERED, THE "FOREIGNER." IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT IN THAT PERIOD THE WORD FOREIGNER WAS USED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN RELATION TO NEW COMERS FROM MEXICO, PERU AND
CHile, and later to those from China,
"The Mexicans," writes Walter Noble Burns, "who poured into California during the gold rush, were still inflamed with
anti-American prejudices engendered during the Mexican War. Their
ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE AMERICANS WAS HOSTILE, IN RETURN THE AMERICANS REGARDED THEM AS SECRET ENEMIES AND TREATED THEM WITH FRANK
contempt." One of the first acts of the California legislature
WAS THE ADOPTION OF A FOREIGN-MINERS TAX WHICH WAS AIMED SPECIFICALLY AT ELIMINATING THE COMPETITION OF MEXICAN MINERS,
Shortly after this act was passed, a mob of two thousand American
MINERS DESCENDED ON SONORA, "FIRING AT EVERY MEXICAN IN SIGHT,"
The camp was burned to the ground and a hundred or more Mexicans
WERE ROUNDED UP AND DRIVEN INTO A CORRAL. DURING THE WEEK THE RIOT-


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ING LASTED , SCORES OF MEXICANS WERE LYNCHED AND MURDERED, IN THE WAKE OF THE RIOTS, MOST OF THE MEXICANS ABANDONED THEIR CLAIMS AND FLED TO THE SPAN ISH-SPEAKING COUNTIES IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE
state, One of these former miners, Joaquin Murieta, became the
LEADER OF A FAMOUS BAND OF MEXICANS.
Murieta became one of California's foremost folk legends.
John Ridge, a writer for the San Francisco Pioneer wrote that
Murieta was a peace-loving miner, expelled from his diggings by lawless Yankees. "For no good reason," Ridge reported, "they tied
HIM TO A TREE AND WHIPPED HIM, RAPED AND KILLED HIS WIFE, AND HUNG
HIS BROTHER," DRIVEN BY THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE, MURIETA WAGED A
TWO YEAR BATTLE UP AND DOWN THE CALIFORNIA COAST AGAINST ALL
Yankees. He and his men were credited with killing hundreds of Anglo
MINERS AND SETTLERS IN AN ATTEMPT TO REVENGE THE LYNCHINGS AND BEATING OF HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMEN,
Captain Love and his California Rangers chased the phantom
BANDIT ALL OVER CALIFORNIA, IN THE LAST WEEK OF JULY, LOVE'S MEN FLUSHED OUT A GROUP OF SUSPICIOUS-LOOKING HORSEMEN AT PANOCHE PASS AND IN A LAVISH GUNFIGHT, KILLED TWO OF THEM, CONVINCED THAT
THE DEAD PAIR WERE JOAQUIN MURIETA AND HIS LIUTENANT, THREE FINGERED FINGERED JACK GARCIA, THE RANGERS HACKED OFF THE HEAD OF MURIETA
AND THE HAND OF GARCIA AND BOTTLED THEM IN ALCOHOL PROVIDED BY THE SURGEON AT FORT MILLER, THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE AFTER VIEWING THE HEAD GAVE CAPTAIN LOVE $5,000 FOR HIS REWARD,


Joaquin's head, the prize trophy of the struggle with the folk
HERO AND HIS MEN, BECAME A MUSEUM PIECE IN SAN FRANCISCO, IN 1856, ITS OWNER TOOK IT ON A WORLD TOUR, EXPECTING TO REAP $50,000 PROFIT, AND THEN BROUGHT IT HOME. IN A GENERATION ATTUNED TO P.T. BARNUM'S FREAK SHOWS OR BUFFALO BILL'S INDIAN SCALP COLLECTION, THE PICKLED HEAD REMAINED A POPULAR DISPLAY IN A SAN FRANCISCO SALOON, ONLY TO VANISH IN THE RUBBLE OF THE 1906 EARTHQUAKE.
"The career of Joaquin Murieta vividly shows that there., is
NOTHING SO DANGEROUS IN THE ITS CONSEQUENCES AS INJUSTICE' TO INDIVIDUALS - WHETHER IT DERIVES FROM PREJUDICE OF COLOR OR ANY OTHER SOURCE; THAT WRONG DONE TO ONE MAN ISA WRONG DONE TO SOCIETY AND THE WORLD", WROTE JOHN RlDGE IN HIS BOOK "THE LIFE AND
Adventures of Joaquin Murieta."
Richard Castro, Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Relations


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Full Text

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.. . . THIS WEEK IN HISTORY uTHE RoBIN HooD oF EL DoRADou BY RICHARD CASTRO ON MAY 17 I 1853 I GOVERNOR JOHN BIGLER CREATED THE CALIFORNIA RANGERS, PATTERNED AFTER THE NOTORIOUS TEXAS RANGERS, TO CAPTURE JOAQUIN MURIETA, A MEXICAN GUERRILLA FIGHTER AND FOLK HERO. LESS THAN A YEAR LATER A $5,000 REWARD WAS PAID TO THE LEADER OF THE '' RANGERS I CAPTAIN HARRY s I LOVE I FOR SHOOTING AND KILLING MUR 1 ETA AND HIS SIDE KICK uTHREE FINGERED JACK," THUS ENDED A TWO YEAR R E I N OF TERROR THAT MURIETA AND HIS MEN HAD VENT UPON ANGLO MINERS WHO STREAMED INTO CAL I FORNI A FOLLOWING THE END OF THE MEXICAN WAR AND THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD BY FRANCISCO LOPEZ IN SANTA FELI C I ANA CANYON, THE STORY OF JOAQUIN MURIETA IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT CONFRONTED HISPANIC MINERS AND SETTLERS FOLLOWING THE MEXICAN WAR OF 1846-1848, AND HOW MOST LOST PRECIOUS LAND IN CALIFORNIA, THE EARLY HISPANIC S ETTLERS WHO HAD SETTLED THE REGION IN THE EARLY 1700's WERE CALIFORNIOS, FOLLOWING THE ACQUISITION OF CALIFORNIA BY THE UNITED STATES, RELATIONS BETWEEN YANKEE SETTLERS AND CAL I FORNI OS WERE QUITE GOOD, THE RIGHTS OF BOTH SPANISH AND MEXICANS IN THE STATE WERE RESPECTED AND TITLES TO THEIR LAND GRANTS WERE GENERALLY RECOGNIZED BY U.S,

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. . -2 -LAND COMMISSIONERS AND BY THE COURTS. THIS IS OFTEN FORGOTTEN BECAUSE OF THE WAVE OF NATIONALISM, RACISM AND LYNCHING THAT FOLLOWED. THE CHANGE BI;GAN SHORTLY AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD AND THE ARRIVAL OF THOUSANDS OF MINERS FROM MEXICO, PERU AND CHILE. OTHER EARLY ARRIVALS INCLUDED MANY U.S. VETERANS OF THE MEXICAN WAR WHO HAD SETTLED IN NEARBY FRONTIER STATES, IT WAS INEVITABLE THAT FRICTIONS WOULD DEVELOP, ESPECIALLY AS THE GOLD SUPPLY DWINDLED AND THE NUMBER OF YANKEE GOLD SEEKERS INCREASED. MANY YANKEES TOOK THE ATTITUDE THAT AS CONQUERORS THEY NEED NOT SHARE THE GOLDEN BOUNTY OF THE NEW STATE wITH THE CONQUERED I THE II FOREIGNER I II IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT IN THAT PER I OD THE WORD FOREIGNER WAS USED ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN RELATION TO NEW COMERS FROM MEXICO, PERU AND CHILE, AND LATER TO THOSE FROM CHINA. "THE MEXICANS.11 WRITES WALTER NOBLE BURNS, POURED INTO CALIFORNIA DURING THE GOLD RUSH, WERE STILL INFLAMED WITH ANTI-AMERICAN PREJUDICES ENGENDERED DURING THE MEXICAN WAR. THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE AMERICANS WAS HOSTILE, IN RETURN THE AMERICANS REGARDED THEM AS SECRET ENEMIES AND TREATED THEM WITH FRANK CONTEMPT," ONE OF THE FIRST ACTS OF THE . CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE WAS THE ADOPTION OF A FORtiGN-MINERS TAX WHICH WAS AIMED SPECIFICALLY AT THE COMPETITION OF MEXICAN MINERS, SHORTLY AFTER THIS 1cT WAS PASSED, A MOB OF TWO THOUSAND AMERICAN MINERS DESCENDED ON SONORA, "FIRING AT EVERY MEXICAN IN SIGHT, 11 THE CAMP WAS BURNED TO THE GROUND AND A HUNDRED OR MORE MEXICANS WERE ROUNDED UP AND INTO A CORRAL. DURING THE WEEK THE RIOT-

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'' • -3 -I NG LASTED, SCORES OF MEXICANS WERE LYNCHED AND MURDERED, IN THE WAKE OF THE RIOTS, MOST OF THE MEXICANS ABANDONED THEIR CLAIMS AND FLED TO THE SPANISH-SPEAKING COUNTIES IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE STATE. ONE OF THESE FORMER MINERS, JOAQUIN MURIETA, BECAME THE LEADER OF A FAMOUS BAND OF MEXICANS. MURIETA BECAME ONE OF CAL I FORNI A 1 S FOREMOST FOLK LEGENDS, JOHN RIDGE, A WRITER FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO PIONEER WROTE THAT MURIETA WAS A PEACE-LOVING MINER, EXPELLED FROM HIS DIGGINGS BY .. LAWLESS YANKEES. "FOR NO GOOD REASON," RIDGE REPORTED, "THEY .TIED HIM TO A TREE AND WHIPPED HIM, RAPED AND KILLED HIS WIFE, AND HUNG HIS BROTHER," DRIVEN BY THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE, MURIETA WAGED A TWO YEAR BATTLE UP AND DOWN THE CALIFORNIA COAST AGAINST ALL YANKEES. HE AND HIS MEN WERE CREDITED WITH KILLING HUNDREDS OF ANGLO MINERS AND SETTLERS IN AN ATTEMPT TO REVENGE THE LYNCHINGS AND BEATING OF HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMEN, CAPTAIN LOVE AND HIS CALIFORNIA RANGERS CHASED THE PHANTOM. BANDIT ALL OVER CAL I FORNI A, IN THE LAST WEEK oF JuLY, LovE Is MEN FLUSHED OUT A GROUP OF SUSPICIOUS-LOOKING HORSEMEN AT PANOCHE PASS AND IN A LAVISH GUNFIGHT, KILLED TWO OF THEM. CONVINCED THAT THE DEAD PAIR WERE JOAQUIN MURIETA AND HIS LIUTENANT, THREE FINGERED FINGERED JACK GARCIA, THE RANGERS HACKED OFF THE HEAD OF MURIETA AND THE HAND OF GARCIA AND BOTTLED THEM IN ALCOHOL PROVIDED BY THE SURGEON AT FORT MILLER. THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE AFTER THE HEAD GAVE CAPTAIN LOVE $5,000 FOR HIS REWARD,

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,... -4 JOAQUIN'S HEAD, THE PRIZE TROPHY OF THE STRUGGLE WITH THE FOLK HERO AND HIS MEN, BECAME A MUSEUM PIECE IN SAN FRANCISCO. IN 1856, ITS OWNER TOOK IT ON A WORLD TOUR, EXPECTING TO REAP $50,000 PROFIT, AND THEN BROUGHT IT HOME. IN A GENERATION ATTUNED TO P.T. BARNUM'S FREAK SHOWS OR BUfFALO BILL'S INDIAN SCALP COLLECTION, THE PICKLED HEAD REMAINED A POPULAR DISPLAY IN A SAN FRANCISCO SALOON, ONLY TO VANISH IN THE RUBBLE OF THE 1906 EARTHQUAKE. "THE CAREER OF JOAQUIN MURIETA VIVIDLY SHOWS THAT THER.E. : IS NOTHING SO DANGEROUS IN THE ITS CONSEQUENCES AS INJUSTICE TO INDIVIDUALS -WHETHER IT DERIVES FROM PREJUDICE OF COLOR OR ANY OTHER SOURCE; THAT WRONG DONE TO ONE MAN IS A WRONG DONE TO SOCIETY AND THE WORLD", WROTE JOHN RIDGE IN HIS BOOK "THE lIFE AND OF JOAQUIN MURIETA." RICHARD CASTRO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE AGENCY FOR HUMAN AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

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-I 1n1• Joaquin! I dare you to 11hoot%-