Guide to Gold and Buried Treasure: Maximillian of Mexico's Millions

About the Emperor of Mexico Maximillian and his millions in gold and jewels, the search for his lost treasure.


Maximilian's Millions

Emperor Maximilian of Mexico sent at least $5 million in gold, silver, and jewels out of Mexico when he learned that he was due to be deposed. His men were robbed and killed, and most of the treasure was buried in Castle gap, Tex.

How It Got There. During the U.S. Civil War, France began to get ideas about regaining some of its lost New World empire, and as a 1st step Napoleon III placed Maximilian, the Austrian archduke, on the Mexican throne. Maximilian had delusions of grandeur, and he and his wife, Carlota, arrived with their entire Austrian fortune. They immediately used their position to amass more.

The oppressive foreign ruler was despised by the Mexican peasants, and plots for his overthrow began almost before he arrived. The Emperor at length realized that if he wanted to live to a ripe age he had best find a more agreeable climate. First, though, he wanted to get his wealth out of the country.

It's not easy to be inconspicuous when you're moving $5 million in gold and jewelry through rural Mexico, but Maximilian had a plan. He had 4 trusted aides pack all his valuables in 45 flour barrels, and sprinkle a layer of flour on top. His aides and 15 faithful peons set out in a caravan for the north, and crossed into Texas near El Paso.

The caravan had escaped the Mexican patriots, but now it had to contend with the Mexican and American bandits that roamed the lawless Texas border country. A band of former Confederate soldiers warned the travelers just how dangerous the area was, and Maximilian's men hired the soldiers on the spot as guides and guards.

A few nights later curiosity got the better of one of the guards. He had to know why a caravan of flour needed so much protection. While the rest of the camp slept he discovered the secret. Maximilian's men didn't live to see daylight.

The soldiers knew that they'd never get all that gold past the other bandits in the area, so they stuffed their saddlebags with as much as they could carry, and buried the rest. There are various versions of just how many soldiers there were, and just how they died. It's agreed, however, that some of them were soon killed by other bandits, and none lived to recover their hidden treasure.

Previous Searches. One of the men died with a doctor in attendance, and he gasped out the story of the buried millions at Castle Gap. The doctor returned to look for it many years later, but found nothing. None of the landmarks on the map drawn by the dying outlaw matched anything that he could find. Yet it's certain that Maximilian's men were escorting a fabulous treasure, and that they were killed. The treasure has never been seen again.

How to Get There. By all accounts, the treasure is still hidden somewhere around Castle Gap, high in the King Mountains north of El Paso. Ask in El Paso how to find the gap. Be prepared for hot, dry, dusty mountain country.

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