Guide to Gold and Buried Treasure: Montezuma's Lost Caravan Part 1

About Montezuma's Lost Treasure Caravan filled with gold and jewels, history and information on the Aztec ruler and Cortes.

MEXICAN GOLD: I

Montezuma's Lost Treasure Caravan

More than $10 million in gold and jewels from the Aztec monarch's treasury was buried some-where north of Mexico City to prevent it from being stolen by the rapacious Spanish. Best evidence is that it's near either Taos, N. Mex., or Kanab, U.

How It Got There. The Spanish came to the New World to find gold, and they set about their task with a single-mindedness that would have made Scrooge blush. Rape, pillage, and murder were standard business practices, despite the fact that the vast majority of the Indians they met were friendly and willing to trade huge amounts of gold for small trinkets.

Greed completely conquered common sense, and the Spaniards truly killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Rather than trade peacefully for gold, they enslaved the Indians and forced them to work their own mines, and they stripped sacred temples of their solid gold ornaments, which they melted down into ingots and shipped back to Spain. (Much of that gold ended up on the ocean floor when the galleons sank in heavy seas.) As a result the Indians revolted, hid their gold, and fled from their conquerers.

In 1520 the Aztec ruler Montezuma learned that Cortes and his gold-crazed troops were heading toward his capital, which is now Mexico City. Knowing from experience that there was no more hope of peaceful coexistence with the Spanish than with a rabid jackal, Montezuma immediately stripped his buildings of their gold, silver, and jewels and sent this treasure by caravan to the north, to be buried until the plague of Spaniards had passed.

Montezuma, unfortunately, didn't survive this onslaught from civilized Europe. There's no record of this treasure's ever having been recovered, so it's likely still hidden where his men buried it over 450 years ago. The question of course, is "Where?"

One account says that the caravan went 275 leagues north from Mexico City, then turned west into high mountains, where the gold was hidden in a cave in a huge mountain can-yon. There's some question of just how long a league is, but the best guess seems to be that the caravan ended up somewhere in the Sierra Madres.

However, other versions say that the caravan went much farther north, into present-day Arizona, New Mexico, or Utah. It's interesting that some of the Pueblo Indians called their cliff dwellings "Montezuma's castles." The Aztec kingdom did have relations with the Pueblo nation, but whether Montezuma's treasure was sent that far north is an open question.

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