Located in the historic town of Ronda, the Bandit Museum opened in 1995 inside a 100 years old house and with a collection that reflects the life and activity of banditry over the centuries 18, 19 and 20 with about 1400 objects like typical weapons, books, documents, typical costumes, press photographs … Continue reading to learn many more details of living back then in the Serrania de Ronda and Andalusia.
Famous bandits in Spain
Many are the bandit names that etched into the memory of the people living in villages, names of famous bandits who have carved a legend, some for their good actions while others because of the terror they caused.
Generally the romantic bandits who forged the fame were generous, those who robbed the rich and did not care to give good tips to the poor; Bandits then were causing that many writers and adventurers from other parts of the world decided coming to Andalusia trying to meet them through the mountain roads, a wish that was not always fulfilled, but when it happened would give them unforgettable memories and a good story to share.
Diego Corrientes: Generous Bandit
He was born in 1757 and died at the age of 24. There are many legends and stories about him because of his good acts. A bandit who did never murder but hated by the maniac Regent of Seville city, the reason of the hate was that this bandit teased him at every chance …
His life ended with cruelty after being hanged and quartered, his remains were later shown on the roads for a while before being buried.
Jose Ulloa: Known as ‘Tragabuches’
In the early nineteenth century it was famous in the region the misnamed band Seven Children of Ecija, misnamed for being more than seven members and none belong to that place. One of the most famous members of the band was known as ‘Tragabuches’.
This bandit began on this activity after he killed his wife and her lover, this happened after he had a horse fall on his way to Malaga so he had to turn back to Ronda in an unexpected plan. Upon arrival he found his wife nervous and felt like she cheated but couldn’t find her lover, then when he decided to take a drink he found the lover inside a wine jar and ended up killing the couple; after this and feeling his life without any future he enlisted as bandit with the Seven Children of Ecija.
About his death not much is known, most of his band received a royal pardon but nothing is known from him, probably he died in some hidden place of the mountains or he went to South America, a common destination for those bandits who were able to escape.
Juan Caballero: Known as ‘The Lero’
This bandit was born in Estepa in 1804, a village of Seville. He died at the age of 91 years, one of the few bandits who were able to reach old age, contemporary and friend of the notorious bandit ‘El Tempranillo’.
He as well as El Tempranillo were bandits who did not use violence during robberies.
After the death of his friend, he decided to receive the proposed amnesty from the king and live in peace with his wife.
Jose Maria Esponosa: Also known as El Tempranillo
This bandit was born in Jauja (Cordoba) in 1805 and died at the age of 28 shot by another bandit.
The alias of Tempranillo (Early One) was given for his early binding to the known band 7 Children of Ecija, although he achieved fame for his own acts, being a generous and attentive bandit who used to leave enough money to his victims to reach a nearby town, stories tell that he also kissed the hands of the women while stealing their rings, telling that beautiful hands do not need ornaments.
After the birth of his son he decided to receive amnesty from the king and moved to the opposite side defending the paths of the bandits, unfortunately just one year after he died at the hands of another bandit known as ‘El Barberillo’
Meet Bandits in Ronda
Bandits appeared because the widespread corruption and land distribution that ended favouring a few (whose descendants still own them) and making more poor to the general population, something that use to happen in all ages with different nuances…this caused the sympathy of the peasants and lower classed by those opposed to the established system and who steal money from the rich, money that was sometimes shared by those in need.
There were many bandits who left their name in the memory, not all of them were friendly and benefactors as those mentioned above. ‘El Pernales’ is an example of a bandit who was cruel towards his own family and used banditry as an excuse to unleash his violence and blood lust. Actual descendants still don’t want to hear from him.
‘Pasos Largos’ (Long Steps) has the honour of being the last bandit of Andalusia, he died in 1937 shortly after leaving prison for murdering in revenge. After prison he tried to have a normal life but he was unable to adapt and decided to go back to his known activity and died refusing to surrender after being surrounded by guards.
Another known bandit that possibly inspired the TV Spanish series ‘Curro Jimenez’ was Francisco Antonio Jimenez, one of those bandits who made himself because of the injustice and revenge to him and those around him.
Most of bandits died young, very few achieved to reach an old age and some escaped to South America.