1853 – Joaquin Murrieta, the Robin Hood of El Dorado, is shot and killed by the California State Rangers

Joaquin Murrieta was a Mexican bandit who is widely considered the be the inspiration for Zorro. Between 1850 and 1853, he led a bandit group called the Five Joaquins (the other four members were Joaquin Botellier, Joaquin Carrillo, Joaquin Ocomorenia, and Joaquin Valenzuela).

In the four years or so that they were active, they stole more than $100,000 in gold, more than 100 horses, and killed 19 people, including three lawmen. Much like Robin Hood and his men, they were helped and sheltered by the locals, who regarded them as revolutionaries.

By 1853, they weren’t the only ones.

On May 11, the Governor of California John Bigler created the “California State Rangers,” with the mission of capturing the “Five Joaquins”. On July 25, 1853, a group of Rangers encountered a band of armed Mexican men, and two of the Mexicans were killed. One was claimed to be Murrieta, and the other was thought to be Three-Fingered Jack. The Rangers severed Garcia’s hand and the alleged Murrieta’s head as proof of their deaths and preserved them in a jar of brandy.

Referenced in:

The Bandit Joaquin – Dave Stamey
Archangel, the Murderer – Fortune & Spirits
Joaquin Murrieta, 1853 – Bob Frank & John Murry
Time-sick Son of a Grizzly Bear – The Mother Hips
The Ballad of Joaquin Murrieta – The Sons of the San Joaquin