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TOPIC: The Sacambaya treasure

The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 6 months ago #12234

  • Kanacki
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Hello All.

Here is an intriging treasure legend from Bolivia.

The Jesuits priests, in addition to saving souls, set about enriching the church. Through their travels in the new world, they took advantage of mineral finds by getting locals to work the mines and send the gold and silver back to Spain.

Somewhere around 1635 the good fathers established the Plazuela Monastery in Bolivia. The Monastery was located at the junction of the Inquisivi and Ayopayo Rivers. This area was very rich in gold and silver and the monastery severed as a central holding place. Massive amounts of treasure were collected here and then sent back to Spain.

King Charles III was concerned about the growing wealth and power that the Jesuits controlled. There were rumors that the Priests were planning to establish an independent colony in South America. So he ordered all the Jesuits expelled from the new world in 1767.

The Spanish set up blockades in the mountain passes to prevent the Jesuits from exporting their gold. The priests in Plazuela knew it was only a matter of time before the Spanish came in after them. Over the next few years, they assembled all the mined ores and church artifacts at the monastery. They enlisted the help of 500 local Indians and set about hiding the treasure.

There are rumors of two mass graves in the area. One is said to hold the remains of 300 of these Indians that died of yellow fever, the other is said to hold the remains of the other 200 Indians without reference as to their cause of death. In any case, no Indians survived that were involved in the hiding of the Plazuela treasure.

In 1778 the Spanish came to Plazuela. They found the monastery deserted and without the expected wealth waiting for them. They rounded up some of the local Indians and through use of various means, including torture, attempted to extract the treasure location from them. The soldiers left the area with nothing.

In 1910, Corina San Roman approached Cecil H. Prodgers with a proposition. Mr. Prodgers was a well-known mining engineer. Ms. San Ramon’s grandfather was the Prefect of Callao in 1778 and his brother was one of the last Jesuits to leave Plazuela. Father Gregorio San Ramon left his brother the following description of the treasure location:

There is a hill on the left bank of the Rio Sacambaya opposite the Monastery of Plazuela. It is steep and covered with dense forest. The top flat and with long grass growing. In the middle of the long grass there is a large stone shaped like an egg, so big that it took five hundred Indians to place it there. If you dig underneath this stone for five cordas you will find the roof of a large cave which it took five hundred Indians two and a half years to hollow out.

The roof is twenty-four cordas long and there are two compartments and a long narrow passage leading from the room on the east side to the main entrance two hundred cordas away. On reaching the door you must exercise great care in the opening. The door is a large iron one and inside to the right, near the wall, you will find an image of the Madonna, made of pure gold, three feet high, the eyes of which are two large diamonds; this image was placed there for the good of mankind.

If you proceed further along the passage you will find in the first room 37 heaps of gold, and many gold and silver ornaments and precious stones. On entering the second room you will find in the right hand corner a large box clamped with iron bars; inside this box are 90,000 duros reales in silver money and 30 bags of gold. Distributed in the hollows on either side of the tunnel and in the two rooms are, altogether, 160 heaps of gold, of which the value has been estimated at 60 million duros reales.

Great care must be taken on entering these rooms, as enough poison to kill a regiment of the King has been laid about. The walls of the two rooms have been strengthened by large blocks of granite; from the roof downwards the distance is five cordas more. The top of the roof is portioned off in three distinct esplanades and the whole has been covered for a depth of five cordas with earth and stone.

When you come to a place twenty feet high, with a wall so wide that two men can easily ride abreast, cross the river and you will find the monastery, church and other buildings.

Ms. San Roman’s proposition was to share the treasure with Mr. Prodgers if he could find it. Prodgers accepted. She provided him with the information above and with the assistance of an old Indian named Jose Maria Ampuera. Senor Ampuera was the grandson of one of those who hid the treasure and was paid by the San Romans to watch over the site many years earlier.

Prodgers found Ampuera in 1905 living in the town of Cuti. The old man was over 100 years old. Ampuera told of how President Melgarejo had searched Negro Muerto for the treasure, but that was on the wrong side of the River Sacambaya. The actual location was on a hill called Caballo Cunco.

Prodgers found the egg shaped rock where Ampuera told him it would be. He dymamited the stone and began digging at that spot. He found a manmade roof of bricks and slate slabs. He wrote that while digging:

..at 12 feet, yellow alter slab with flowers nicely engraved on it, there was no longer any doubt in my mind…

The digging was difficult and the locals were afraid that what they were doing was an affront to God. On one occasion, after sinking some bamboo into the dig, noxious fumes were emitted. By the end of 1907, Prodgers was nowhere near the depth he needed. He returned to England to gather a work force a little more skeptical. He was never able to return.

It appears that Prodgers discussed his find with a Cornishish miner named Tredennick. Tredennick searched the area from 1921 to 1927. He dug numerous tunnels into the area. At one time he dymamited a tunnel that set of an internal upheaval that lasted for an hour and a half.

In 1920, Prodgers made a deal with Dr. Edgar Sanders. Prodgers gave Sanders all the details on the condition that his original deal with Corina San Ramon would be honored. Sanders set out with a small group in 1925. At 900 he found another stone. This was 618 feet by 128 feet and a perfect rectangle. The stone is now referred to as the Square Heap Stone. Sanders believed the treasure was under this stone, that the stone was the roof of the treasure room. Near there, he found a tunnel.

Sanders and his group relied mostly on the locals for the digging required. He started clearing the tunnel. As they progressed, they came across a silver crucifix attached to a board. Four feet later they encountered a wall made of stones. In the wall was a hole and in the hole was a wooden box. The digging stopped as all gathered around. Sanders removed the box and in crumbled in his hands. He was left holding a piece of parchment. With the locals and his group from England around him in the tunnel, finally at the wall to what they believed to be the treasure room, he read aloud from the parchment:

You who reach this place withdraw. This spot is dedicated to God Almighty and the one who dares to enter, a dolorous death awaits him in this world and eternal condemnation in the world he goes to. The riches that belong to God Our Master are not for humans. Withdraw and you will live in peace and the blessing of the Master will make your life sweet and you will die rich with the goods of this world. Obey the command of God Almighty our Master in life and in death. In the name of God the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The Indians refused to continue. All left the tunnel and Sanders was unable to continue on his own. The rainy season was now upon them and all hope of continuing was lost. Sanders returned to England and was able to enlist a investors. He put a new group together that not only included 22 others, but included compressors, generators, pumps and tractors. They left Liverpool on June 15, 1928. They cleared out the tunnels and removed the stones only to find the tunnel ended there.

They went back to the Heap Stone and started looking for other tunnel entrances that would lead them into the room below. The local Indians said that their ancestors told of three iron doors that into the room. All the digging and prodding done by the group led them to stone. Sanders worked the area until he was broke. He wrote that he was beyond heartbroken. He believed the treasure was right below him, but could not find a way to reach it.

Legend has it that three Bolivians were searching. One morning, when they awoke, two of the men found their partner with two gold goblets in his hands, and stark raving mad.

There was later searches for this alleged treasure in the 1960's and early 1970s, as well as own search in the late 1990's. I have a theory of what was actually buried there. Some say it was all a con to milk dumb gringos of their money and historical evidence was sketchy. What was truth behind this legend.

Anyway some thing for anyone to have a yarn about.

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 6 months ago #12410

  • Kanacki
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Hello again

Here is the story of Prodgers first atempt to find the Jesuit treasure in Bolivia.

Kanacki

CHAPTER VII

THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE : FIRST ATTEMPT

WHILE I was stopping for a week at
Jura baths, on my return from
Challana, Morosini, the proprietor
of the hotel, came up to me one day
and told me there was a lady staying there who
wanted to have a talk with me — Dona Corina San
Roman, daughter of the late General San Roman,
a former President of Peru. Morosini presented
me, and after a few minutes' conversation she
showed me an original document left by Father
San Roman to his brother, the Prefect of Callao,
and handed down to her by her father, which gave
particulars of a large treasure that had been hidden
by the Jesuits. She told me that as I had been
into Challana, and got back safely, I would be just
the man to go and look for it, if I cared to do so,
and she made me two alternative offers. If I tried
to find the place with the help of the data she would

give me, she would pay me £80 per month for the

142



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 143

six dry months of the next year, which was as much
as I was getting from Mariano Penny for training
his racehorses, and if I found it she would pay all
the expenses of unearthing it, and give me ten per
cent of the full value found. The other suggestion
was that I was to take the copy of the document,
and go myself, paying all my own expenses, and
give her ten per cent of the treasure if I found it.
I accepted the second proposition without hesi-
tation.

The document gave no indications as to how to
iSnd the place, but simply described the kind of
place, and mentioned that it was near the banks of
the River Sacambaja. It ran as follows : " If you
find a steep hill all covered with dense forest, the
top of which is flat, with long grass growing, from
where you can see the River Sacambaja on three
sides, you will discover on the top of it, in the
middle of the long grass, a large stone shaped like
an egg, so big that it took 500 Indians to place it
there. If you dig down underneath this stone for
five yards, you will find the roof of a large cave,
which it took 500 men two and a half years to
hollow out. The roof is seventy yards long, and
there are two compartments and a long narrow
passage leading from the room on the east side to
the main entrance two hundred yards away. On



144 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

reaching the door, you must exercise great care in
opening. The door is a large iron one, and inside
to the right near the wall you will find an image
made of pure gold three feet high, the eyes of
which are two large diamonds; this image was
placed here for the good of mankind. If you pro-
ceed along the passage, you will find in the first
room thirty-seven large heaps of gold, and many
gold and silver ornaments and precious stones.
On entering the second room, you will find in the
right-hand corner a large box, clamped with three
iron bars; inside this box is $90,000 in silver
money and thirty-seven big heaps of gold. Dis-
tributed in the hollows on either side of the tunnel
and the two rooms are altogether a hundred and
sixty-three heaps of gold, of which the value has
been estimated at $60,000,000. Great care must
be taken on entering these rooms, as enough
strong poison to kill a regiment has been laid
about. The walls of the two rooms have been
strengthened by large blocks of granite ; from the
roof downwards the distance is five yards more.
The top of the roof is portioned off into three dis-
tinct esplanades, and the whole has been well
covered over for a depth of five yards with earth
and stones. When you come to a place twenty
feet high, with a wall so wide that two men can



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 145

easily ride abreast, cross the river, and you will
find the church, monastery, and other buildings."
Corina San Roman told me that the monastery
spoken of in this document was built by the Jesuits
in 1635 and abandoned in 1735. The treasure,
accumulated from eleven years' working of the
i'amous gold mines of El Carmen, and the Tres
Titilias, and from the gold and diamond washings
carried on near Santa Cruz by 2,000 Indians under
Fathers Gregorio and San Roman and seven other
priests, who died, was all hidden under the hill
indicated in this document with the exception of
£70,000 for each of the priests. Out of the 500
Indians employed in burying the treasure 288 died
of an epidemic of fever in the last three months of
the work.

Corina San Roman also told me that her father
used to send £25 every Christmas to an old Indian
named Jose Maria Ampuera, who, he said, knew
where the hill was. He used to send Macedonia
Zambrana, one of his own men, who lived near
Cochabamba, with this money and several pounds
of tea, sugar and other things. The Indian was
paid this to keep the secret, to visit the place from
time to time, and to notify him if anybody started
exploring there. He used to say he had a good
enough income himself, and did not care to risk



146 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

getting malarial fever in looking for it. He kept
the paper himself and gave it to his daughter
shortly before he died ; she put it inside one of the
books in the library, and after his death she could
not find it, but her uncle, the brother of the
General, who was a priest and lived at Cocha-
bamba, had a copy, which is the one I saw ! Many
expeditions had been fitted out to look for this
treasure. One had been sent by Malgarejo, the
President of Bolivia, another was fitted out at
Valparaiso in 1895, but both were unsuccessful.
Dona Corina told me that her uncle had died in
1896, that Zambrana had not been heard of for the
last eight years, and that if the Indian was still
alive he must be over 100.

The first thing to be done was to find Zambrana,
so in March, 1905, I left La Paz on my way to
Cochabamba to look for him. I went first to Oruro
by the Diligence Mail, which does the journey of
180 miles in two days, starting at 6 a.m., and
changing the five mules and galloping horse every
nine miles. The coach stops for half an hour at
9 a.m. for breakfast, and for lunch at 1.30, reach-
ing the rest-house at 7.80 p.m. for dinner, leaving
again next morning at 5 a.m., and reaching Oruro
at 5 p.m. After La Paz Alto they go full gallop
all the way ; the driver has a long whip, and a box



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 147

full of stones to throw at the mules, and an Indian
boy, who sits on the step behind, gets off every
now and then to flog them. The coach carries nine
passengers, eight inside, at $25 each, and one on
the box seat for $35, which I took. Luggage and
mails are strapped on the top ; only 35lbs. of
luggage was allowed to each passenger, and the
heavy gear leaves the day before in a big mule
waggon, and is charged for per lOOlbs. Riding on
the box seat beside the driver, and driving at a hand
gallop across the level high flats 12,500ft. above the
sea, through the pure and exhilarating air, under a
wonderful blue sky, I found the journey most
enjoyable.

The highest place registered on the road was
13,200ft. Oruro is 12,800ft. up.

At Oruro I found that Mariano Penny, the
owner of the rich San Jose silver mine, was away
in Chili, and J. B. Minchin, who owned rich tin
mines, was also away, but Dr. Shrigley kindly
lent me his place on the outskirts of the town,
where there was a big walled-in grass field. There
I engaged an Indian called Jose, with his wife and
boy, the man to look after my animals, the boy to
fag and wife to cook, with another Indian to help
with the cargo, and bought four good mules, two
donkeys and a horse.



148 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

After a stay of two weeks, I started for Coeha-
bamba, riding the horse on the first day, and next
day a good Httle white mule. The journey of 190
miles took eight days' easy travelling. We started
each morning at 9 a.m., and camped every after-
noon at 3 p.m., renting an Indian hut for the
night. Each evening, after buying fodder for the
animals, eggs and mutton, and whatever else was
wanted, I generally took the gun for an hour or
two, and shot some doves and other birds, which
we ate cold for lunch next day.

The first day's journey was over the high flats, a
sandy desert, with little feed for the animals.
Indians with llamas, each carrying a small load,
passed us frequently on their way to Oruro, and
now and then we met long strings of mules, led by
their bell mare. The bell mare carries nothing;
her job is to lead the mules, and they follow her in
single file, stopping only when the bell stops.

The rest of the way was through a more fertile
district, which bred sheep, llamas, cattle, donkeys,
mules, and even a few horses. I saw Indians
ploughing the fields with the same wooden ploughs
as were used hundreds of years ago. Occasionally
we passed small wooden carts drawn by oxen, with
heavy wooden wheels made of one piece.

The crops in these parts are barley, wheat, pota-



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 149

toes and, further on near Cochabamba, maize,
ochres and yueas. Fresh mutton can be bought,
the usual price being about 4/-to5/-a sheep ; also
home-made bread, fowls, eggs, and guinea pigs,
ochres, chuno, potatoes, onions, barley in the
straw, green barley and alfalfa. The native drink
of chicha, made from corn, can also be bought quite
cheap every few miles.

The weather was fine the whole time, Warm in
the day-time, and cool at nights, and the journey
was a much more enjoyable one than going down
by diligence. There were several rivers to be
crossed on the way ; between November and April,
they are dijfficult to get over, and people don't
travel much from Oruro to Cochabamba during
those months.

Cochabamba stands 8,200ft. high, with a cHmate
which is one of the best in the world ; it is never too
hot in the day, and cool at night. Rents and living
are very cheap. The market master regulates the
prices of all meats, beef, mutton and pork. Vege-
tables are plentiful, and fruit of all kinds may be
purchased on the market. There are no hotels to
speak of, and no street cars or cabs for hire. The
streets are all well paved with stone with a gutter
down the centre. All the houses have heavy iron
bars to the windows, and big, solid bolts to the



150 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

doors as well. Murders are not uncommon, and
the criminal is seldom caught, which is due not so
much to the negligence of the police as to the num-
ber of hiding-places where the criminal can easily
conceal himself for a time. When a murderer is
caught he is made to undergo a public trial in the
square of the Court House, and if he is found guilty
he is taken to the spot where the crime was com-
mitted and shot there. I saw one such trial in
Cochabamba. A bad Cholo had asked and re-
ceived the hospitality of a man and his wife for the
night, and while they were asleep had killed them
with an axe, and stolen a sum of money he knew
was in the house. His bloodstained clothes con-
victed him, and he was shot. I was told by a man
who knew that this was the first occasion for a long
time that a murderer had been caught. The
cathedral, which is built of stone, faces the big
square and garden ; the Hall of Justice, military
barracks, and police station are on the opposite
side. Six hundred priests live in the town.
Chiquitos, where the Jesuits found a lot of gold, is
twenty days' journey by mule, and the famous
Espirito Santo gold mine worked by them is ten
days by mule. There is bear shooting three days
away. I rented a nice little house on the outskirts
of the town near the river, with large garden and



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 151

open air concrete bath. Only a very few houses
contain proper lavatory accommodation ; otherwise
they are very well built and quite comfortable. I
made this house my headquarters for three years,
while prospecting for old mines and looking for the
Jesuit treasure. In front of my place were the
Municipality grown alfalfa fields for the Govern-
ment animals ; they were guarded day and night by
two armed watchmen, to prevent them being cut
by thieves. It costs little to keep animals here ;
barley and alfalfa can be bought by the load, one
mule cargo for about 4/-, and two cargoes, one
barley and one alfalfa, served for my horse and four
mules a day.

Opposite Cochabamba, on the other side of the
river, a German Company had a large brewery, and
made very good beer ; a dozen large bottles cost
2/-, and the bottles cost as much as the beer.
Imported Bass beer cost 2/- for one big bottle, a
bottle of good whisky 10/- or 12/-, and Three Star
brandy 16/-.

After a considerable amount of trouble, I located
Zambrana, who lived a day's ride from Cocha-
bamba. He had not seen old Jose Maria for many
years, and the priest. Father San Roman, who used
to pay him, had died, but he said he knew Jose
Maria lived near a place called Cuti, which was



152 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

thirty-five miles from Palca. Zam, as I always
called him, had never been to either of these places,
but knew the way as far as a mountain village sixty
miles from Palca. He agreed to join my ex-
pedition as campman and butcher, get water and
wood, and help the cook, so I took him on ; he was
to find his own mule.

I had two tents made here, one for myself 16ft.
by 12ft. and Oft. high, and the other was 10ft. by
10ft. and 9ft. high ; also a strong folding-up canvas
catre 3jft. broad and 7ft. long, which, with a
horse-hair mattress, made a most comfortable bed.
I also got together provisions for four months :
sugar, rice, biscuits, jams, tea, cocoa, coffee, and
some tinned meats, salt, ship's biscuits and other
things. Zambrana told me that round about the
department of Palca both sheep and flour were
plentiful and cheap. The Indian wife of Manuel,
the mule man, made splendid bread, and at the
different stopping places we often borrowed the
use of a bake-oven, and stayed a couple of days to
make bread. It is well worth the extra trouble to
get good, wholesome bread made with flour that
retains all the good ingredients of the wheat, which
is always possible if it is crushed by the stone mill
process. I also took two dozen bottles of rum, one
dozen of the best for myself, and a dozen of a



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 153

stronger, but inferior, quality for the men. With
the exception of the things I brought out with me,
such as Liebig's Extract, a thing I never travel
without, everything was bought from Barber &
Co., who traded goods for rubber up the Beni, by
advancing money and goods to traders for rubber
to be delivered in two years' time. Alfred Barber
was the manager for this firm in Bolivia ; in London
and Hamburg the firm was Brandt & Co. Of
course all the traders who dealt with the firm on
the two years' credit system had to show sub-
stantial guarantees in the form of unmortgaged
property, otherwise such firms would soon come to
grief. Barber himself had to put up a guarantee of
several thousands of pounds (a legacy left him by
his godmother) to be made managing partner in
Bolivia. -

On the 2nd May, at the beginning of the
dry season, I left Cochabamba with Zambrana,
Manuel, his wife and boy ; two more men, Mariano
and Ricardo, my saddle horse and white riding
mule, four cargo mules and a donkey. Zambrana
rode his own mule. The first day we got to
Anacoraira, below the Turani range of mountains,
where I bought a sheep and camped for the night.
The road as far as here was an easy one ; the sur-
rounding country was flat, with little grass and a



\



154 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

few trees, and the scenery was very uninteresting.
The next day we climbed a long steep path up the
mountain, passing a good many Indians and
llamas, also several Indian women tending their
sheep, and spinning wool at the same time, with a
sling made from llama wool. From time to time
they throw a stone at the sheep to drive them on.
Half-way up the mountain Ricardo gave out, and
I had to leave him with some provisions and tell
him when he was rested he had better return to
Cochabamba ; I was afraid he would not be able to
stand going up the heights. We crossed the
Turani Pass in good weather at 15,000ft. The
height of Mt. Turani is about 17,000ft. We
pitched our two tents on the other side at 12,000ft.,
near some Indians and llamas, who were halting for
the night on their way to Cochabamba, with
cargoes of wheat. There was plenty of grass about
and several pools of clear water, and a running
stream. It froze hard all night, and in the morn-
ing the pools were frozen over with an inch of ice,
which did not, however, prevent me from having
my morning bath. Before breakfast I got two
partridges. We let the sun warm up the blankets
and packs, and we started at 9.30 down the moun-
tain, through a pleasant fertile valley of long flats
covered with grass. There were streams running



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 155

in all directions, and on either side low hills covered
with small shrubs and grass. Only a few habita-
tions were to be seen, and near them cattle, sheep,
horses, mules and llamas were grazing. At a place
called Morochata I hired a mud hut for myself for
2/-, and bought some barley in the straw for the
mules and horse. As I wanted to replace Ricardo
here, we stayed the next day, and I eventually
found and engaged another boy called Jose. I
took the opportunity here of buying flour, got the
loan of an oven, and the cook made bread, and we
replenished our stock of potatoes and onions, which
seemed to do very well here. Everything was ex-
tremely cheap. The village consisted of about
twenty huts ; the land round about belongs partly
to the Government, and partly to a gentleman
living at Cochabamba, who finds the land, seed,
oven, ploughs, mud bricks and thatch for the huts,
and keeps a foreman who looks after the property
for a small salary, also cultivating his own small
piece of land. At harvest-time the crops are
divided between the cultivators and the proprietor,
who sends in what is wanted from his store at
Cochabamba, and takes it out of their share of the
crop. I have often thought this system would
answer well in other countries besides Bolivia.
Next day we continued the journey, and after a

12



156 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

few miles came to the foot of the Santa Rosa
Mountains. The path up the mountain was a long
one, but not too steep, and the ground at the top
of the pass was covered with a thin layer of frozen
snow. The height of this pass was 16,000ft. There
are always large heaps of stones piled up in pyramid
shape at the top of every pass, and one or two
solitary graves with crosses where somebody has
passed away. The path down to the river was long
and winding, through partial forest, with very few
birds, and not many flowers. I got off my white
mule, and led her down the hill, wearing the
speedometer, or hexemeter, as some people call it,
which registered nearly nine miles from the pass to
the river. None of the land on either side
appeared to be occupied at all, and we met nobody
on the road. We decided to pitch two tents just
across the river where there was plenty of grass
growing on a wide bank and up the hill the other
side, plenty of wood and water near, and no
dwellings to be seen in the distance.

The country was now new to old Zam, who had
never been further than Morochata, the place we
left that morning, and the boy, Jose, said it was
another seven leagues from here to the top of the
hill this side of Palca, with a swamp to cross over
on the way. On these occasions, as we had no bell



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 157

mare, my chestnut horse, an old hurdle racer from
Santiago, was hobbled, and a bell was tied round
his neck with a long rope and a stone at the far
end for further security. The mules and donkeys
would follow him like a dog, and he was always
led to the best grazing ground.

The next day, after two hours and a half's
marching up and down hill, we got to the top of
another range of hills. At the bottom was a wide
green valley, with several small streams; as we
came closer we could see that it was very swampy
in places, and I was told afterwards in Palca that
during the rainy season these swamps are very
often impassable for days together. There was
only one place where it was possible to cross, and
fortunately the boy from Morochata knew where it
was, as nobody else did. Even at this place when
one of the mules went a few yards off the beaten
track, he began to sink, and floundered back only
just in time. Palca was some five leagues further
on, in the belt of forest at the foot of a valley, and
surrounded by hills. In this valley I saw many
bushes and flowers very similar to what is seen in
Trinidad, which was rather strange, considering
that the height of Palca is 7,500ft. and the highest
hill in Trinidad is, I think, only 2,800ft. Near
Palca are a good many large farms where wheat,



158 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

barley and maize are grown, and sheep, cattle,
mules and horses are reared. I hired a hut on the
banks of the river this side of the village, from a
very obliging Indian, whose business was tanning
hides with the quebracho bark, and decided to take
on from him an Indian who knew Cuti, so re-
mained there for the next day. From here there
was no real path between Palca and Cuti, only a
few beaten tracks leading over the hills to the dif-
ferent Indian settlements. With the exception of
a few large farms owned by seven or eight men,
who work them on the share system already
described, all these vast lands are quite unoccupied
and unexplored : there are just a few Indian
squatters here and there living far apart.

The town of Palca consists of a few houses and
has a church and a priest. It is noted for its
excellent brew of chicha, which makes a whole-
some and refreshing drink.

The tanner's wife, a pleasant, civil Indian
woman, asked her brother to take me to the ranch
of a very old Indian, who lived on a sheep and
maize farm at the foot of the Sapo mountain, and
who, he said, would know all the old men in the
district. He took me there the next day, and I
put up at the old man's house. His name was Jose,
and he claimed to be 99 years old ; he knew Jose



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 159

Maria well, and said that he was some years older
than he was himself. He was a strong, healthy
fellow, and had lived all his life in this pure at-
mosphere. The scenery round here was very fine ;
the lands for leagues around belonged to a man at
Palca, and were worked by several families of
Indians, who grew maize, wheat and barley on
the share system, and had flocks of sheep feeding
on the extensive grass lands between the River
Cori Mayo and the forest. Jose sold me sheep
whenever I wanted one for 4/- each, rented me
two huts, one for myself and the other for a
kitchen, and lent me the oven for 2/- a day. By
his advice, I sent Zambrana down the river to Jose
Maria Ampuera with a present of tea, sugar,
cocoa, tobacco, matches, biscuits and cheese, and
a few pounds of coca leaves, with a note, telling
him I had come to look for the treasure with the
data supplied by Corina San Roman, and wanted
to visit him. Mariano was sick just then with a
sort of cholera, which had been brought on by his
own greed. On the way to Palca, I had bought
half a sack of apples at a farm with an orchard,
and he had eaten too many. He wanted to return
to his home in Cochabamba, so I paid him off, gave
him provisions for ten days, and took the Indian
boy from Palca in his stead.



160 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

Jose told me that the Sapo Mountain, as far as
he knew, had never been visited for thirty-five
years, that there were several abandoned socabons
(mining tunnels) there, and that the settlers occa-
sionally washed gold out of the Cori Mayo, so I
decided to explore this mountain while waiting for
Zambrana to come back. The next day, after
breakfast, I rode off on the white mule up a path
which Jose showed me, which led to a dip in the
mountain where he said I should find a big socabon.
I took Juan and the Indian from Palca with me
to clear the path when necessary, leaving Manuel
to look after the horse, mules and donkey, and his
wife to make bread and attend to the kitchen. It
was not more than two leagues to the hollow, but
it took from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to get there, as we
had constantly to clear the track, which was over-
grown in most places, so we went down again,
intending to go and look at the tunnel next day.
I saw lots of bush chickens in the forest on the
way up, and decided to take the gun with me next
day. Next morning I took Manuel's son, Juan,
and the Indian boy with me, and rode off with the
white mule to explore the socabon. It was situ-
ated at 14,200ft. just above the forest line, which
stops at about 14,000ft. The view from here was
quite magnificent ; a vast expanse of country could



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 161

be seen for miles around, entirely unoccupied
except for three or four isolated huts. The socabon
was thiry-five yards long, fifteen yards wide, and
fifteen high ; there was no dump to be seen, and
everything had been taken away. The rock was
so hard that no timbering up was required at all;
in fact, there was not a post to be seen, although
there were many hard wood quebracho trees in the
forest below, ready to hand. The roof was ven-
tilated in six parts. In the left-hand corner near
the entrance it appeared to be hollow on sounding.
I took some samples of blue quartz rock and lime
from the lode, where the Jesuits had left off.
There was no doubt that this was one of the old
Jesuit mines, which had been lost to sight and
abandoned for many years. There were several
other old workings in the vicinity on the mountain,
all showing the same clear work, and no dumping.
Another big tunnel ran underneath the hill about
a quarter of a mile from the first one. This mine
had no supports, or timbering of any kind. I saw
another tunnel of the same sort high up on the top
of the mountain, of the same blue rock quartz. I
took samples from the first mine; some of them
gave indications only, others which I had essayed
later in London by Mix, a mining engineer, gave
2ozs. 3dwt. of gold, and 8ozs. 6dwt. of silver to



162 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

the ton. The priest at Palca told me afterwards
that the lapis lazuli sent to Rome by the Jesuits
and the famous chain worn by the Archbishops of
the La Paz Province of Ayacucho, called Upper
Peru in those days, had come from a mountain
called Mount Sapo, but that nobody had ever been
able to locate the place, until I found it. On my
return to Cochabamba I took up the concession
and denounced two hundred per tinencias, which
was about five hundred acres. Mr. J. O. Gentry,
of Kansas City, a partner of Haggin & McEwan,
and the owner of the Cerro Pasco, Peru, told me
that if I put on eighty men, got out quartz during
the six months' dry season, and left it there, they
would then send one of their mining expert en-
gineers to report, and if the report was favourable
they would take it over, putting on as many stamps
as the mine would carry, and giving me one-third
of the profits. There was plenty of water and
wood near and good grazing ground all around,
at the foot of the mountain, but up to now I have
never been able to get any Company to take up
this proposition.

Zambrana returned soon after with an answer
from old Jose Maria, saying that if I would come
and see him in a fortnight he would take me to
the foot of the hill, where the bulk of the treasure
was supposed to be buried.



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 168

I spent most of the fortnight doing prospecting
work on Mount Sapo, and shooting bush chickens,
\\ hich were so plentiful that I got them whenever
I wanted. One day I winged a big condor at long
range, but failed to get him. In the valley just
outside the forest, I several times saw beautiful
<4 olden and silver pheasants ; there were never more
than two at a time, and they were always at the
same place. They were far too pretty for me to
fire at, and exceedingly tame, as were the bush
chickens ; all that was necessary was just to go to
the roosting trees at dusk, and take a chance shot.
Two days after Zam got back, I sent him down
the valley, to get half a bag of flour crushed by a
water-mill, which only cost 3/6, 2/6 for the wheat
and 1/- for the crushing. He returned in the
evening with a tall, well-made Indian, who asked
me to come down and see his boy, aged fourteen,
who had a bad attack of malaria. I promised to
do so next day, and the Indian returned to his
home. The following day I took Zam to lead his
mule and my chestnut horse, and the boy to carry
my gun, as there were plenty of fat pigeons on the
lower ground where the Indian lived. We walked
leisurely down the valley along a good Indian path
for about nine miles, taking three hours, and got
there at 11 a.m. I saw the boy, and gave him



164 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

some pills, and told his mother and father before
I left to give him hot boiled cow's milk and stop
cramming spoonfuls of pearl barley and boiled
maize down his throat, which I found they were
doing. I shot six pigeons there, and they gave
me some cabbages, young onions and a pine. On
the way back, I enjoyed the lovely scenery on both
sides of the valley. Next day I went to see the
boy again, taking the white mule to ride back on,
and the red roan mule to bring back two bags of
potatoes. I found the boy improved, put him on
weak tea and toast, and hot milk, and gave him a
dose of quinine, leaving another dose for his
mother to give him two hours after dark. I shot
four pigeons, and the Indians gave me six fresh
eggs and another cabbage. Next day I went down
again with the horse, and found the boy much
better, and sitting outside. I gave him some
quinine, and made him some hot Liebig's Extract,
giving his mother a big pot, and telling her to
make him drink three cups a day for four days,
and then come up and let me know how he was.
I also left a tin of tea and some sugar for her, and
two pigeons to grill for the boy. They were very
grateful, and wanted to give me all sorts of things ;
I accepted a young kid, and had it done on the
spit next night for dinner.



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 165

Four days afterwards, the Indian came with a
large bunch of bananas, his wife with two bottles
of milk and a fowl, and his little girl with some
pines and eggs. I remonstrated with him, but he
said I had cured his boy, and so long as I was here
it was his duty to bring me supplies, a sure proof
that these people are grateful and easy to get on
with if properly treated. At the appointed time,
we started off to the home of Jose Maria Am-
puera, getting there early in the morning on the
second day. The old man told me he would show
the hill to anyone coming from a daughter of
General San Roman. He said his father had told
him that this was the place, and that his grand-
father had been with the priests, Gregorio and San
Roman, when they hid the treasure. His grand-
father and father had been very well off, and
owned land and cattle, and he himself had in-
herited land and cattle from his father. The
Bolivian Government took away his land, and
eight hundred of his cattle, leaving him only with
his present holding and fifty head; this was in
Malgarejo's time, and for that reason, when
President Malgarejo came down to the River
Sacambaja with half a regiment of soldiers to dig
and hunt for the treasure, he refused to show them
the place. He showed me afterwards where



166 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA



^



President Malgarejo prospected for it; they were
not very far off, but on the wrong side of the
river. Jose told me how fifty years ago he and
his sons found a gold bell weighing 40lbs., which
they sold, and bought land and cattle, but in
uncovering the tapada some rocks fell and killed
one of his boys ; he and his other son took this as
a bad omen and never tried to find any more. He
promised to show me the place where they found
it. The reason he had not sent in for his money
from the agent of Father San Roman was that
after the priest died he did not know to whom to
apply, and he thought the family in Lima would
be sure to send something in to him.

Jose thought it advisable that we should go
separately to the place where the treasure was, as
if people were to see us travelling together they
might suspect something and follow us and the
law of treasure is very stringent. So he sug-
gested I should go a roundabout way along the
valley of the Calatranca Range, cross over the
highest pass, and make for the River Sacambaja
below, and he would go by a more direct and
easier path and meet me down below on the
banks of the Sacambaja. I left the cook to go
with the old man, and sent Zambrana to Cuti to
get a sheep for 4/- and follow on with the old



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 167

Indian in two days' time, while Manuel, his boy
and the two other men went the other way with
the mules and donkey and horse. We camped
that night near the path over the mountain, but
soon after we had pitched the tents and let loose
the mules, with the chestnut horse as bell mare,
Manuel brought me the news that there were other
travellers evidently going the same way as we
were, and that he could see their fire behind us,
but he thought it did not matter, as they would
now follow us over the high pass. Where we
camped there was no forest, only a few hardy trees
and bushes growing in the gully ; we were 15,200ft.
up, very near the snowline. There was a light
layer of frozen snow near the camp on either side
of the gully, plenty of long tufty mule grass
growing all about, and a stream of very cold water
with ice and snow on the edges. After the sun
went down it got very cold ; but we had a good
Irish stew for supper, and plenty of everything,
and with two big fires going, one near my tent,
the other near the men's, we passed a comfortable
night. Next morning after a bath in the cold
stream I dressed in front of a big fire, made a
good breakfast and started off at 9.30, riding my
mule, but getting off at steep places. The path
was one of the Inca tracks, broad and well made,



J






168 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

cut out of rock, with very gradual inclines, and
was able to ride most of the way. At 11 a.m. t
aneroid registered 17,000ft., and at 1 p.m. we got
to the top of the pass; the last hour and a half
going over frozen snow. I wrote down 19,000f
in my diary for the height of the pass, and w;
probably not far oflF the mark, as the aneroid does
not register over 17,000ft., and Lisandro Menf
dizabal, the wealthy owner of Cuti and the Alcalde
of the district, afterwards told me that was very
likely the height as the top of the mountain was
21,500ft., and always covered with snow. We
were not followed any more. From the cairn of
stones on the summit we saw an immense expanse
of country; nobody was to be seen, no dwelling
and no living thing, except some big white col-
lared condors sailing magnificently in the clear air
without any apparent movement. Down the hill
we followed the broad Inca and Jesuit road, which
is cut out of the rock and in places runs along the
extreme edge of the precipice, and after ten miles,
of which the last few miles were through forest,
reached the River Sacambaja.

Jose Maria, Zam and Manuel's wife were wait-
ing down below, and we pitched camp there for
the night. Next day, after nine miles of fairly
level going up the river, we got to the foot of the



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 169

Caballo Cunco Hill, where Jose said the treasure
was buried. I pitched my two tents and kitchen
on the level river beach which is about half a mile
wide, and extends all the way up and down the
Rivers Cato and Sacambaja, and Manuel ran up a
rough shed for the mules to feed in, and another
for himself. There was plenty of wood all over
the beach, and the forest all around was full of fat
wild cattle. Near the camp just inside the forest
was a clear stream of water with some deep pools,
and there were plenty of guava trees in the forest.
The big Rivers Cuti and Sacambaja were only two
hundred yards away, but their water is not very
good to drink, as the broad sandy beach is full of
nitrate. Jose Maria told me that in the rainy
season, which starts down here in the middle of
October, these two rivers form one big sheet of
water ; the Caballo Cunco Hill becomes an island,
and the water is so deep and the current so strong
that no one can cross for weeks and months at a
time.

Jose Maria was too old to walk up the very
steep path which could be seen leading up to the
top of the hill where the big stone was. Next day
I went up with Manuel, Zambrana and the two
boys, all carrying machetes to clear the way. At
the top I found the big stone shaped like an egg.



170 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA



1

e saiPI



and on looking to right, left and behind we
the Rivers Cato and Saeambaja down below, run-
ning into one main stream. The scenery was
exactly as described by the paper in my possession,
I took the exact position of the hill, and at once
sent Zam to inform Don Lisandro Mendizabal,
who lived at Cuti, twenty-seven miles oflF. The
nearest house was Jose Maria's, eighteen miles off.
Through Don Lisandro I sent my application to
the Government in La Paz, who two months later
sent down one of their officials with six soldiers to
give me the documents of formal possession.
These documents still hold good, and are in my
possession, signed by the Minister of Mines, and
witnessed according to law.

It may be of interest here to give the rules
issued by General Jose Manuel Pardo regarding
tapadas (hidden or buried treasure).

'' A tapada shall be the property of the finder
provided he comply with the following conditions :

" The finder must not absent himself from the
spot even for a day until he has been given formal
possession. He must notify the owner of the soil,
if it has an owner. The finder on finding buried
treasure must at once notify the authority ap-
pointed by the Government of La Paz, who will
at once inform the supreme authorities in La Paz ;



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 171

they will despatch a detachment of soldiers and
one or more mining engineers to take out the
buried treasure, which will be divided up in La
Paz, 25 per cent going to the Government and
75 per cent to the finder.

** The owner of the soil may participate in one
half of the finder's share, provided he comply with
the following conditions. Six weeks or forty-two
days after the authorities have been notified, he
must present himself at La Paz, and give informa-
tion. He must then within the time specified
render assistance to the finder by providing, pay-
ing and maintaining thirty men to uncover the
tapada. If he fails to comply with these condi-
tions within the time allowed, namely, forty-two
days, he loses all rights."

Keeping my saddle mule down here to use when
wanted, I sent Manuel with the horse and the
other animals up the valley where the grass was
good, telling him to come down in a week's time
for more provisions. Jose Maria wanted to make
himself useful, so I gave the old man the job of
bringing down a 4/- sheep and 2/- worth of pota-
toes every Saturday. One day I asked Jose how
old he was, and he replied he did not exactly know,
but was certainly several years over one hundred.

He said his father told him the convent was com-

13



172 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

pleted in 1705, but in 1745 the Jesuits abandoned
Sacambaja, knowing they were going to be ex-
pelled from Peru. The remains of the convent,
several other buildings, some stone mounds, and
the great mud and stone wall still exist.

I started off the excavation by blowing the big,
egg-shaped stone to pieces with dynamite. The
stone was exactly ten feet high above the ground,
five feet below, and fourteen feet wide round the
middle. The roof of the cave was covered over
by earth and grass for eighteen inches or two feet,
except at the end where the big stone was, where
it was covered rather deeper. The roof itself was
divided into three equal squares, each twenty-five
feet long, and the whole roof was, as far as could
be judged, seventy-five feet long and thirty feet
broad ; it was covered all over with stone, cut and
shaped like bricks, and large slabs of big slate
stone. The partitions were divided by stone
bricks, six inches high. All the work was very
well and carefully done. After we had exposed
the roof, the question was, which side to tackle
first. Eventually, I decided to make a start on
the south side. Mendizabal, who always took,
and still takes the greatest interest in the uncover-
ing of the top of this hill, had sent me a reinforce-
ment of three Indians, or colonias as they are



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 173

called, whom I paid 1/- per day, and their food,
and I replaced Manuel's son by Manuel himself,
letting the boy tend the animals. This made four
men and a boy, and myself for the work. We
started at 7.30 every morning, and dug away for
all we were worth until six o'clock at night, knock-
ing off only from twelve o'clock to one o'clock for
the cold lunch and water which we carried with us.

After a breakfast of Irish stew at 7 a.m., we
walked at once up the hill, which was so steep that
no mule was ever made to go up with more than
50lbs. of cargo. The distance was measured by
hexemeter as 2,600 metres. Manuel and the men
always got to the top before me, but not by much.

During the whole time I did the crowbar work
myself, and the others rested while I was moving
the big stones to be rolled down the cliff and
through the forest to the river below. After
working on the south side for two days, I aban-
doned that end, as I saw no signs of the hand of a
man, and began digging down on the north side
facing the River Cato. It was soon evident by
many indications that the formation here was the
work of man, and not of nature. I found the
bones of birds, guinea-pigs, some snail shells that
are generally found on trees, and stones and
pebbles from the river beach below, and when, at



174 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

the depth of nine feet, I picked up a wooden cork,
and, at twelve feet, a yellow altar slab with flowers
nicely engraved on it, there was no longer any
doubt in my mind. Mendizabal, who had just ar-
rived with the authorities from La Paz, was of the
same opinion. Don Tomas, the engineer, told me
that the journey back to La Paz would take them
eight to ten days, and they wanted meat, so, be-
fore the officials returned to La Paz, we organized
a hunt for wild cattle, and got two young bulls
and a cow, which we made into charque or dried
meat, by cutting them into strips, and then salting
them out in the sun. I shot one bull and the cow,
and Mendizabal the other with my double sixteen
bore Holland and Holland. All the cattle without
a brand in Bolivia are considered wild, and
belong to the Government, and anybody may
catch or kill as many as they like, provided
they pay the nearest authority £2 a head
on behalf of the State. Mendizabal told me
that a few years ago, some twenty days' jour-
ney further, he bought two thousand heads in that
way down the River Sacambaja near the Brazilian
frontier. He made four trips, two each year in
the dry season, and drove down two hundred tame
cattle to the vast grassy prairies in the interior
where the wild c^\^^ were pIcDtifuJ. The Ijtidia^s



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 175

living there make a business of rounding up wild
cattle; they first fence in big tracts of land, and
drive numbers of cattle into these open savannas,
then they round off a certain number into a corral,
and the tame cattle are then allowed to mingle
with them, and they are eventually driven off to
their new home. The Indians always accompany
the herds for the first four or six days for about
10/- a head, and in this way very few are lost.
Mendizabal drove back one hundred of the tame
cattle with each batch of five hundred of the wild.
Don Lisandro also told me he bought his big
estancia (ranch) at Cuti, from the Government ; it
is nine leagues wide, mostly grass with plenty of
water. The boundary on the north is the River
Sacambaja. There are all sorts of climates on this
estate, from tropical heat to the intense cold of
the Calatranca Range. When he bought the
place, there were one hundred and five families of
Indian squatters on the land, whom he valued more
highly than the land. They all stayed and became
Colonists under him, and he has a code of rides
M^hich are just and strict. They all look up to him
very much, and call him Tata (father). There is
no drunkenness and no thieving. When any man
wants to marry, he has to show a hut and a plot
of ground, ready for sowing, and enough food in



176 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA



1



the house for one year, and seed for the next.
Everything is done on the half share system, Don
Lisandro supplying the land, implements and seed.
When the harvest comes round all the grain is
taken to the estancia house, and equally divided
between him and the growers. They are at liberty
to go and work outside whenever they like, pro-
vided they get his permission, which is always
given except in crop time. I had several of his
men working for me at various times, but they
never stayed very long ; they used to say there was
no necessity for them to work outside, except
when they wanted some money to buy something.
Don Lisandro did not keep any stock, but grew
maize, barley, wheat, ochres, potatoes and onions
in large quantities ; he had sheep and llamas feed-
ing on the higher ground, and horses, mules and
cattle on the more sheltered ground. He took
great pride in his horses, and bred from a pacer
and a half-bred Arab; he was a great believer in
the Arab strain. The estancia house, stables,
wool-shed, granary and other buildings form a
square round a large open yard with grass
plots in the middle, and the whole is surrounded
by a broad walk twenty feet high, and entered by
a gate of the same height, opening from within.
The climate is good and the scenery grand ; there



THE CABALLO CUNCO TREASURE 177

is plenty of shooting, and no neighbours nearer
than thirty-six miles. There was a horse and mule-
breaker and a carpenter kept on the premises.
The farm was not fenced in at all, there were
merely a few paddocks near the house for con-
venience, as the Bolivian law does not, like Ar-
gentine law, oblige the owner of an estancia to
fence it in within so many years, a very expensive
item. He has a church, which he built himself,
and he keeps it in very good order ; the door is kept
open from daylight to dark, as the custom is in
these countries, and a priest comes from Palca
twice a year, and remains a week or ten days. All
the produce is sent to Oruro and La Paz by cargo
mules.

Don Lisandro said he had often been looking
for the Jesuit treasure during the last twenty-five
years. He once found a lot of skulls and bones
near the convent, and opposite on the hill called
the " Negro Muerto," where the men were buried
that died in the fever epidemic. He never found
any treasure, but the Indian owner of the Caballo
Cunco Hill, that I denounced, had found over
£20,000 worth, and he had bought large tracts of
land and many cattle and sheep with the money.
Just before I left Sacambaja the owner of the soil
sent his wife to say he hoped I would be lucky



178 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA



I



enough to get something, and, as far as he was
concerned, he did not wish to participate. M

The dry season was now at an end. I left
Manuel at the hill, with provisions, as caretaker,
and returned in the middle of October to
Cochabamba, going on from there to Oruro by
the same way by which I came. I disposed of the
mules at an advantage. I stayed a few days there,
and went on by train from Oruro, which takes two
days and two nights, travelling only by day, down
to the important town of Antofogasta, the nearest
port to Bolivia — and so home. This image is hidden for guests. Please log in or register to see it.
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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 5 months ago #12477

  • Kanacki
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Hello All

Here is the story of Prodgers second as wrtten in his book Adventures in Boliva.

Enjoy.

CHAPTER VIII

THE SECOND ATTEMPT

IN March of the next year I started off again
for the hills to renew the search. I got to
Oruro at the end of the month, bought four
mules for cargo and a saddle mule for myself
from an Argentine trader, and went on to Sacam-
baja via Cochabamba and Palca. At Cuti I stayed
for five days with my old friend Mendizabal, who
came on with me to the hill. The first two days
were spent in going for wild cattle, as Mendizabal
wanted to make some charque for his own use, and
I wanted some for my camp ; we got four cattle,
and divided up the meat.

On the third day I started uncovering the top
of the hill, working downwards in a " V " shape
from where I had left off. Exactly fifteen feet
down I came to a solid mason work, one big square
stone ; and then a slab of slate stone ; this formation

went on for twelve feet down. Then I came on a

179



180 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA



1



stone cobble path, which I concluded was the
bottom of the cave, but there was no sign of any
door, so I decided to drill a hole between two blocks
of stones. I consulted Mendizabal, and he thought
with me that this was the work of man, and not a
natural formation. He brought his son and five
Indians to lend a hand. Before we started to drill,
one old man said we ought to offer up a gift of a
cock, some wine and bread, and leave it there for
the night. Mendizabal said we must humour these
people. So the offer asked for was duly left. In
the morning the things had gone ! They had
probably taken them themselves but swore they
had not done so. We pretended to believe them.

We drilled a hole for three feet and a half, and
then pushed a thin bamboo twelve feet long
through; it appeared to touch nothing except in
one corner where it seemed to prod something soft.

Suddenly a very powerful smell began, so strong
that it made us all feel bad ; it smelt like oxide of
metal of some sort. Mendizabal and his son both
went home feeling bad, but he got over it in two
days, his son felt unwell for a week, but I got over it
in a few hours. Three of my men left feehng bad
and never returned. The other three men I had
went up with me again two days after, and when
we were near the top we saw over a dozen big



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 181

condors, hovering about quite close to the works.
Zambrana and Manuel both told me that the three
Indians said this was a sign there was something
buried inside ; they all seemed rather funky, so I
said I would give it a rest for a fortnight to let it
get well ventilated, bearing in mind what the paper
said about there being enough poison inside to kill
a regiment. This was on June 3rd, 1906.

On the night of June 4th, the weather completely
changed, and at 8 p.m. the thermometer stood at
four degrees below zero. In the morning at 7 a.m.
it was seven degrees below zero, but at 9 a.m. it
began to get warm again, and at 12.30 it was
eighty-seven above zero, going down again after
sunset quite suddenly. At 8 p.m. that evening it
was fourteen degrees below, next day between 12
to 1 p.m. eighty-six degrees above. This was a
phenomenal year; there was a black frost every
night, and a lovely blue sky all day. On the sixth
night after the change had begun, the thermometer
actually went to twenty-seven degrees below zero,
and in the morning was twxnty-eight degrees below.
Zambrana said he could not stand the cold nights
even with good food, a tot of rum and a good fire,
and would have to go home ; he promised to return
in a month. The three Indians also said they had
had enough, and left the camp two days after Zam,




182 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

also promising to return. I had already
Manuel to Barber's at Cochabamba for some
provisions, so I was now left quite alone. I made
it a point" never to let the two fires go out. One
night, at about 10.30, I had turned in with a big
log fire burning outside my tent door, when I heard
a rifle shot, then another and yet another, as though
some one was firing a rifle, and the bullets were
whistling over my tent. I got out of bed and lay
under the bed with my good double-barrel rifle
loaded and my colts as well. I counted seven shots,
and then came to the conclusion that it was some-
body trying to scare me, but with no intention of
shooting me. So I got back to bed and shouted
out, " Who is there? " Two more shots came in
quick succession, and then they ceased. The next
morning nothing was to be seen. That night the
same performance took place from eight to ten,
but this time I did not bother, being convinced it
was a case of trying to scare me to leave. This
was four days after my men had gone.

After this, I heard nothing further and never
found out who fired the shots. Two days after-
wards I was very pleased to see four likely looking
Indians with their packs come into the camp asking
to be taken on. I took them on gladly at 1/- a
day, and their food, which was the price they asked.



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 188

Next day I left one in the camp to attend to the
kitchen, and took the other three with me. I
decided not to disturb the stones any more, but to
go working away to the left, leaving the stone path
as a starting point.

The weather continued the same and was even
colder at nights, and in the early morning, with
tropical sunshine all day. I kept in good health
and enjoyed it although it was rather too cold at
nights.

One night two men, on their way to La Paz,
camped down near the convent, with five mules
loaded with coca leaves. During the night one of
the mules strayed away, and, in the morning, one
of the men left to look for him. His companion
remained with the other mules, and, while there,
began to uncover one of the numerous tapadas near
the north bank of the river. Two days afterwards
the other man turned up with the lost mule. They
said that as the mules and cargo belonged to them
they would stop and finish uncovering the mound
of earth and stones, which they did in eight days.
The day after they had left, which was Sunday, I
rode over on my mule to their camp, about a mile
and a half away ; and found all the cargo left, and
covered over, so that it was clear they had been
successful in their search. Some weeks 9,fterwar4?



184 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

I heard that they had found the hole full of
silver plate, which I understood they sold for
£1,500.

Some days afterwards Manuel arrived with the
stores, also Mendizabal, who joined him at Cuti.
He told me that when he heard strange Indians had
come down to work for me he felt very uneasy, as
he did not know them. His wife was also alarmed,
and begged him to tell me to be careful not to take
anyone who was not sent with a note from him.
He also said that three days before, one of the
Indian girls on his place had come and told his
wife that they had heard that strange Indians had
gone down there, and that they were up to no good.
She sent me a letter by her husband, begging me
to return to the house with him. To my regret,
Mendizabal said that though he would have liked
to have stayed for a few days he did not dare, for
fear of ague. I told him that the weather was the
same, beautiful sunshine all day, and very cold at
night. I promised him to be careful about the
Indians, and wrote to his wife, thanking her for the
interest she was taking in me. He then went back
with Manuel, who was to leave the mules and horses
at Cuti with Mendizabal's animals, and return to
do the camp work and cooking.

The following day I saw Jose Maria from the top



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 185

of the hill, crossing the river, and at 2 p.m. he
turned up with the usual weekly sheep. He told
me Manuel was at his house with a bad attack of
malaria, and would come on when he was better.

The four strange Indians had now been with me
nearly three weeks ; they all worked well, and there
was no trouble, and nothing amiss to my know-
ledge. One morning a few days after Mendizabal
left, I went round as usual, after I had got up, to
the kitchen fire, which always burned night and
day, and was never allowed to go out. To my
surprise I found nobody there, and the fire nearly
out. All their clothes had gone too ! After
breakfast, on looking round, I discovered all their
food of the night before in the bush about fifty
yards off. About two hours after this, I began to
feel very queer, and soon my right leg went numb,
and then my arm. I at once looked up the
symptoms in Doctor Andrew Wilson's *' Symp-
toms and Treatment of Poisons " which I had with
me, and soon discovered that I was poisoned. This
lecture went on to say, " When your finger nails
become blue, you must make yourself vomit quickly
for the time is short." My finger nails were now
turning that colour, so I promptly took some hot
tea with salt, which fortunately had the desired
effect. The feeling came back to my leg and arm,



186 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

and I felt all right again. This went on several
times a day for eight days, and then every three or
four days for two months or more ; later these
attacks would only come on every fortnight or so,
and I did not get properly well for a year or more.
When I got to La Paz in November, the doctor
said I had had enough poison in me to kill twenty
men, and the prompt measure I took every time
the attacks came on had saved me. At La Paz
they gave me strychnine, which made me worse
instead of better, and sometimes I was very ill. In
England the treatment was altered to arsenic, and
I at once began to pick up. Nobody knew what
the poison was, but all were convinced it was
poison, and not fever. Next year, however, I
found out that it was the Aba de San Ignacio,
or the Saint Ignatius Bean, which is very much like
a Lima bean, and grows on a vine. On the way
home in November of that year, I met a fellow
passenger, who told me that three years before he
had been poisoned in exactly the same way, with
the same symptoms as myself, and that some
Indians who saw him showed him the bean, and
told him it contained strychnine. I found later that
this was quite correct ; the remedy is arsenic.

The Indians left the camp on July 5th, leaving
their last w^tek's pay behind them; I jaever s?iw



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 187

them again. From the day they left until October
23rd, the start of the first rains, nobody came to the
camp, for I had told old Jose Maria not to bring
down any more sheep until I advised him by
messenger, as I had nearly a whole bullock hanging
up both fresh and dried. During these weeks, I
generally pottered round the camp, and now and
then went up the hill for a change, when the poison
fits would allow me. I shot several doves, which
were very tame in the mornings before the sun
melted the frost. The temperature twice touched
forty degrees below zero, and the average from the
beginning of June to the middle of September was
twenty-two degrees below zero at 7 a.m., and
eighty degrees above at 1 p.m.

One morning soon after daylight, a fine-looking
mule came and stood outside my tent, I put a rope
halter on him, and tied him up to a tree, and a few
hours after, the owner came up on another mule
with two Indians. He thanked me profusely for
catching his mule, but asked me how I managed
to put the halter on. I told him it had been quite
easy, as I had found him standing outside the tent
early in the morning. He then told me that the
mule had never yet been handled, and was one of
a hundred mules and horses he had bought for his
farm, at the yearly sale of animals, held on the

14



188 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

shores of Lake Titieaca. This mule and anoth
one had strayed away from his camp three days ag
and he said he was sure the other one had bee;
killed by a jaguar, and this one, seeing my cam
came and stayed for protection. After taking
some refreshment, he and his men left the mule I
had caught with me, and followed up its spoor to
look for the other. Next daj^ about 2 p.m. they
returned, having found the second mule killed, and
partly eaten, in the forest to the north of the River
Sacambaja. Two nights after this occurrence, I
was awakened in the night by a stampede of cattle
in the forest, the other side of the stream, where my
drinking water came from. In the morning I
counted twenty head of cattle on the beach, the
other side of the Cato River, which showed tha
jaguars or pumas had come up from the fore
below. The following day I was gathering wood
near the camp, and just as I got to the tent I
looked up, and saw a magnificent black panther,
or puma, walking slowly along the beach on t
south side of the river Sacambaja. I rushed int
the tent and got my rifle, and just managed to fi
a hurried shot at the beast as he was entering tb
forest. I put the sight at three hundred yards, am
missed him ; the bullets seemed to strike the groun
some few yards behind. I was sorry, for he w



'k



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 189

rather a rare specimen of the black panther,
I think. He was too big for a puma. I
examined the beech for signs and saw the
spoor of three or four jaguars or pumas, and
came across a big fat cow which they had
killed near the forest, close to my fresh- water stream
on the other side. As it was just then clear moon-
light every night, I sat up and watched on this side
of the stream, just opposite the cow, for five nights.
The only thing I saw was a big brown fox, with a
splendid brush, which, one night after I had been
waiting for an hour, appeared, stopped, looked at
me for a minute and trotted off. He was certainly
the biggest fox I had ever seen, and could easily
have been shot, but I let him go for two reasons :
first, because I was waiting for larger game, and
second, because no one who had ridden with the
Duke's pack would have thought of doing such a
thing. After five days, the cattle left the beach,
and returned to their feeding ground, which showed
that the jaguars and pumas had gone too. I was
now more careful about my two big fires, which
were kept going night and day, one in front of my
tent door, and the other near the kitchen; they
served two purposes, to frighten off any wild
animals, and to keep the camp cheery and warm at
nights. One morning after breakfast, I was on



I



190 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

the edge of the cUff , half-way up the Treasure Hi
taking a look at the surrounding country, to s
if anyone was coming my way, when I saw
Indian come out of the forest on the south side
the River Sacambaja, walk along the beach, an
cross the river to my side. Thinking he had com^
from Mendizabal with a message for me, I did not
hurry back, but walked slowly down. When I got
to the stream, I saw the Indian calmly walking off
with a big load of my charque (dried beef) on his
back. I shouted to him, but he took no notic^j
and hurried on faster across the first arm of the
river ; so I took my rifle from the tent, and fired
two shots at him. I did not want to kill him, and
deliberately fired a few yards wide of the mark,
which answered the purpose. He dropped t
charque and a good long llama wool rope as w^e
and when I fired two more shots for luck he ran as
hard as he could along the beach, and disappeared
into the forest at the other side, while I carried back
my beef and his rope.

It was now the middle of September, and the
nights and early mornings began to get warmer,
but the thermometer still registered seven degrees
or four degrees below zero. The first week in Octo-
ber the cold spell ceased, and the nights became
more pleasant, and one could sleep comfortably with



■^



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 191

three blankets on instead of six. The nights con-
tinued to get warmer, but not too warm, and the
mosquitoes now began to appear, of all varieties,
spotted ones and big black ones. I hung up my
big net on the hooks in the centre of the tent, and
the larger net as well on the inner side of the tent
to cover table, bed and other things, and they did
not disturb me.

On October 23rd, Mendizabal, his son and several
attendants arrived at the camp. He told me Zam-
brana had died a few weeks after he left here, also
the assistant cargo man, and that one of the other
men was so bad with fever that when he felt
better he started back to Cochabamba, and had
taken six weeks to get there. As soon as
Mendizabal heard about the four Indians, and the
poisoning, he told his son to return to Cuti, take
six of the native police with him to the village
where these men had said their home was, and
bring them down here. He told me he was sorry
I had let off the Indian thief, but said it would do
him a lot of good, as he would probably think he
had been lucky to get away. I had not been
troubled with the poison symptoms for some weeks,
but the day after Mendizabal arrived I had another
attack which was, however, not nearly so bad as the
others had been, and only lasted a day and a half.



192 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

Three days after he had left, his son came bac|
with the news that he had found the huts where
the men Hved, but they were not there, and had
not been to their homes for over four months. The
head man of the village had been told to have thei
arrested and brought to Cuti, when they wei
found.

I told Mendizabal that the best way, in mj
opinion, to imcover this big tapada -was to woi
systematically, and uncover the whole of the sid<
I was now working on, up to the end of the rool
as indicated by the formation ; it would take siil
months and require twenty-five workmen. H^
kindly arranged to provide me with twenty-five of
his own good Indians for the next season, I to find
wild cattle meat, and he the rest of their food. I
was to pay them 6/- every Saturday night, and
whenever one wanted to return to his home he was
to do so at the end of the week, and another would
be sent to replace him. If we succeeded in findinj
the treasure, it was agreed that I should, at my o^
expense, go to Arabia, buy him the finest Aral
stallion that money could procure, bring him ov(
myself, and deliver him to Mendizabal at Cuti.
we did not succeed next dry season, he said he wj
willing to go on every year till we gave it up or
found the treasure. We started for Cuti on



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 193

November 1st, just as the wet season showed signs
of coming on, leaving Manuel and one of Mendiz-
abaPs men as caretakers. I left Cuti two days
after getting there, and went home, intending to
return and begin the work again next April on the
terms agreed upon. On the way I met a coloured
man on the shore at Guayaquil, who was hawking
round a queer-looking animal about two feet high,
or rather longer, with a tail some eighteen inches
long, and paws like a bear. It was stuffed with long
grass, and cost me 10/-, turning out eventually to
be a bear with a tail. In his book on wild animals,
Rowland Ward says, " Amongst the rarest of
animals is a bear with a tail ; this animal is known to
exist, is very rare, and only to be found in the
forests of Equador," and this was where the man
who sold it to me said he got it. When I told
Mendizabal, he said there were several in the forest
near where we were working at Sacambaja.


Kanacki
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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 5 months ago #12500

  • Kanacki
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Hello my friends

Here is the chapters on Prodgers third and final attempt. No one can cay he did not give it ago? :huh:

CHAPTER IX

THE THIRD ATTEMPT

EARLY in April 1907, when I had re-
covered from the poison, I returned to
Oruro, getting there in time for the
great Indian Market at Juare. I
bought five fresh cargo mules at the market, and
engaged a man, his son, wife and daughter to cook
for me and look after the camp as far as Cocha-
bamba. The women rode on two donkeys. At
Cochabamba I discharged them, and picked up
Manuel's son and another man to look after the
mules and horse, and his daughter to cook and look
after the camp on the way, and arrived at
Mendizabal's place at Cuti on May 4th.

Mendizabal had bad news, old Jose Maria
Ampuera was dead. He had gone down one day
with a sheep for the two caretakers at Sacambaja,
who signalled to him not to cross the river, as it

was too high. He insisted, and in mid-stream his

194



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 195

horse lost its footing, and was taken off its legs by
the current, but managed to get ashore with the
old man on his side of the river. He rode back
to his home, got fever that night and died of the
effects a few days after. He was 110 years old,
according to his own reckoning, but Mendizabal
said he was probably older. He was a little deaf,
but, otherwise, had all his faculties about him;
all his teeth were in good order, and he had never
been to a dentist in his life ; he could eat ship's
biscuits without soaking them, and take a tot of
rum without showing it. He used often to ride
down from Cuti with a sheep for me, and go down
the river next day another nine leagues to get
bananas, oranges, pines and other things. But for
this accident he would probably have lived some
years longer.

Mendizabal's Indians now begged him not to ask
them to go down and work at the Caballo Cunco
Hill. They said it was so unhealthy that many
would die, and if they were to die they preferred
to die in their own homes. Three of the eight men
that had worked there last year had died, and the
dead nigger hill was exactly opposite. They told
him they would go anywhere else for him, or his
English friend, but implored him not to ask them
to work down there. However, I went down with



196 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

Manuel and his family and all the gear, and Manuel
and I went up the hill and worked alone most days,
while his wife and daughter attended to the camp,
and the boys stayed with the mules. The weather
was perfect, eighty-two degrees at 1 p.m., and
seventy degrees at 8 p.m., and I sent Manuel up
to tell Mendizabal, who soon came down with the
priest and his two head men. They stayed a week
cattle hunting, and tried their best to convince the
Indians that last year was a phenomenal year, and
probably we should not have one like it for a long
time ; but it was no use, they could not be
persuaded. Mendizabal then decided to send a
letter to his friend Solis at Palca, who owned a big
estancia, some leagues from there with over a hun-
dred families of colonias. In the meantime, there
was nothing to do, but wait.

I often tried to find one of those bears with a tail
that Mendizabal said existed here. Several times
I saw the track of what he said were tree bear, but
I never even saw one.

On 4th June Mendizabal sent me down a note,
saying there were jaguars (or tigers as he called
them) about again ; that the night before they had
killed three mules and a colt, four miles further
down the river from where I was, and that they
had laid down poison.



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 197

Three days later he wrote again that the poison
was no good ; they never touched the carcasses
again, but killed another of his mules and four of
the Indians' llamas. He said he had laid down
more poison.

Next day came another note saying that they
never touched the poison, but had gone further up
my way, that there were several, and the tracks
showed big footprints, and smaller ones which
looked Hke two lots. He promised to come up
next week and get up a hunt.

A few days later the cattle came out of the forest,
and remained about the beach, showing that
jaguars or pumas were disturbing them, and soon
an Indian came from down the river, and told me
that if I came with him for a mile or so along the
beach he would show me the track of several
pumas. I went along, and he pointed them out,
but I told him I thought the pads looked too big
for the pumas, and were more like jaguars, the
larger ones anyway. That evening about nine
o'clock, we heard animals moving in the bush, on
the other side of the stream. Manuel looked care-
fully out, and saw what he thought was a big jaguar
gazing over at the fires ; he pointed it out to me,
and soon after it moved off. I got the rifle and sat
near the kitchen fire, but I did not see anything



198 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

again. In the morning we found several tracks on
the edge of the forest on the beach, only thirty
yards from the fires. They were spoor of jaguars
right enough, there had been at least two of them.
In the morning the cattle were still on the beach,
showing that jaguars were still about, and in the
afternoon Mendizabal, his son, and ten of his men
arrived with several dogs, and pitched his tent near
mine. He had poisoned the dead animals, but the
jaguars had left them entirely alone, whether by
instinct, or because they were not hungry, I do not
know. That night at about 10, when we were
just thinking of turning in, and were sitting with
our rifles by the fire watching the edge of the forest,
on chance of anything appearing, a big fellow
showed himself about seventy yards off. We could
make out the form, but not the colour as, although
the night was clear and the moon bright, he was in
the shadow on the outside of the forest. I had a
shot at the body of the beast, and he turned round
sharply, and entered the bush again. We both
thought he was hit with the ounce ball, and in the
morning we found marks of blood in his track.
Quite near the place where we saw the jaguar, we
came across the dead body of a big black cow, which
had been killed and partly eaten by the beasts.
We cut her up, and appropriated all the meat,



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 199

deciding that it was of no use to poison it, as
experience had shown that the jaguars would not
return to poisoned meat. The Indians then
followed up the spoor of the wounded jaguar, and
we told them to be careful, and return if they saw
that he had gone into the thick of the forest.
They came back and said that he had gone into the
forest, and must have been badly hit. In the after-
noon the Indians and the dogs went along a path
at the edge of the forest, which the wounded animal
had made for last night, while Mendizabal and I
waited about a mile further down in an open spot,
the other side of an arm of the Sacambaja. Noth-
ing came out and soon the jaguar was found dead
by the Indians. It was a well marked male, in very
good condition, and measured 7ft. llins. when
skinned. A week afterwards the Indians found
another jaguar, a female, that had been shot by
some one else, and brought me the skin. It was
smaller than the other, but a better colour, and
measured 7ft. 7ins. I have still got both of these
skins. Next day Mendizabal and his men left.

Three days after our big jaguar hunt and two
days after Mendizabal and his men had left, an
Indian came to the camp early in the afternoon to
tell me he had seen what he called a black tiger.
He said that the beast was well known to the



200 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

Indians for leagues round ; it was very savage and
as large as a big donkey, and killed cattle and mules
frequently. They were afraid it would take to
killing people. I thought the size was exaggerated,
and in fact I took it to be an unusually large black
puma. As the native told me he had seen it cross
the path in the forest about two leagues from the
river on the other side and nearly opposite my
camp, I hoped to be lucky enough to get a shot at
it, so I crossed the river on my good little white
mule, and walked about or sat on logs of wood on
the banks. About 6 p.m. I was rewarded by seeing
the beast. He crossed the path in the forest,
walking slowly about two hundred yards up the
hill. I took my father's good double barrel sixteen
bore rifle by Holland and Holland, put the sight at
three hundred yards, fired, and missed him ; the
bullet appeared to strike the ground just about a
yard or two exactly below him. The Indian had not
exaggerated ; he was no black puma, he was a black
jaguar and seemed to be as large as the one I got
on the banks of the Challana River, which was 9ft.
2ins. long. He was black and looked in splendid
condition, and I thought what a pity it was that
Mendizabal and his son Juan were not with me,
as if we had all of us taken a shot at him one bullet
would have hit him. Anyhow, I am sorry to say



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 201

I was duffer enough to miss this beautiful and rare
specimen and never had the luck to see him again.
The next morning after my bathe in the river, I
took my gun with me and strolled along a small
stream that runs into the big river, to have some
pot shots at the parrots as they settled on a big
wild cotton tree. This tree was a very favourite
one for birds of all sorts to alight on, and nearly
every morning and evening you could be pretty
sure to get either parrots or bush chickens for a
savoury stew. Before I got to the big cotton tree,
I saw a young bull calf standing in the stream,
about a year and four or five months old I should
say, fat, and in nice condition. He was standing
on three legs and easing his near fore. On closer
examination I found that he had been wounded in
that limb, so I thought to myself somebody has
been after the wild cattle, never thinking for a
moment it could have any connection with our late
cattle hunt. I returned at once to the camp and
brought Manuel with a lasso, which we threw over
his neck. With the help of four Indians we
dragged the calf ashore and after killing and
skinning we found that one of my bullets had
penetrated the flesh, injured the bone, and lodged
in his leg. The only way I can account for it is
this. When we were shooting wild cattle five days



202 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

before, one of the three that fell to my rifle was a
big fat cow, I aimed behind the left shoulder and
hit her just above the root of the tail, breaking the
bone. We went up and killed the cow with a shot
in the head behind the ear. There were seven or
eight head of cattle stampeding in a body quite
close to us, and as they passed I aimed at the big
cow with the result described, and the bullet must
have glanced off the cow, and lodged in the
shoulder of the year and half old calf. So I had
killed two head of wild cattle with one shot, which
does not occur very often, I should say. The wild
cattle live all through the forest round hereabouts ;
you can see their fresh dung in different Indian
paths every now and again. There is very little
grass about and yet the cattle are all in good fat
condition ; the natives say they eat leaves from the
various trees and guavas. My mules got very thin
on being turned into the forest to cater for them-
selves, and the only thing they seemed to go for
was the wild guava. When I found they were
losing condition I sent Manuel's son Jose up the
mountains on part of MendizabaPs estate to cure
the mules and graze them, leaving only my white
saddle mule and one of the donkeys in camp, with
plenty of barley in bundles for them. Another
reason for sending them up the mountain was that



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 208

the dun coloured mule had been bitten by a vampire
bat three weeks before. I healed it up and washed
it every day, morning and night, with lysol and
water and plugged it up with a little cotton wool
dipped in balsam, sprinkling the withers over with
a powder of iodoform and zinc mixed, to keep off
the loathsome Verni fly.

One day while walking up the long steep path
to work, I was stung on the back of the neck by a
big black ant, called tucanderos. The sting was
very painful, and swelled up as big as a walnut,
but I cured myself by hot fomentations, and the
application of young castor oil leaves, which grew
everywhere about. The ants measure an inch or
more ; the males are black, and the females brown ;
they are fortunately not common.

On one part of the Treasure Hill just where the
big egg-shaped stone blasted out, there were also
dozens of big scorpions, of which I preserved a few.
No one was stung by them. A few days after
Mendizabal left, one of his mountain Indians, who
came down with a sheep, eggs, butter and other
provisions, told me that there was a Condor Real
(King of the Condors) which lived up the mountains
near his shepherd's hut.

He said there were several common condors with
the Condor Real, which was much bigger than any

^5



204 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

condor he had ever seen before. This man had
lived all his life in the high Andes, and was, there-
fore, competent to judge.

It will be interesting here to quote what Baron
von Humboldt says about these birds in his book
" Earth and Sea " :

" The condors of the Cordilleras are the biggest
birds that fly. They are black with a white collar ;
the females are just as large, but are a coffee colour
brown and have no collar. They live at a height
of fourteen to sixteen thousand feet and measure
anything from tip to tip from 7ft. to 14 ft. The
Condor Real or King of the Condors is a pure white
bird, and measures as much as twenty to twenty-
five feet from tip to tip. In the whole range of
the Andes, I do not think twenty-five exist."

I arranged to go to the home of the Indian the
following week, and he agreed to sell me a llama
for 28/-, which we would kill and leave near the
place where he had seen the big bird, and then I
would try to get him with a rifle. I gave him a note
to Mendizabal, telling him about it, and asking
whether I might go to his shepherd's hut in eight
days. He readily gave me permission, and very
kindly sent down his favourite Arab grey to bring
me up to his place, so that my saddle mule could



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 205

be kept for the mountain climb. He also said he
would come with me both for the sport, and also
to see his sheep feeding in the mountains.

Six days later I left on Mendizabal's horse, start-
ing after breakfast at 7 a.m. It was nine leagues
to Cuti, and all uphill. At about 7 p.m., when it
was just dark, and the stars were out, but not the
moon, I got off my horse to walk down a few yards
for a drink of water, and not taking sufficient care
and notice of the path I stepped over the side, and
slid right down the steep bank, dragging the horse
with me, till I fell up against a big rock with the
horse against me. I helped him to slue round, and
scramble up again, and, by hanging on to his tail,
I got dragged up again. I found that I had hurt
my back and side so much that I could not mount,
and I had to sit there in my white tropical clothes,
with my big poncho over me, for the whole night.
In the morning, at daylight, an Indian came along,
and, with his help, I mounted and rode the three
miles down to Mendizabal's place. This piece of
stupidity kept me on my back for four weeks, and
the worst of it was that I had to give up the
Condor Real, and it was six months before I could
do without plaster or bandage. Three weeks
previously a man fell over this same spot, and wheu
picked up dead his body was in a pulp.



206 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

While I am on the subject of the Condor Real I
will relate what I was told by C. Franc, whom I
met with his wife and sister at Jura. His father
who was a very good shot, and extremely fond of
sport in the Andes, heard from the mountain
Indians that there was a big white bird far larger
than any condor living in the mountains, at the
back of Inquisivi near some old abandoned mines.
There were several white-necked condors guarding
the King of the Condors, and bringing him food.
No house was near and nobody was working there.
The father, who had a fine collection of birds in his
house in Italy, knew at once that this bird was a
specimen of the Condor Real. He got two of the
men to accompany him and his mule men, and
started off with provisions for a fortnight. They
camped near some of the abandoned mines, killed
two llamas they had brought for the purpose, and
abandoned the carcasses about half a mile from his
camp. The next day the white-necked condors
began to fly down and circle round the dead llamas.
His father and the men remained watching, quietly,
in the camp, and on the third day the big white
bird was seen feasting on one of the dead llamas,
with some of the other condors sitting at a distance,
and others hovering overhead. He started, very
carefully, to stalk the white bird, so as to get a sure



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 207

shot, but, when he got a Httle less than three hun-
dred yards away, the big bird looked as though it
were disturbed, and fearing he might miss his
chance he fired, sighting the Winchester at three
hundred yards, and was lucky enough to kill the
bird stone dead. But as soon as the other birds
saw what had happened to their King they began
to circle round over him, making angry noises and
flapping their wings, so fiercely that, though he
saw the big white bird lying still, he was afraid to
go nearer, and thought it prudent to return to the
shelter of his camp in the mines. The condors
came flying round his camp, flapping their wings
angrily against the entrance of the mines. All that
afternoon and the whole of the next day, the
condors kept flying about the mine close to the
entrance, flapping their wings and shrieking. On
the third day everything seemed quiet, and they
ventured out again, only to find that all the white-
necked condors had gone, and the big white bird
had disappeared too. He said there was no doubt
that the condors had carried away their King.
This was in July, 1903, and the next year he made
a special trip out from home to try and locate the
bird again, but was unsuccessful. A Condor Real
is worth a good sum, I should say about £500 or
more. Before closing with the Jesuits and their



208 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

mines and treasure, I will relate three instances of
discovered treasure that came to my knowledge.
All three finders were personally very well known
to me. The first concerned a very rich gold mine
in Peru, which we will call the Monte Cristo mine,
formerly worked by Jesuits, and abandoned by
them when they were expelled from Peru. A
captain formerly belonging to an English cavalry
regiment was staying at San Francisco a few years
ago, and made friends there with a Jesuit Father,
who told him he had all the papers relating to the
rich Monte Cristo mine, with all directions where
to go and how to find it. He said he would hand
the captain the papers if he liked, and should he
succeed in locating the mine he could denounce
it and give the priest ten per cent of the proceeds.
The captain gladly accepted on these terms, and
eventually found the mine and denounced it.

I must explain here that there are strict rules
laid down by all the republics of South America and
British Guiana, which have existed for hundreds of
years, and which are called the old Spanish Laws
of Mines. These rules are meant to prevent
mining concessions lying idle, and once ground is
applied for, and old mines or new ones denounced,
when the concession is granted the mines have to
be worked and must not remain idle. Often the



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 209

owner, who either cannot afford to work the ground
or else has no intention of doing so, simply pays up
the annual rent to the Government of the country,
which is not a very costly thing to do, and then
calmly waits for some big Company to come along
and give him a good lump sum for doing practically
nothing. This happens occasionally, but not very
often, as Company owners know the mining laws,
and most of them are not in the habit of throwing
money away for nothing.

Here are some of these rules :

(1) After a discoverer has denounced a mining
property and asked for the concession, a notice shall
appear for fifteen days in any newspaper of the
district. Should no opposition be made at the end
of that time the concession shall be granted.

(2) Forty-two days after the concession has been
granted a stone monument at least three feet high,
with four corner stones, must be erected, and then
possession will be given.

(3) Forty-two days after possession has been
given work must be started, two men to be
employed to each hectare applied for.

(4) If the discoverer does not comply with these
conditions the mine may be re-denounced by any-



210 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

body, and the original discoverer loses all right to
the ground.

(5) Anyone re-denouncing the claim must, after
notifying the Minister of Mines or his agent, put
an advertisement in any paper published and sold
in the district, calling on the original owner to
comply with the law within fifteen days, and also
paste up a copy in the District Court House. If
he does this, and the owner of the claim does not
comply with the law and gives no satisfactory reason
for his delay to work his mine according to law
within the said time of fifteen days, he loses all
right, and the mine is then transferred to the re-
denouncer.

Two years after the captain had denounced the
rich old Jesuit mine, Monte Cristo, he returned
ready to start work and re-develop the property,
but on arriving there he was disagreeably surprised
to find work going on in full swing. He was told
by the manager that his discovery had been re-
denounced by Don Fulano six months after he left,
under the Mining Laws No. 3 and No. 4 quoted
above, and as neither he nor his authorized repre-
sentative had answered the notice as per Rule No,
5 quoted, after fifteen days it was made over to him,
and he worked it with a considerable number of



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 211

men for eight months, and then sold it to a com-
pany for £72,000. The manager said the Company
gave him a salary of £1,200 a year. He told the
captain it was very hard lines on him, but it showed
how fatal it was to denounce a rich discovery and
apply for a concession, until he was certain of being
able to comply with the mining laws. The captain
was so disappointed and grieved at his loss that he
immediately went on a shooting trip into the forest,
where he got malarial fever and died.

A similar thing happened to me once. One
year I bought two good saddle mules, hired some
cargo animals, two men and a boy, and went
shooting guanacos, and vicunas, and looking for
old mines in the Cordilleras. I was away for four
months, and during this time I came across a good
many Indians who lived there with their sheep and
llamas far away from any town, and in some cases
miles from the nearest neighbour, and they showed
me many old gold and silver mines and one copper
mine. I made a note of them all, and took samples
from each one. On returning to civilization, I
denounced one, not the best, but a good mine, paid
the dues, and exactly a year afterwards forfeited
the property through not complying with the law
respecting labour. The man who re-denounced it
put on forty men for six months, and sold it to a



212 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

Company for £7,000. Personally I think the
mining law respecting the proper working of con-
cessions a very good one and most fair. You should
always be careful not to denounce unless you know
you are going to derive benefit by doing so. There
are many people who are quite ready to reap the
profits of any rich find, but who would never dream
of taking the trouble, and going through the rough
preliminary work of finding them.

The second instance I am going to relate refers
to a great silver mine in Bolivia, which we will call
San Carlos, and which was worked by the Jesuits
and subsequently lost sight of for many years when
they left Peru. In this case there were two
partners concerned, both of whom I know per-
sonally ; the one was a rich man who found all the
money for expenses, and the other a well known
mining engineer, who did the rough part of the
work, and went to locate the lost mine. After
two years among the Indians they showed him the
place, and he was guided there by two Indian girls.
The mine was opened out and proved to be so rich
in silver that in a few years the two men were worth
half a million sterling and over. This mine is still
in work, and still belongs to the finders, whom we
will call Don Alfredo and Don Jorge. Don Jorge
died, and left his share to his eldest son, who has



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 218

extensive properties at home and in Bolivia, is a
good sportsman, and divides his time betw^een Eng-
land and Bolivia and Chili. The other partner is
still alive and enjoys the income derived from his
half share. Many workmen are employed on this
property, and much expensive machinery has been
erected. In this case no one received any benefit
except the discoverers.

The third case was that of a gentleman whom we
will call Mr. Clarke from San Francisco. He got
hold of some documents relating to an old Jesuit
mine, which we will call San Martin, and which
they had worked till they left Peru. There were
a lot of silver bars ready for shipment, supposed to
be buried in this mine, and he started off with the
documents to locate the place. He found nothing
but a big high hill ; the place to all appearances had
been covered over by a slide of earth and stones
caused by the earthquake shocks of 1842 and 1867.
However, he began the work of uncovering this
big mound, with the help of two men and a boy.
Clarke had a few thousand pounds to start with,
and after working away for fourteen years with a
few men, never more than five and sometimes not
so many, and being convinced he was on the right
spot, he went to the States to see his brother, who
had done pretty well with his horses in South



214 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA



I



America, and try and persuade him to help. His
brother, however, did not beUeve in this old mine
hunt and refused to stand in. But Clarke found
another man, a manager of a big store, who thought
he was on the spot right enough, and offered ETm
£40 a month of his £60 monthly pay, to enable him
to employ more labour. In two years' time he
removed the big mound of hill and found the mine.
Six months afterwards the bank shipped on
Clarke's account silver bars worth £400,000. He
gave his friend £3,000 in cash, and £1,500 a year
for life, and continued the working of the mine,
which proved a valuable one, making his friend
manager with an additional salary of £1,500 a year.
Clarke died in London a few years ago, leaving
£2,000,000.

Upper Peru, now called Bolivia, was always con-
sidered by the Incas as the richest part of the
Empire. The Jesuits came to the country some
years before the last Inca Chief died, and found and
continued to work many of the richest gold and
silver mines belonging to the Incas, prospecting
and exploring the Andes and the tropical rivers all
the time they were in Peru. They thought so
much of Upper Peru for its great mineral wealth
that they actually plotted a revolution against the
Government, their idea being to form a republic of



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 215

their own in the country that is now Bolivia. It
was for this reason that the Government of Lima,
on discovering this plot, expelled them from the
country.

The Jesuits never worked for long at a mine that
was not a good one, and in prospecting for old
mines the good can always be told from the bad
by the way they have been worked. There are
many fabulously wealthy mines which have been
lying idle since their times, and up to the present
have never been denounced. I personally know
of several, gold, silver, copper, lapis lazuli, quick-
silver and others. I have a sample of copper out
of a lode six feet wide taken from one of these old
mines, which gives fifty-nine per cent of copper
and is still undenounced. Mining companies,
instead of sending men to prospect for new fields,
would do well to send and look for some of these
abandoned Jesuit mines.

In the provinces of San Juan and Rioja in the
Argentine and in Bolivia I have seen many so rich
that the lodes are actually in sight and no dump
is to be seen. The famous silver mines of Potosi,
to which I have already referred, gave in three hun-
dred years a total value of £340,000,000 worth of
silver, and is still giving £40 to £50,000 worth a
year. The Cerro Potosi is 15,400ft. high, the



216 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA



1



town 13,200ft., and the atmosphere is so rarified
that many children die soon after birth. The In-
dians in this district eat clay dumplings which they
put in their stew. Then there are the silver mines
of Muanchaca,^ 13,200ft. high, which exported
8,000,000ozs. of silver annually between 1892 and
1897, till the lower workings of the Pulaca^o mine
were flooded with water.

The silver mines of Oruro for years yielded
1,700,000 ozs. a year, Colguechaca 1,500,000, and
Guadaloupe, 700,000. The most valuable tin
mines are those on the Huanuni near Oruro ; there
are others at Inquisivi, Tres Cruces (I), Arque, and
other places. I discovered one at the Tres Cruces
that was afterwards taken up and sold for £19,000.
The tin mines of Bolivia are very rich, and the
higher altitudes seem to yield a bigger percentage
than the lower, and the workings are more
accessible. I once located a tin property that gave
at 13,000ft. 9 per cent, 15 per cent at 14,000ft.,
25 per cent at 15,000ft., and at 16,000ft. as much
as 60 per cent, according to samples essayed at
Lima. The same thing happens in the case of gold,
silver, and copper; the richest mines are often
found in the most inaccessible places.

Prospecting for old mines is a rough life, but
when your journeys take you along the Cordilleras



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 217

you are sure of a healthy and enjoyable time in an
exhilarating climate. You have bright sunshine
all day and freezing cold at night. There is a fair
amount of sport to be had on these trips, and it is
advisable to take both gun and rifle. For the gun
there are geese, duck, martinettes, partridges,
woodcock, and snipe; and for the rifle you get
jaguar, bear, wild cattle, puma, vicuna, deer,
guanaco, and the white-collared condor, the biggest
bird that flies. On several occasions when I was
far away from any kind of civilization, and there
was no habitation in sight so far as the eye could
see, vicunas have remained staring at me, and
allowed me to get up quite close to them before
galloping off. I remember once suddenly coming
across a herd of eleven vicunas, which stood up in
a line not more than fifty to seventy yards off, and
remained stationary for quite two minutes ; they
were wondering I suppose what object it was that
suddenly appeared on a big black mule. They
looked so graceful that I did not disturb them and
never fired at all. I have shot them for their pelts
when the Indians have told me the fur is at its best,
and on two occasions for meat when we ran short ;
their flesh is not very nice to eat, but not quite so
nasty as llama. I managed also to get three puma
on these prospecting trips ; one was a pretty good



218 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

one measuring 7ft. Tins, when green, another was
7ft. 2ins. and the third 6ft. 7ins.

While on one of these trips to locate silver mines
and bring back samples for a German firm, I was
travelling one day with fourteen cargo mules, two
saddle mules, bell mare and horse, and happened
to be riding along with a gun in front about half-
way up the forest, with my boy walking behind
carrying the rifle, when I heard some poujil. I
got off the mule to get a stalking shot, and on
turning the corner just round the bend came on a
magnificent jaguar, lying down sunning himself on
a green bank not twenty yards off. I was much
relieved when he got up and trotted quietly away
into the jungle. These beasts will never attack a
man in daylight unless they are hungry or angry.
The natives in the interior of Bolivia near Santa
Cruz hunt them with the spear, rifle, and dogs, when
they can locate them in the savannas or grass
plains, and the Government pay them £2 10s. for
each skull, as they are known to be dangerous man-
eaters. But they only go after men when they get
too old and inactive to catch wild cattle, deer and
pigs. It is also said that once they have tasted
human blood they prefer it to any other kind of
food.

In spite of all the trouble I had taken, I had



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 219

eventually to give up the search for the treasure on
the Caballo Cunco Hill. Neither SoHs Mendizabal
nor I could get the necessary number of men to
continue the work satisfactorily, and we tried
several times to form a small company from Chili
to go into the work, and also to uncover the many
smaller tapadas that still remain intact near the
convent and the church, but without success.
Colonel TroUope, of Lord's Castle, Barbados,
who was interested in the project and promised me
the money to take over fifty men from Barbados
in 1912, unfortunately died before this could be
done. A well known mining engineer came all the
way from Tacna at my suggestion to look at my
handiwork, and see whether he thought what was
being uncovered was the work of man or nature;
I have his report in which he forms the same idea
as I do.

Now what has this big cave been dug out of the
mountain side for, and why has it been covered
over with so much care? Not for any amusement,
I am sure. The only thing I know for certain is
that Jose Ampuera found a big gold bell there,
sixty years ago, but ceased excavating because one
of his sons was killed by a piece of rock. Then
there is the case of the two mule men, who un-
covered one of the numerous smaller tapadas, and

i6



220 ADVENTURES IN BOLIVIA

in eight days took out £1,500 worth of treasure.
I still have hopes of being able to bring,
say, forty men from the West Indies for each dry
season, May to September, and finish the job. It
might or it might not be a success ; who can tell ?



So there you have it. The story of Prodgers search for Jesuit treasure in Bolivia.

Was it the end of the story? No by all means.....

to be continued.....

Kanacki
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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 5 months ago #12501

  • Kanacki
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Hello again

Prodgers third and and last attempt was sponsored by a Arthur Ortenby with ultimatley sent him and other investors bankrupt. As told in this 1912 newspaper story. This image is hidden for guests. Please log in or register to see it.

But like with all treasure legends this legend attracted it fair share of adventurers and dreamers.

Sacambaya was not quiet again for long until a new generation of treasure hunter arrived to wrestle its elusive gold from those brooding hills.

To be continued....


Kanacki
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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 5 months ago #12505

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Stayed up way to late last night to read this, but thank you Kanacki. I did enjoy it! Looking forward to more.
Dump a democrat!
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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 5 months ago #12513

I agree Bil, kanacker has done excellent. Fascinating.

I especially was interested in this part -->

Upper Peru, now called Bolivia, was always con-
sidered by the Incas as the richest part of the
Empire. The Jesuits came to the country some
years before the last Inca Chief died, and found and
continued to work many of the richest gold and
silver mines belonging to the Incas, prospecting
and exploring the Andes and the tropical rivers all
the time they were in Peru. They thought so
much of Upper Peru for its great mineral wealth
that they actually plotted a revolution against the
Government, their idea being to form a republic of



THE THIRD ATTEMPT 215

their own in the country that is now Bolivia. It
was for this reason that the Government of Lima,
on discovering this plot, expelled them from the
country.

This is precisely why they were expelled in 1767 from Mexico, leaving Tayopa for me.

Don Jose de La Mancha
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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 5 months ago #12551

  • Kanacki
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Hello All

Not all the documents of Jesuit activities are recorded in Bolivia. As the site in question was connected to the Jesuit in Paraguay. The Jesuits organized Reductions.

A Jesuit Reduction was a type of settlement for indigenous people in Latin America created by the Jesuit Order during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The strategy of the Spanish Empire was to gather native populations into centers called Indian Reductions (reducciones de indios), in order to Christianize, tax, and govern them more efficiently. The Jesuit interpretation of this strategy was implemented primarily in an area that corresponds to modern day Paraguay amongst the Tupi-Guarani peoples. Later reductions were extended into areas now part of Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia.

Jesuit reductions were different from the reductions in other regions because the indigenous people (Indians) were expected to convert to Christianity but not necessarily to European culture.Under the leadership of both the Jesuits and native caciques, the reductions achieved a high degree of autonomy within the Spanish colonial empire. With the use of Indian labour, the reductions became economically successful.

When their existence was threatened by the incursions of Bandeirante slave traders, Indian militia were created that fought effectively against the colonists.The resistance by the Jesuit reductions to slave raids, as well as their high degree of autonomy and economic success, have been cited as contributing factors to the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Americas in 1767. The Jesuit reductions present a controversial chapter of the evangelisational history of the Americas, and are variously described as jungle utopias or as theocratic regimes of terror.

It was not one reason why the Jesuits was expelled from the New world but several. one such reason was the successful and powerful influence the Jesuits had over the Indians that was perceived rightly or wrongly as a threat to the Spanish throne.

in the 16th century, priests of different religious orders set out to evangelize the Americas, bringing Christianity to indigenous communities. The colonial governments and missionaries agreed on the strategy of gathering the often nomadic indigenous populations in larger communities called reductions in order to more effectively govern, tax, and Christianize them. Reductions generally were also construed as an instrument to make the Indians adopt European lifestyles and values, which was not the case in the Jesuit reductions, where the Jesuits allowed the Indians to retain many of their pre-colonial cultural practices.

In Mexico the policy was called congregación, and also took the form of the hospitals of Vasco de Quiroga, and the Franciscan Missions of California, and in Portuguese Brazil they were known as aldeias. Legally, under colonial rule, Indians were classified as minors, in effect children, to be protected and guided to salvation by European missionaries.

The Jesuits, only formally founded in 1540,were relatively late arrivals in the New World, from about 1570, especially compared to the Dominicans and Franciscans, and therefore had to look to the frontiers of colonization for mission areas.

The Jesuit reductions originated in the early seventeenth century when the Bishop Lizarraga asked for missionaries for Paraguay. In 1609, acting under instructions from Phillip III, the Spanish governor of Asunción made a deal with the Jesuit Provincial of Paraguay.The Jesuits agreed to set up hamlets at strategic points along the Paraná river, that were populated with Indians and maintained a separation from Spanish towns. The Jesuits were to "enjoy a tax holiday for ten years" which extended longer.This mission strategy continued for 150 years until the Jesuits were expelled in 1767.

You will notice Don Jose I mentioned a 150 year tax holiday. ;)

Fundamentally the purpose, as far as the government was concerned, was to safeguard the frontier with the reductions where Indians were introduced to European culture. In 1609 three Jesuits began the first mission in San Ignacio Guazú. In the next 25 years, 15 missions were founded in the province of Guairá—but since some of these were within the Portuguese area they were subjected to frequent destructive raids by Bandeirantes of São Paulo to enslave the Indians. In 1631, most of the reductions moved west into Uruguay, which was under Spanish jurisdiction, in some cases to be re-opened from the 1680s onwards.

The missions also secured the Spanish Crown's permission, and some arms, to raise militias of Indians to defend the reductions against raids. The bandeirantes followed the reductions into Spanish territory and in 1641 the Indian militia stopped them at Mbororé.The militias could number as many as 4,000 troops, and their cavalry was especially effective, wearing European-style uniforms and carrying bows and arrows as well as muskets. In the Treaty of Madrid (1750) the Spanish ceded to the Portuguese territories including the Misiones Orientales, reductions now in Brazil, threatening to expose the Indians again to the far more oppressive Portuguese system.

The Jesuits complied, trying to relocate the population across the Uruguay river as the treaty allowed, but the Guarani militia under the mission-born Sepé Tiaraju resisted in the Guarani War, and defeated Spanish troops, obliging them in 1754 to sign an armistice in Guarani - a victory that helped to ensure the eventual defeat of the reductions.

The effectiveness of this native force had great implications. The war was ended when a larger force of 3,000 combined Spanish and Portuguese troops crushed the revolt in 1756, with Guarani losses in battles and massacres afterwards of over 1,500.

The reductions came to be considered a threat by the secular authorities (as well as by the indigenous people), and caught up in the growing attack on the Jesuits in Europe for unrelated reasons. The economic success of the reductions, which was considerable, although not as great as it has often been described, combined with the Jesuits' independence to become a cause of fear.

The reductions were considered by some philosophies as ideal communities of noble savages, and were praised as such by Montesquieu in his L'Esprit des Lois (1748), and even by Rousseau, no friend of the church. Their intriguing story has continued to be the subject of some romanticizing, as in the film The Mission (1986), whose story relates to the events of the 1750s, shown on a miniature scale.

It is generally accepted by modern historians that the reasons for the contemporary opposition to them were political, humanitarian, and economic.When the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish realm in 1767, the reductions slowly died out, becoming victims of slave raids or being absorbed into European society.

Some of the Reductions have continued to be inhabited as towns while most have been abandoned and remain only as ruins as we see in some parts of Brazil.

The Jesuits had reductions in Bolivia one such reduction is not far from Sacambaya. The reduction was called Concepción santa Cruz and still the building exist today and was part of 6 missions of Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos.

The monastery as Plazula was not really a mission, I had a hard time convincing Crow of that. ;) but more of out chapel for a visiting priest of lay brother. The was no full time Jesuit priest there living.( Pretty much the same as our esteemed colleagues discovered Taypoa mining Settlement my friends.

In fact the Concepcion Santa Cruz had only 2 Jesuits running the mission there. There was with all the other mission in Bolivia only about 12 Jesuits. 47 in Paraguay region where the main bulk of Reductions where.

Sacambaya was just a locality where two locally important river junction. However I do have a theory what was happening at the site but I will allude to that in a later post.

As the Next person to be involved in this fascinating location was Edgar Sanders.

And his story deserved to be be told in greater detail.....

To be continued....

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12682

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It seems after Prodgers 3 attempts the story did not die. Prodgers principle backer Arthur Ortesby filled for bankruptcy. One of Prodgers alleged partners was a mysterious man called William Greenslopes Tredinick. He approached the later famous explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett who later disappeared in the Mato Graso region of Brazil looking for the lost city of Z.

Fawcett who had extensive surveying experience in the region was not interested in it. He claimed that an bolivian found the treasure 30 years before and did not believe there was any treasure left?

William Greenslopes Tredinick. was later blamed for destroying the egg shaped stone but who was he? Some says he was an ex Boer war soldier who became involved searching for the treasure.

Searching through archival records of shipping records, birth death and marriages it appears there was no man by that name. It was I suspect pseudonym used by Progers as there had been several attempts on his life while in Boliva by attempted poisoning.

Prodgers died in 1923, but before he died he managed to pass on the information to Edger Sanders A Swiss mining engineer. who made at least 3 trips to the site.

To be contin.....


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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12683

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Edgar Sanders made at least 3 trips to the site. It was the start of his unholy obsession with the site.

Research confirms he made 3 trips to Bolivia in 1925, 1926, and the big expedition 1928-1929

It seems his activities did not go unnoticed by the Catholic church...

to be continued..

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12690

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Back...and listening... :P
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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12693

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The venture was a big risk to Dr Sanders career. However he must of found enough evidence on his first visits to justify the great expense with time and effort. There was no more person so obsessed with the site than Sanders. The first visit he dug into a tunnel and discovered box with a silver cross and an ancient parchment with the words.

"You who reach this place withdraw. This spot is dedicated to god almighty and the one who enters, a dolorous death await him in this world and eternal condemnation in the world he goes to.
The riches belong that belong to our master are not for humans. Withdraw and you will live in peace and blessing of the master will make you life sweet and you will die rich with the goods of this world. Obey the command of God the almighty our master in life and death, In the name of the father sun Holy ghost. Amen"


Needless to say for Sanders he was now hooked that some thing was big hidden at Sacambaya was hidden.


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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12694

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The newspaper helped beat up the story in which help in part to garnish investors for the 1928 expedition. In all fairness now one put such an organized effort of raising funds and planing than Edgar sanders. However like with all expeditions some things was not foreseen.

He founded the Sacambay Exploration company and proceeded to raise funds for the expedition. He raised a considerable about of money for the time.

To be continued.........


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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12703

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Dr sanders was obsessed with the story. Convinced there was some thing there he set up the Sacambaya exploration company. The documents was given to Sanders via Prodgers was reported allegedly verified by an expert in the British Museum of Spanish documents.This allegation would become a bone of contention by later critics of the enterprise.

Prodgers never had the original copy as it was still in the possession of Corina San Roman. So for critics to question the authenticy of a copied document is a moot point..

The only questionable text would of been the alleged curse and prayer found by sanders himself. That as I am aware has never been substantiated. As sanders gathered interested parties together for an expedition there were others just as determined to expose the whole story as a hoax. Where was the truth?

The truth is perhaps some where in between. Like with all treasure legends nothing is not what it seems.

The following picture is of Dr Sanders with pipe examining documents. With his second in Charge standing behind. He would later become a spy in World war2.

To be continued...

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12704

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It appears that sanders was making some very powerful enemies in the Catholic league who took badly the claims that Jesuits was involved in murdering hundreds of natives workers. In the early years of when the story was first publish they had kept quiet but by 1928. They started to refute the claims of Sanders..

in the following newspaper The Catholic Press story dated 15th of March 1828 stated in no uncertain terms the following....

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12705

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Even in a mist of controversy at home in England with Rumblings by the Catholic newspaper that the story was all a scam. Sanders and his supporters persevered. But to his credit Sanders perhaps created the best opportunity to solve the mystery of Sacambaya.

He enlisted a start studded cast of fellow adventurers that some of them deserve their own stories to be told in their own right.

The following picture is of the expedition members at Sacambaya with their Bolivian helpers taken in 1929. This image is hidden for guests. Please log in or register to see it.


In March 1928 Sanders and 22 other expedition members sailed out of Liverpool to Bolivia equipped 45 tons of equipment. 4 drills, 2 compressors, 2 Moriss 6 wheeled tractors and a hydraulic pump.

If there was any expedition that had a chance we must try to understand why they failed so miserably?

To be continued....

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12711

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Did the Catholic newspaper publish valid points?

1. For the claims about the parchment not being authentic because of the type of Spanish written? It appear Sanders had contacted the most learned scholar over the script.

Sir Edward Denison Ross (June 6, 1871 – September 20, 1940) was an Orientalist and one of the world's foremost linguists, specializing in languages of the Far East. He could read 49 languages, and speak 30 of them.

He was director of the British Information Bureau for the Near East. Along with Eileen Power, he wrote and edited a 26 volume series on India, The Broadway Travelers. The series included the diary of the 17th century naval chaplain Henry Teonge. In 1934 Edward Denison Ross attended Ferdowsi Millenary Celebration in Tehran.

He was the first director of the School of Oriental and African Studies from 1916 to 1937.

Here is a painting of the man below...

To be continued...

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12760

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The Catholic Newspaper kept its personal attack on the projects.

Was there are valid points to their counter claims? This image is hidden for guests. Please log in or register to see it. This image is hidden for guests. Please log in or register to see it.

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12761

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Among the group of adventurers organized by sanders was Stafford Jolly.

Stratford Jolly wrote his own book about the adventure in Sacambaya. called TREASURE TRAIL.



Jolly gives a good description of the search headed by Sanders.

To be continued...

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Re: The Sacambaya treasure 6 years 4 months ago #12762

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The Sanders Expedition soon discovered there Morris 6 wheel tractor had to be left behind in Inquisiv as the road was not able to take the tractor. All have equipment and large equipment was stripped down and was ferried buy pack animal over the period of weeks with the only loss of a box of coffee.

The site was everything Saunders had told them. freezing cold at night boiling hot in the day. plagued by ravenous fleas and other parasites that bit through bare feet of the sand of the river bed. the local Bolivians because of this and native superstitions usually avoided the place like the plague.

The party started on the 15th of June and spent the first 10 days removing the thick wet earth from the tunnel where Saunders had allegedly found the cross and parchment previously in 1926. To their dismay the tunnel turned out to be an Dead end.Saunders thought rightly or wrongly that the tunnel was a red herring by the Jesuits.

They then searched the ancient fortress which lay at the equal from the square stone heap. as to the original tunnel. With no luck there they returned to the square stone heap and tunnel direct downwards hitting virgin rock. Thus dismaying themselves again.

A mood of despondency had set in.

to be continued

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