Brigand Pathways

Brigands, apart from being the stars in romantic dramas much to the liking of European writers, were the terror of Andalusian roads. The usual lines of communication, crossing either the plains or the hills, were the scenes of hold- ups by these men who knew the lay of the land perfectly, as well as the risks they took. Their degree of specialization was such that they used different horses, depending on whether they might have to flee across the open plains pursued by the "Migueletes", or up the hills, jumping over precipices and galloping up steep mountain sides.

They sometimes became popular heroes, their fame caught the imagination of the many villages affected by their lightning robberies nearby. The renowned "Niños de Ecija", gained their fame in the short period from 1814 to 1818, during which time they ruled the hills of Cordova and Seville. Utrera, a walled town with a castle, also suffered the menace of brigands in the rich farms dotted about nearby. Further south, their exploits reached into the hills around Ronda and the thick oak woods near Jimena de la Frontera and the dazzling whiteness of Medina Sidonia.

As quick as the winds that blow in the Straits and as elusive as the torrents that flow in the Andalusian hills, the brigand became invisible in the exhuberant variety of the land where he was born.

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