Montezuma’s Aztec Treasure






This is one of the most interesting stories in North America. The tale also appears in the Utah section because both states have been sited as likely locations for this treasure.



In 1519, Hernando Cortez took Montezuma captive and took the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Cortez did this and other actions on his own. Enough concern was generated by his actions that Governor Velasquez, the so-called legitimate Governor of the area, sent troops. Cortez returned to the Mexican coast and defeated the Spanish Army in 1520.


While Cortez was off fighting, the Aztecs took action. First they drove the remaining Spanish from their city. They knew that Cortez’ interest was in their gold and jewels. Understanding that this gave them power and that they needed to spirit these items away from Cortez, Montezuma had a tremendous treasure trove accumulated. Probably the greatest monetary treasure ever assembled. All the buildings were stripped of gold and jewels. It is said that 7 caravans, each with 100 porters carrying 60 pounds apiece set out.


The caravans were sent north to hide the treasure until such time that the Aztec would require the use of this great wealth. Writing show that the caravan traveled for a great time, but no one knows the treasure location.


There have been Aztec writings discovered in Arizona, Texas, Utah and even in Kansas. There have been two locations where the searching has been concentrated.


In 1865, a prospector by the name of Jim White was rafting down the Colorado River. He claims to have discovered a cave that contained thousands and thousands of golden idols and other objects, Montezuma’s treasure. White reached civilization after weeks of hardships. He was starving and delirious when he got to a town. He said the cave was located near the ruins of an old Indian camp on the south bank of the Colorado in the Lower Granite Gorge of the Grand Canyon, about three miles from Pierce Ferry. Many searches have turned up nothing.


Lower Granite Gorge



In the early 1920’s, a treasure hunter by the name of Freddie Crystal showed up in Kanab, Utah with a map he claimed showed the location of Montezuma’s treasure. The hiding place was supposed to be a cave about 30 miles from town in an area now known as Johnson Canyon.



When he reached the area, he found Aztec carvings on the canyon wall. After some investigation, he discovered a hidden cave. The cave’s location was consistent with the map he had.


He entered the cave and found nothing. The local towns people have search the cave for years, sometimes finding passages, but never finding the treasure. This is still an interesting place to look, but so far, Montezuma’s treasure is still out there.



What we’ve read so far seems to point to the possibility that the treasure may be spread out amount a number of different sites. After all, there were seven caravans that set out and Aztec writings have been found in Texas, Kansas, Utah and Arizona. We’ll keep paying particular attention to this one.