Bandit’s Gallery Interpretation Center
You have just entered the one and only Interpretation Centre in Spain which focuses on bandits and the real and imaginary world that surrounds them. The town of El Borge took over the collection that remained after the closure of the Bandit’s Museum in Ronda in 2020. It talks about an important part of the history of Andalusia with a special meaning it has in La Axarquía, where one of the most important bandits of his time was born – Luis Muñoz García ´El Bizco Arborge‘ [Cross-eyed from Arborge].
The stories about bandits became legends which have been told from many different angles. They were seen as smugglers, thieves, killers, or bandits who robbed travellers on roads, or were treated as good thieves and gentlemen, rebels and, above all, brave people.
These points of view resulted in dark stories, Romantic novels, famous heroes, folk tales, a rich folklore, films, and plenty of stories that go from history to legends.
This gallery is not really a tribute to the above figures that lived in the Andalusian mountains, but a way to remind of a history that took place centuries ago and was forgotten.
Stories about bandits and smugglers, Romantic travellers and the Spanish Civil Guard, which are all connected and talk about the Romantic past of Andalusia and Spain between the 18th and 19th century.
The characteristic feature of "bandolerismo", which synthesizes all that inspires fear and cause alarm, is the complicity of the upper classes and the people who occupy an important position, i.e. social anarchy, when corruption reached such levels no social use is effective.
The origin of the flowering of this phenomenon in the 18th century is the combination of several factors: the distribution of land, taxation consistent, and the impoverishment of the population due to the French invasion.
We could define the spirit of highwaymen as generous and charitable, they often proved helping the poorest. They stole from the rich and ruthless sell the stolen generously to those who were in need. On the one hand, they realized vile acts, being able secondly, the greater generosity. They killed ruthlessly but protected the poor who entrusted their life. They lived outside the law and acted often animated by a spirit of justice.
From the military point of view these bandits did not prefixed strategy, and their bands were not numerous, but their actions were effective.
Among highwaymen there were bullfighters, flamenco singers, and at first, smugglers, due to the specific situation of Ronda (in the mountains near Gibraltar).
This is the 18th and 19th century were born highwaymen best known and which are part of the collective memory of Andalusia.
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