Is ‘Bandidos’ Based On A True Story? Was Aj Took’s Treasure Real? 


Bandidos was not entirely inspired by a true story, but the names of certain real-life historical figures were mentioned in the narrative, and they were combined with certain fictional elements. The series follows a group of scammers who were on their way to find the treasure hidden in a place called Calakmul, where the ancient Maya civilization existed. The leader of the gang, Miguel, was quite sure about the fact that Aj Took’s treasure actually existed and that it was not merely a folktale that they were told in their childhood. So, let’s find out how many creative liberties have been taken by the makers and if Aj Took’s treasure actually existed in real life. 

Spoiler Alert

Who was Francisco de Montejo? 

At the beginning of Bandidos, Miguel met a man named Luis Fernandes De Montejo in the hotel, and the latter told him that Francisco De Montejo, the Spanish conqueror from the 1500s, was his ancestor. Miguel was not taking that drunk man seriously, but the mention of De Monetejo caught his attention. Miguel’s father was a renowned archaeologist, and though he always had a flair for the profession, he never pursued it with sincerity. Miguel had accompanied his father on his expeditions back in the day, and he had an idea of how things worked and how to go about chasing a potential lead. All his life, Miguel had believed that Aj Took’s treasure was actually there, though the world considered him to be a delusional man who liked living in his fantasy world. 

In the series, we saw that after taking AJ Took’s treasure, the three Spanish conquerors decided to create a lock that would need three keys to open. The reason for doing so was that they didn’t have any sort of trust between them, and each of them decided to take one key with them so that even if one of them felt like stealing the treasure, they couldn’t. But De Montejo was a shrewd man and deceived both his partners. Though he showed them that the lock could only be opened if all three keys were put together, in reality, it needed only his “moon key” to unlock the treasure. Miguel had figured out that De Montejo was a very greedy and treacherous man. Miguel didn’t have any proof of that fact, but somehow, intuitively, he knew about it. That’s why, when he was asked to give the stones by Ariel and “Burnt-Face,” he only gave them the earth and the sun stones. He gave them a fake moonstone that was created by Wilson, and he kept the original one to himself. Everybody thought that Miguel wouldn’t be able to open the lock, but Miguel proved them wrong. 

Francisco De Montejo, Pedro De Alvarado, and Alonso De Avila (Pedro’s nephew) all three were actually real-life conquerors who joined another conquistador named Juan de Grijalva on his expedition to Yucatan. Bandidos took a few real-life characters and amalgamated them with some fictional plot points to create an intriguing narrative. It is true that they found some gold reserves in Yucatan land, but the fact that a treasure was buried there was not true. 

Was Juan De La Cosa a real-life person? 

Juan de la Cosa was a real-life explorer and cartographer who was one of the first people to represent America on the map. He first represented Europe, and later on, in the 15th century, around the same time when Francisco de Montejo was going on an expedition to Yucatan, he added a few American territories to his map. In Bandidos, we saw that Luis Fernandes De Montejo had tattooed La Cosa’s map on his body, and the original copy was kept in Aerial’s Tavitian Museum. The fact that Juan de la Cosa figured out where the treasure was hidden and found a way to represent it on his map was not true. In Bandidos, Miguel wasn’t able to figure out, for the longest time, what the dots on that old parchment meant. When he was on the boat together with others, all of a sudden it struck him that the dots probably represented stars. He held the map in his hand and looked at the stars from the holes, and he found that the map was actually a star navigation guide. That’s how Miguel, Lily, and the rest of them reached the exact location where the treasure was hidden and then, later on, went on to find it at the bottom of the water body. 

Was Aj Took’s Treasure Real? 

We heard Aj Took’s name when Luis Fernandes told Miguel that his treasure was hidden in some cenote. Though Aj Took was a real-life historical figure, the fact that he had found a treasure was not true. Aj Took was probably the last king of the Calakmul region, as after him there are no records of any king from the Kaan Dynasty. It was said that Calakmul was one of the largest cities in the Maya region. It was probably ruled by the Kanul dynasty, which had a huge snake emblem called the ‘Kaan”, which is why they were often referred to as the snake kingdom, too. It is true that there were huge deposits of gold in the area, which explorers and conquerors got to know in the early 15th century. But the plot where we see Miguel and his co-conspirators finding the treasure and the golden jaguar, referred to as the Kaan Balam, was all a work of fiction. 

At the end of the series, Miguel found the treasure and proved everybody who didn’t believe in him wrong. His father was a proud man that day, but still, somewhere deep down, he was biased towards Aerial. Aerial’s museum got to keep the “Kaan Balam,” and the others divided the treasure among themselves. Aj Took’s treasure was not the end of the road for Miguel, as at the end of Bandidos, we got to know that he had already planned his next heist, and he pitched it to Lili, too, when they were going together. If there is a season 2, we would get to witness another exhilarating ride where Miguel would most probably put his life at stake and try to find the treasure called “The Tear of Fire.”

- Advertisement -
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

Must Read

DMT Guide

More Like This