Mexico's Stolen 'Treasure' Turns Up in Massachusetts

495-year-old document signed by Hernando Cortes was taken from national archives
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2022 11:38 AM CST
Mexico's Stolen 'Treasure' Turns Up in Massachusetts
The document dated April 27, 1527 and signed by Hernando Cort?s.   (FBI Boston)

The FBI in Boston has recovered a nearly 500-year-old manuscript signed by the man whose expedition caused the fall of the Aztec Empire. The handwritten payment order signed by Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortés, which had been listed for auction in Massachusetts, is believed to have been stolen from Mexico's National Archives more than three decades ago. Dated April 27, 1527, it describes the purchase of rose sugar from a pharmacy in exchange for 12 gold pesos, per Boston 25 and MassLive. In a statement, the US Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts says Mexican authorities contacted US officials after spotting the document listed for auction.

"As a result of exceptional work by the Asset Recovery Unit in our office and our law enforcement partners, this historic artifact has been recovered," says US Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. Authorities note the document is one of several related to a 1527 Spanish expedition to Central America that were "unlawfully removed" from Mexico's national archives in Mexico City "sometime before 1993." Rollins says that in filing a forfeiture action, the goal is "to return the manuscript to its rightful owner." FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta said agents are investigating how the "priceless artifact" and "national treasure" came to be in Massachusetts. (Read more FBI stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.