The Pirate Priest Treasure of Aruba

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Hello Everyone

Here is a treasure story that you might find interesting?

It is a bizzare story of Lust, Murder, Misery, Treasure and Death. With all the ingredients of a hollywood Movie.

There is an Island off Venezuelan coast belonging to the netherlands called Aruba. During the South American war of independence 1815-1825. Aruba and the coast was ablaze with pirate activity.

One such pirate in contempory reports at the time went by the name Domingo Mugnoz. Mugnoz was once the parish priest of Sagraro in the City of *Quito in 1819 ( *Now the Capital of Equador).

Amongst his parishioners was a beautiful blue eyed Blonde woman named Wanda.who confessed she was unhappily married to one Pedro de Cires whom she had met in the United States. She was having an affair with a Frenchman named Maurel, a Trader.

Mugnoz felt emotionally compelled to set this scandelous state of affairs to rights. And one night drove out the Frenchman out of his own house and returned the half naked Wanda back to her husbands house.

Weeks later Simon Bolivars Troops invaded Quito under the command of General Paez. De Cires being Spanish, his estranged wife Wanda, Father Mugnoz and a black servant known as Congo fled. De Cires rented a house on the river Guayra at Caracas. De Cires traded with the natives.

It is not known when or how, Father Mugnoz became more and more involved with Wanda till they became lovers. One night De Cires was found Murdered. Suspicion fell on Congo and Father Mugnoz and both were jailed awaiting trial. However they were released by a general Amnesty declared when General Paez captured Caracas from the Spanish.

Mugnoz now destitute and so desolute from turning his back from god he had pleged to serve. In guilt of his passion he fled with Congo and Wanda and a few follwers he had amassed from his time in prison. By now Mugnoz princibles and morals were serious decline.

Nothing was heard of this rebellious priest for a time who had turned away from the church and murdered in a fit of passion. Until early 1822 reports in the London times reported a strange pirate operating in the southern Carribean. There were many pirates operating in the Carribean at the time. But this one pirate stood out for being ecceptionally cruel and wicked.

A small schooner of about 10-11 men had been capturing vessels and murdering crews by a pirate captain with a big shiney silver cross hanging off a gold chain on his neck. The Pirate Captain preached a surmon from a bible as he  commanded his men to rape muder and Pillage. In the back ground was a blonde women half naked with plundered rings on all of her fingers, laughing with hysterical joy.

Time and time again reports from surviors reported this strange sight. Soon the whole southern seaboard of the Carribean became aware of the name this stange and cruel pirate. Domingo Mugnoz the Pirate Priest.

The Jamacian Newspapers reported on the 4th of August 1822 a vessel called "The Blessing" was captured by a schooner called the "Emmanuel'. Captain Smith of the Blessing was unable to pay any ransom for his cargo and was shot and thrown to the sharks.  Mugnoz tired of Captain Smith's hysterical 14 year son screaming, threw the son to sharks as well.

The rest of the Crew were cast off in the ships long boat with little food or water. They came ashore at Port Morant where they reported the pirate to the admiralty. More and more countries began to see that piracy was under mining world trade and by 1825 the world powers began hunting the pirates down.

Over the next three years Mugnoz eluded the Admiralty committing crimes between Cuba and Venezuela. But time was running out for Wanda and her Pirate Priest Lover. A crew member call Deigo Diaz was finally captured off Porto Rico by the "New York".

Deigo Diaz confessed before he was hung, that he was a follower Domingo Mugnoz the Pirate Priest. He told the Admirarty of quasi-religious rituals performed by Mugnoz in his three chapels, one on board the "Emmanuel" and one each at his bases.

Wanda who rarely wore clothes seemed to be totally sexually and mentally unbalaced in the mind, had become an object of devotion. There were ritual burning alive of prisoners by Congo the cheif torturer. Presided over by Mugnez and his deranged rituals with Wanda. At the Climax of the Ceremony, Mugnoz would had her over to the crew.

By late 1825 the pirate gang had massed considerble amount of treasure from about 4 years of piracy. Mugnez and Wanda had even became too deranged for even Congo who later left them but was captured and confessed.

Corroborating Diaz's evidence, Congo to save himself even confessed the location of the two hiding places that Mugnoz used as his bases. One was a cave in the heights of Northern Cuba, the other was a cave on a mountain called " Cerrito Colorado, the Red Hill on the remote part of the Island of Aruba.

Admiral Padilla of the coastal police arrived and sent thirty men to search the mountain where Congo stated there was treasure buried. They found a cave and in that cave they found the remains of ships sails,a long chain with a manacle at its end. Further in another cave they found an altar with flowers and various religious paraphernalia.

The Pirate Priest and wanda was nowhere to be found. Congo till the day he was hung maintained there was buried treasure some where on "Cerrito Colorado" on Aruba. Authorities were on hunt for this Pirate Priest and his mentally deranged lover. But they never found them.

Nothing was known about their were abouts until about 1827. Rumours had driffed down from the Upper reaches of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. That a crazy white couple living with the natives running wild and naked in the forests who were totally insane. Was this the fate of Wanda and her lover the Pirate Priest Domingo Mugnoz?

Today The Pirate Priest Cave can be visited on Aruba. Walking in the cave there is a natural hole in the roof of the cave that gives the cavern an errie beam of light. It is easy to imagine and wonder what the walls of the cave could tell you of the history if they could speak. It is a dark place that tells of the inhumanity of piracy and not the glamour of a pirate heros we often here about.

And perhaps that is the real treasure, understanding that Evil is the source of all treasure. And perhaps that evil treasure still lies buried somewhere on Aruba?

Hardluck 8)

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cool read,definatly make a good flic,thanks

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Very good article! Thank you very much for sharing!



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Hello All

It has been some time anything has been posted on this topic.

I have obtained some more interesting information about this pirate just recently. If anyone is interested please led me know?


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Hardluck what new info do you have? I am very interested...

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Hello ksightler

Thank you for your interest. I have so many archival records maps and books I have to find it again. I am in danger of a book avalanche  :D

I will post when I find it again.


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Any info would be great. Looks like I might be down there for awhile 2-3 years from now. Short story.. wife is from there. I feel a Goonies adventure coming on. I have been looking for this "Cerrito Colorado", it is probably the area of "Seroe Colorado" now. It makes sense as it is the closest area to Venezula and this cave is actually very cose to this area. There are quite a few caves in this area.

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Hello ksightler

It would be a nice place to retire to or to drop out. half your luck if you go the chance to live down there for a while.

Between the slave Congo's and the Spaniard Diaz confession of their association with Fr Mugnoz. The location where they anchored the boat might help reveal the cave.

 Congo gave the description that when they hid at their hide out cave in Aruba they anchored the schooner in a small cove that had a very narrow and dangerous channel. So the vessel could not be seen too easy from the sea.

When then coastal police searched that part of the island it was alleged they search a hill called  back then Cerrito Colorado which you might be right present day Saroe Colorado now.

Another clue the old translation in English for it was Red Hill?

I have the actual newspaper report on the Blessing being reported attacked by the pirate vessel Emmanuel. However there was another vessel that was attacked by them and it gave a real good description of Mugnoz dressed in black wearing a rosary and large silver cross and his lover.

Was there any treasure to start with? it seems they had a free reign of attacking vessels from Cuba to Jamaica of all nations for about 3 or 4 years.

There is another story of treasure being buried in the North of Cuba and a recovery of treasure. Whatever the truth behind these stories it does seem by 1825 at least the gang disbanded. Congo was the source of the treasure story but perhaps it was a ploy to prevent himself being hanged as a pirate?

However slaves did have another defense if they belonged to an owner who forced them into piracy then generally the courts even back then did not fully punish them. So maybe Congo tried to gain his freedom by telling the admiralty about the alleged treasure on Aruba.

Another thing that interests me about Aruba is that it had several old gold fields. I wonder how much they missed and have not been detected?


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Idaho Jones:
A good read as always Hardluck  :)

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It would be nice to get a copy of that newspaper report... Thanks for the additional info... I might be living there for awhile... so this might be a fun adventure.

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