or Murieta, Joaquín hwäkēn´ mo͞oryā´tä [key], 1829?–1853, California bandit, b. Mexico. From 1849 to 1851 he mined in the California gold fields. After he and members of his family had been mistreated by American miners and driven from their claim, he became the leader of a band of desperadoes. For two years his robberies and murders terrorized California, until the legislature authorized Capt. Harry Love, deputy sheriff of Los Angeles co., to organize a company of mounted rangers to exterminate Murrieta's band. Surprised at his camp near Tulare Lake, Murrieta was shot, and most of his followers were killed or captured. Romanticization of his career began with the publication (1854) of John R. Ridge's The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta.
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