The Legacy of the Fox:

A Chronology of Zorro

by Matthew Baugh

(with updates and additions by Win Eckert)

Respectfully Revised by Dennis E. Power

    The following chronology is a revision of the tremendous work done by Matthew Baugh in his original chronology  These revisions are made to reconcile the historical record with the Murrieta's of the film by working around them. This can be done in one of two ways, or more perhaps but two that I can think of right now.

    Premise 1, In the film The Mask of Zorro we are given the historical clues of Santa Anna still ruling California, of the gold rush not having happened yet, of the Mexican war not having taken place as of yet we can place The Mask of Zorro around 1843-45. Also Harry Love is in his late twenties or early thirties which would also coincide with the earlier date, whereas in the historical record he was in his mid forties when he killed Joaquin Murrieta in the 1850s.

    The Joaquin and Alejandro of the film are certainly not 13 and 11 so their birth date must be earlier than 1830.  According to historical records the bandit Joaquin Murrieta's father's name was also Joaquin. Suppose this, in the WNU, the elder Joaquin Murrieta's parents had taken him to California at an early age and he had a brother named Alejandro.
(as a sidebar in my Wold Wold West I speculate that the Murrieta brothers were the sons of Jean Lafitte who had been using the name of Murrieta, Laffite was in turn the grandson of Long John Silver)

    It was the elder Joaquin and his brother Alejandro  that became the bandits portrayed in The Mask of Zorro.  In the WNU, a young Harry Love, corrupted by greed became the partner of Governor Montero. In a distorted mirror of what happened in our universe, he cut off the head of Joaquin Muirreta and the hand of Three Fingered Jack.

    I know this will necessitate some re-tooling of the Zorro Chronology but it fits better with the the time period as depicted in the film.

    The events proceed basically as Mr. Baugh  has  outlined on the Zorro chronology but with the earlier time period and with one twist.

    Unbeknownst to Alejandro,  Joaquin had been married or he had fathered a natural child who was born around 1830. He was named Joaquin like his younger cousin. This Joaquin became the bloodthirsty bandit of history beginning his bloody career in 1853. It became Alejandro's tragic duty to track down and slay his bloodthirsty nephew. Over the years the stories of the two Joaquin Murietas blended together until they were synonymous.

    By the time that the second Joaquin Murieta had embarked on his notorious career, Alejandro had already changed his name to de la Vega. The bloody career of his cousin, gave Joaquin de la Vega, further impetus to anglicize his name to Ken Mason. The name Mason was chosen because of his grandmother's Esperanza Montero's Anglo relations, Esperanaza Montero's mother had been a Hope Mason, from New England. Hope Mason's nephews became famous in their own right,  Hezekiah Mason an attorney who could never win a case against Ephraim Tutt and Orville Mason, the District Attorney who presided over the case the Clyde Griffiths murder trial, dubbed an american tragedy by the press.  Joaquin's younger brother Randolph  would work for a time with Hezekiah Mason.

Brown is for my textual additions, blue <<<  >>> surrounds original text whose time placement has changed

View a graphic of the revised Zorro family tree

The pueblo of Riena de Los Angeles is founded.

Don Alejandro de la Vega and his wife Esperanza de la Cruz come to California.

Don Diego de la Vega is born (Diego is 24 in the first story) - he is the son of Don Alejandro and Esperanza

Diego’s mother dies sometime during his childhood, and he is sent to Madrid to complete his education. (Esperanza's
death is established in the McCully stories and repeated in the Disney series and elsewhere. Esperanza's appearance
in the 1940 movie The Mark of Zorro is fictitious.)

Lolita Pulido is born (Lolita is 18 in the first story.)

Diego returns to find that his father, who had been alcalde, has been replaced by the corrupt Luis Quintero.
Quintero and the brutal garrison commander, Captain Juan Ramon, are exploiting the peasants, the priests, and the
Indians. Diego poses as a harmless fop so that he can battle Quintero and Ramon in the guise of El Zorro. (The
Curse of Capistrano, filmed several times as The Mark of Zorro, The Bold Caballero, and other titles.) Quintero's
name is revealed in the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro but the idea that he is Lolita's father is fictitious.)

Diego defeats his enemies, and is set to marry Lolita, but a vengeful Ramon enlists the aid of the pirate Bardosa,
and Zorro must defeat them before the marriage can take place. (The Further Adventures of Zorro by McCully.)

1806 -1809
Lolita’s health fails, and she is taken back to Spain for a three year recuperation. Diego continues to ride as Zorro,
and most of the McCully short stories published in West magazine occur during this time. This is also the period
when the episodes of the Disney Zorro television series occur. Zorro's main nemesis during these early years is
Capitán Monastario.

(Approximate date) Don Diego’s maternal uncle, Estevan de la Cruz, comes to Los Angeles to seek his fortune. He
is discouraged in his dishonest efforts by Zorro and leaves California. (As seen in the Disney television series

Diego travels to the Old World to retrieve his bride. While in France, he has an adventure with the descendants of
Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan (New World Zorro television series episode, "The Three Musketeers.") He
also encounters the vampire Dracula in Spain and France. (This story appears in the Topps Comics miniseries
Dracula vs. Zorro. The year 1809 seems likely, for Zorro had reason and opportunity to travel to Spain then. In
1810 a wave of revolutions through Mexico and Latin America made travel to Spain rare and difficult.)

Diego returns to California with Lolita and retires as Zorro to prepare for his wedding. Unfortunately, a false Zorro
appears and and the real Zorro is accused of the impostor's crimes. The true Zorro rides again to thwart the plot
(Zorro Rides Again by McCully).

Diego and Lolita wed. Sadly, Lolita’s health is still fragile and she dies of a fever after only a season.

Diego is still in mourning for Lolita when Zorro must ride again (The Sign of Zorro by McCully). During the course of
this adventure he meets, and becomes engaged to, Panchita Canchola.

Diego marries Panchita, and goes into a semi-retirement retires as Zorro, riding only when absolutely needed.

(Approximate date) Panchita dies giving birth to a son, Don Cesar de la Vega.

 Don Estevan de la Cruz marries Emma Silver young New Orleans socialite and scion of the rich Silver family.  Emma's brother's friend is Jean Laffite. As a bridal gift Estevan gives her brother Argus the deed to a worthless gold mine. Later that year Angelique, the first of their children is born. The couple has a daughter who will marry an American named Stewart. Their son will be Jeff Stewart, the hero of the Republic serial The Son of Zorro. (This account is not found in any of the Zorro stories. It is Matthew Baugh's hypothesis to explain Jeff Stewart’s assertion that Zorro was a distant relative on his mother’s side.)

Diego dons the mask of Zorro once again to challenge further depredations by Capitán Monastario.

<<<<Diego returns home to find Los Angeles suffering under the boot of the harsh new presidio commandante Rafael Montero. Zorro becomes Montero's enemy and Diego becomes Montero's rival for the affections of a woman named Esperanza. Montero and Esperanza appear in the movie The Mask of Zorro, , Montero ultimately answers to Spain >>>>>>.

The events of the Topps Comics ongoing Zorro series, which lasted eleven issues. The comics fall under the umbrella title Zorro's Renegades, and introduce the character Lady Rawhide, who goes on to lead in two comics mini-series of her own.
Lady Rawhide is Anita Santiago, who although not related to Don Diego will in an odd twist become related to him when her nephew Alejandro Murietta marries Don Diego's daugher Elena. For more on Lady Rawhide, click here.

Jean Laffite discovered that Estevan de la Cruzto was an agent of the Spanish Crown. He and his wife and daughter are forced to flee to Tejas.

Jean Laffite, is ordered by the Eridanean Council to aid the Mexican revolution as best as he can while still operating in Louisiana.  He establishes the identity of Juan Murieta in Sonora and falls in love with a Californio woman, Isabella Santiago and marries her. It is not known whether or nor the Eridanean Council sanctioned this marriage.

The events of Zorro and the Jaguar Warriors by Jerome Preisler, a novel published in 1998.

Zorro and the Dragon Riders by David Bergantino, published in 1999.
Diego had a romantic liason with the female ninja described in the book. She was honor bound to return to Japan. It was only two weeks into the sail back to Japan that she discovered that she was with child. Her daughter married into the Kato family and her grandson was Hayashi Kato.

Zorro and the Witch's Curse by John Whitman, published in 2000.

        Juan Murietta and Isabella Santiago Murieta have a son named Joaquin Murieta. Isabella Santiago is the sister of Anita Santiago, aka Lady Rawhide

Juan Murietta and Isabella Santiago Murieta have a son named Alejandro Murieta. As Laffite Juan Murietta establishes a port on Galveston Island.

<<<< (Approximate date) Diego returns from Spain and marries Esperanza. Montero is convinced that he is really Zorro, but cannot prove it. >>>>>

Mexico wins its independence from Spain.

Juan Murietta is ordered to support Iturbe as President of Mexico.

California is the last territory to accept independence from Spain. Ironically, Mexican rule will eventually prove to be harsher than Spanish rule for the Californios.

<<<<<<<<. A daughter, Elena, is born to Diego and Esperanza.
California revolts against Mexican rule and Montero is forced to flee to Spain, but not before a final conflict with Zorro. Esperanza is killed, Diego is imprisoned, the de la Vega hacienda burns, and Montero takes Elena to be raised as his own daughter.It is probable that Don Diego was imprisoned but escaped after only one or two years. Montero had planted evidence or made it appear as though he had killed Elena which is why  Don Diego never traveled to Spain top recover her. This occurs in the prelude of the movie The Mask of Zorro, Joaquin and Alejandro would have been around six at this time, although their Father was missing a lot, their mother was still alive but had been (unbeknownst to Juan Murieta flogged for insubordination)

 Lafitte burns to the ground his palatial home in Galveston and disappears into history.

When Iturbe declares himself Emperor of Mexico, Juan Murieta is ordered to bring him down.

Iturbe forced to abdicate. He flees ostensibly to Italy but in reality goes to California and establishes himself as Don del Oro, gathers some followers and returns to Mexico in the guise of Don del Oro.

Diego becomes involved in thwarting a plot against Mexican president Guadalupe Victoria involving a man posing as the Yacqui Indian deity "Don del Oro." He resumes his identity as Zorro, this time enlisting a legion of masked caballeros as his allies. (The Republic serial Zorro's Fighting Legion. In the movie, the Mexican President is wrongly identified as Benito Juarez. Actually Juarez was not president until 1861-72.) Two of the members of this legion of Zorro are Juan Murietta (Jean Laffite) and his brother in law , Alejandro Santiago.

Don el Oro is revealed to be the former Emperor Iturbe. To prevent a new Don del Oro from arising and to prevent making Iturbe into a national martyr, the story is put out that Iturbe was caught sneaking back into Mexico. Having landing at Soto de Marina, a small village near Tampico, on July 19, 1824, he was seized by a military patrol. Local authorities decreed his execution and he was shot on the same day

(Approximate date) Diego takes on Don Cesar as an "apprentice Zorro." (A highly fictionalized version of this period was seen in the television series Zorro and Son with Don Cesar's name erroneously reported as Don Carlos.) They are living on one of the smaller estates of the De la Vega family.

Fifteen year old Joaquin Murieta marries a girl about the same age as himself and she bears him a son, also named Joaquin.

    It was about this time that Juan Murieta is ordered to abandon his Californian and Mexican interests and move to Cuba and fight against Spanish rule there. Isabella Murieta dies of a fever and the two boys are cheated out of their inheritance by one of Montero's cronies. They turn to the bandit path but are not the murderous Murieta brothers of later legend. They act  more like a combination of the legendary Zorro and Robin Hood. In their company is an Anglo named Three Fingered Jack.

(Approximate date) Don Cesar travels to Spain and becomes involved in a tangled intrigue. Diego travels to Spain to help clear him of the murder of an archduke. (The movie Don Q, Son of Zorro.)

    Don Diego de la Vega while in Mexico became involved in the conflict between Presidente Bustamante and General Santa Anna. Without knowing all of the facts, which probably would have lead him to remain uninvolved, he supported Bustamente. When Bustamente was deposed, Don Diego was captured by an overwhelming force. Santa Anna is infuriated that one of the Californian Dons would be interfering in Mexico's politics. He imprisoned Don Diego declaring him dead and had his lands confiscated by the government.

Estrellita Cross (de la Cruz) the daughter of Estevan meets in New Orleans Britton Reid, a young Scottish sailor. They marry and establish a ranch in Texas. Their sons will be Daniel and John Reid.

Angelique Cross (De La Cruz marries Texas patriot Alexander Stewart. A little while later,
(Approximate date) Jeff Stewart, is born. Jeff is the grandson of Don Estevan de la Cruz, and thus is Don Diego's 2nd cousin.
Jeff will become one of the men to wear the mask of Zorro.

Don Cesar marries Dolores de Muro (the love interest from "Don Q"). Don Cesar is informed (his father was killed in Mexico in a rebellion against the government and that the de la vega estates were confiscated by the Mexican government) that Diego, Esperanza and Elena have been killed in a fire at the de la Vega hacienda. With nothing to return to California for, he remains in Spain with his bride.

1845(<<<<< Joaquin Murieta and "Three Fingered Jack" are killed by Captain Harrison Love, though Alejandro survives. Joaquin's head and Jack's hand are preserved for posterity(The Harrison Love of the WNU was a young soldier on detached duty in California working with a band of Filibusters who wanted to bring California in as either a Slave state or an independent republic that supported slavery)>>>>>>>

Montero returns to California with a plan to carve out a kingdom for himself.

Diego escapes from prison and trains Alejandro Murieta to be the next Zorro. The two of them defeat Montero and Love, though Diego is fatally wounded in the conflict. (The Mask of Zorro.)

The events of the novel The Treasure of Don Diego by William McCay. Alejandro, when not riding as the new
Zorro, is known by the name Alejandro del Castillo y Garcia. At the end of the novel, Alejandro, in accordance with
Don Diego's will, changes his name to Alejandro de la Vega and inherits the de la Vega estate.

      The novel Skull and Crossbones by Frank Lauria.

      The novel The Secret Swordsman by William McCay.

Later in the year, Elena and Alejandro are married.

While Alejandro is off adventuring as Zorro or possibly working with John C. Frement in establishing the American sponsored Bear Flag revolt,   Elena dons the mask and becomes a Zorro type character called Queen of Swords. She fights against a renegade Don Montoya, a cohort of Montero who attempts keep California from American hands by terrorizing the populous.  Don Montoya is in reality the Immortal Kronos. Aiding Elena's in this fight is the Immortal Methos, who calls himself Dr. Helm. The rumors of a romance between the true are fictional. The accounts of Elena's adventures in this period were portrayed in a highly fictionalized manner in the television show, Queen of Swords.

There is a huge influx of Americans into California following the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill.

Joaquin Murieta, nephew of Alejandro Murieta y de la Vega begins a career as a bandit, taking care to emulate his band on the legendary band run by his Father, the first Joaquin Murieta.  He even has in his band, a man called Three Fingered Jack, although probably done so to further the image, since this Three Fingered Jack was definitely Hispanic. Beyond the similarites of names however there little similarity between the first Joaquin Murieta's band of outlaws and the second Joaquin's Murietas band of outlaws. The latter were bloody cutthroats who thought little of butchering an entire hacienda for a small amount of gold. It with a heavy heart that Alejandro must once again don the mask of Zorro to hunt down his killer of a nephew.

 In an unrecorded adventure. Alejandro Murieta y de la Vega as Zorro, duels with his nephew Joaquin  Murieta and is forced to kill him, oddly enough by decapitation. As time passed the two Joaquin Murieta's were blended into one legendary character.

(Approximate date) Elena and Alejandro have a son, named Joaquin after his uncle.(Although the tag at the end of Mask of Zorro makes it seem that this is only a short time after the previous events, a later date is more likely.)  Eventually the stigma of  having the same name as the murderous outlaw just recently killed and also of having a Spanish name in the growing American community prompts the couple to change their name to Mason. Joaquin grows up using the nick-name 'Ken' that his classmates give him. (He will eventually become the hero of the serial The Ghost of Zorro. Though she is never mentioned in either Mask or Ghost, Joaquin has a younger sister named Isabella. She is a necessary addition to the family to explain the connection of Barbara Meredith and her brother.)

(Approximate date) Don Ramon de la Vega is born to Don Cesar. His brother, Don Manuel will be born several years
later. (The brothers are born about twenty years after the wedding of Don Cesar and Dolores, so they may be the
product of a second marriage. Even with this late date, Don Ramon would be about fifty-five when his son James
was born and Don Manuel would be about seventy five when he appeared as a character in the serial Zorro Rides

Birth of Isabella Mason

Birth of Randolph Mason, the third child of Alejandro Murrieta and Elena de la Vega.  Randolph Mason was a lawyer and father to even more famous Perry Mason. Randolp Mason was a lawyer whose exploits were recorded by Melville Davisson Post, although he began his career as a man eager to get his clients off by any necessary means, he became reformed and worked within the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

Jeff Stewart returns home from the Civil War. Finding his hometown overrun by outlaws and corrupt politicians, Jeff
takes on the guise of Zorro to fight for justice. (The Republic serial Son of Zorro.)

(Approximate date) Barbara Meredith is born. She is the daughter of Isabella Mason and her husband, an American
named Meredith, who takes the family to the Idaho territory. Barbara is Don Diego's great-granddaughter, and she has an older brother, Randy, who was born in 1870.

(Approximate date) Joaquin 'Ken' Mason, the grandson of Don Diego, takes on the guise of Zorro to battle outlaws and to complete a telegraph line. (The Republic serial The Ghost of Zorro.)

Jake Mason, son of Joaquin (Ken Mason is born)

Barbara Meredith, great-granddaughter of Don Diego, dons the Zorro-like guise of "the Whip" to battle criminals trying to prevent Idaho from becoming a state. (Barbara's brother Randy had been the original Whip. When he was killed by the outlaws in the first installment, Barbara took over the role and, eventually, defeated the villains. The republic serial Zorro's Black Whip.)

Jake Mason has a son, Buck Mason born in Comanche County,   New Mexico
 Birth of Perry Mason, son of Randolph Mason. Like his father Perry will become an attorney. His exploits are recorded by Erle Stanley Gardner.

(Approximate date) James Vega is born. He is the son of Don Ramon, the grandson of Don Cesar, and the great-grandson of Don Diego. James spends his boyhood on the ancestral de la Vega land, but leaves to attend school in the city (New York?) at a young age. When we first meet him in the serial Zorro Rides Again, he has no discernible accent, and his name has been shortened to Vega. Possibly Don Ramon urged James to insure his success by taking steps to blend in with the dominant anglo culture.

Events of Edgar Rice Burrough's THE DEPUTY SHERIFF OFCOMANCHE COUNTY whose main character is Buck Mason, grandson  of Ken Mason

(Approximate date) Diego's great-grandson, James Vega, leaves his job in the city and returns to his ancestral home. Adopting the guise of Zorro, he thwarts a gang of villains who are plotting to gain control of the new railroad under construction. (The Republic serial Zorro Rides Again.) James' father has died sometime before the story begins, and Don Miguel will soon be killed by outlaws. Don Miguel says that James is the last living descendant of the original Zorro, but it is possible that he doesn't count the Meredith, Stewart and Mason branches of the family since they do not carry the de la Vega name. (and possibly because they are tainted by the blood of outlaws or scoundrels such as the Murietas and Estevan de la Cruz)

The Legacy of the Fox: A Chronology of Zorro was created for the sole purposes of entertainment and information. All rights reserved. The text of this page is © 1998-2001 by the author, Matthew Baugh. Updates and additions © 1998-2001 by Win Eckert. Additions in brown text are © 2001 Dennis E. Power.

Return to the Table of Contents