Luis Candelas Cajigal was born in the popular Lavapiés quarter of Madrid on February 9, 1804.

Even at a young age, Little Luis showed “promise”:  When the priest at his school slapped him in the face one day, he responded by slapping the priest back… twice!  Of course, he was expelled.  In his adolescent years, he committed some petty thefts, but was never caught.

Being quite handsome, refined and attractive, legend has it that his seductive powers were such that he and the King of Spain, Fernando VII, shared the same lover, Lola “La Naranjera” (Orange Seller).   Rafael de León wrote a song about the Madrid bandit’s overwhelming success with the ladies:


… All of Madrid is looking to imprison you

And I am looking for you to love you.

“… I am staying awake, I am staying awake,

To see if Luis Candelas will abduct me.”


Legend also says that after Candelas and his gang committed their misdeeds, they would flee through the labyrinth of caves and tunnels below the Plaza Mayor (we have such a passageway in Botín, but we have, of course, sealed it up).

Luis Candelas never spilled the blood of any of his victims, but that did not save him from his terrible fate on the garrote.  He was imprisoned in the City Jail, which is today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located in the nearby Plaza de Santa Cruz.  He was executed on November 6, 1837 and his last words were apparently:

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