Yes, by all acounts the swallows have returned today to Mission San Juan Capistrano and the town of its namesake, which was once the center of life in Orange County Ca. Few locals know it, but Dana Point (Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana) was once called San Juan Point.
Besides the birds of fame, San Juan Capistrano gave birth to the legend of Zorro with The Curse of Capistrano first serialized in 1919 and ultimately leading to a string of feature films.
The legend may have been inspired by the life of William Lamport, an Irish noble who immigrated to then-colonial Mexico and took the name Guillen Lombardo. His sympathies lay with the mestizos and the native indian populace. A supporter of the Mexican independence movement, his name turned up frequently on the King of Spain's enemies list.
Eventually imprisoned as an enemy of the crown, he escaped in a very Zorro-esque manner later spending many evenings leaving his mark and anti-Spain graffiti on the walls of Mexico City's buildings.
A dashing ladies man, his myriad affairs included many married senoritas as well as their daughters. Ultimately he was imprisoned after he was caught bedding the wife of the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico. The sentence? Seven years in prison followed by burning at the stake (Dude, that is harsh). As the bonfire was lit it is said that Senor Lombardo broke free of his bonds and strangled himself before the flames could consume him, thus denying his captors the pleasure of his suffering.
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