Emilio Kosterlitzky

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Emilio Kosterlitzky
Nickname(s) Eagle of Sonora
Mexican Cossack
Born November 16, 1853
Moscow, Russia
Died March 2, 1928
Los Angeles, California
Buried at Calvary Cemetery
Allegiance  Mexico
Service/branch Mexico Mexican Army
Years of service 1871 - 1914
Rank Colonel
Battles/wars

Mexican Apache Wars
Yaqui Wars
Mexican Revolution

Other work Spy

Emilio Kosterlitzky (1853–1928) was a Russian-born polyglot linguist and soldier of fortune who eventually became a spy for the United States.

Biography[edit]

Emil Kosterlitzky was born on November 16, 1853 in Moscow, to a German mother and Russian Cossack father. He was noted for his language ability; he spoke English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Polish, Danish and Swedish.

In his teens, Emil joined the Russian Navy as a midshipman. By 1871, at the age of 18, he deserted his ship in Venezuela. Kosterlitzky then traveled to the Mexican state of Sonora, where he changed his name to Emilio and joined the Mexican Army. During the 1880s he fought in the Mexican Apache Wars. He also assisted American troops pursuing Apaches across the border under the 1882 United States–Mexico reciprocal border crossing treaty. Kosterlitzky became known to the American troops, who called him the "Mexican Cossack". In 1885, Kosterlitzky was appointed commander of the Gendarmería Fiscal, the customs guard for the Mexican government, by President Porfirio Díaz.[1]

In 1913, Kosterlitzky was captured in Nogales, Sonora, by revolutionaries during the Mexican Revolution. He was jailed until 1914, when he, his wife, Francesca, and two daughters moved to Los Angeles, California, in the United States, where he became a translator for the U.S. Postal Service. During World War I, he pretended to be a German physician. He returned to Mexico in 1927, to investigate a plot against the government of the state of Baja California.

Kosterlitzky died in Los Angeles on March 2, 1928, and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vanderwood, P. J. (1972). Review: Emilio Kosterlitzky: Eagle of Sonora and the Southwest Border. by Cornelius C. Smith, Jr. The Hispanic American Historical Review, 52(2), pp. 304-306.
  • Samuel Truett, "Transnational Warrior: Emilio Kosterlitzky and the Transformation of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands", in Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History, ed. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004, p. 241-70.
  • Cornelius Smith, Jr., Emilio Kosterlitzky, Eagle of Sonora (1970)

External links[edit]