The Mexican/American Cowboy – 1850

A typical Mexican/American Vaquero (click the photo to enlarge)

A typical Mexican/American Vaquero(click the photo to enlarge)

The Mexican/American Vaquero (cowboy) changed nationality from Spanish to Mexican to American in a span of only 27 years without ever leavimg his home. In 1821 he went from Spanish to Mexican by virtue of Mexico declaring its indepenence from Spain.  Then 27 years later the Mexican/American war and the Treaty of Hidalgo made him an American. After the war, Mexicans were pretty much considered a defeated enemy and treated as such. Many of the Mexican Hacendados (rancho owners), rather than tolerate this treatment, simply packed up and went to Mexico leaving everything; vaqueros, cattle, horses, and all. Some of the early Americans to come on the scene saw all this unclaimed land and livestock, laid claim to it, and took up the business of cattle ranching. However, it didn’t take these early ranchers long to find out there was a lot more to it than meets the eye and the only people who knew anything at all about handling the huge herds of wild, mean, feral long horned cattle and wild horses was the Mexican Vaquero. The result was that nearly everything the early American ranchers and cowboys learned about open range ranching and livestock handling was learned from the Mexican Vaquero. Due to the influence of the emerging American cowboy culture the Mexican Vaquero lost quite a bit of the elegance and finesse of the Spanish Colonial Vaquero but he never fully accepted all of the trappings and methods of the American cowboy culture. He was caught up in a  clash of cultures that wasn’t his doing. Torn between the old ways and surviving in the the new, he developed his own unique clothing, horse gear, and working skills. All of these things are covered at length in a presentation.

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Published on October 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm  Comments Off on The Mexican/American Cowboy – 1850  
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