Monday, July 22, 2013


By Juan Montoya
Well, now that the Texas Historical Commission has officially named Bandera the Cowboy Capital of the World, what are the poor cowpokes over in Pleasanton supposed to do?
Pleasanton, also known as the "Birthplace of the Cowboy," says that it had a growing population of cowboys around the late 19th century primarily to ward off attacks from the Indians.
Bandera says its claim to being the capital is because cattle drives were prevalent there in the 1874 and 1894, about the same time the cowpokes in Pleasanton were at their apogee.
Phil Livingston, in the website "The American Cowboy" tends to paint a very different picture of the "birthplace" and "capitals" of the cowboy.
He goes on to trace the origin of the cowboy back to the 1500s, centuries before the new settlers from the Northeast and southern states crossed the Sabine and discovered horses and cattle.
We'll let him tell the story.
"1519–1700s After the Spanish arrived in Mexico in 1519, ranches were established and stocked with cattle and horses imported from Spain. Landowners mounted native Indians on well-trained horses and taught them to handle cattle. By the early 1700s, cattle ranching had spread north into what is now Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico and south to Argentina. The native cowboys were called vaqueros(from the Spanish word for cow) and developed roping skills, using braided rawhide reatas (the root word for lariat). Starting in 1769, a chain of 21 Franciscan missions eventually stretched from San Diego to San Francisco, marking the beginning of California’s livestock industry.
Mid–1700s to 1820s Livestock production flourished in California and the Southwest, but few markets existed for end products such as meat, hides, and tallow (for making candles). By the mid-1700s, long trains of pack mules would transport these products to Mexico City and return with supplies. American ships began servicing California ports in the early 1800s and traded for the same materials. For the first time, ranchers had local markets for their animals. Huge roundups were held to collect cattle, and the hard-riding vaqueros controlled the chaos. Known for expert horsemanship and roping skills, vaqueros were said to only dismount for a chance to dance with pretty girls.
Early and mid-1800s Ranching ceased to be a strictly Hispanic profession as more Americans poured into once Mexican-held lands (especially after the Mexican/American War, 1846–48). The Anglo newcomers adapted to the vaquero style, and many settlers intermarried with the old Spanish ranching families. The 1849 gold rush brought even more people to California, which increased the demand for beef. Californios rode ponies that had been trained in a hackamore, swung a big loop with their hand-braided rawhide reatas, and took a wrap called a dally (from the Spanish dar la vuelta, to take a turn) around high saddle horns for leverage when roping cattle.
Late 1800s As the livestock industry expanded, these horsemen found work in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii, taking their equipment and livestock-handling techniques with them. Cowboys in Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada remained strongly Hispanic (“buckaroo” comes from vaquero), including the use of a center-fire rigged saddle, in which rigging is situated below the centerpoint of the saddle; a long reata; and silver-mounted spade bits. Trail-driving Texans adopted many of their techniques from Mexican vaqueros, carrying their methods with them north through the Plains states and leading to a subculture of single, itinerant men who worked at ranches.
Today As long as cattle are raised in big American pastures, the legacy of the vaquero will endure. The early Mexican techniques for handling cattle can be seen throughout the modern livestock industry, like whenever a cowboy cinches a saddle on his horse, straps on chaps (from chaparreras, Spanish for leather leggings), competes in a rodeo (from rodear, Spanish for to surround), or ropes a horse from his remuda (from remudar, Spanish for exchange). Even branding migrated north from Mexico. On the Pacific Coast and on Nevada ranches, buckaroos still carry long ropes (nylon these days), ride slick-fork saddles, and use silver-mounted spade bits and spurs."
So while the folks from Pleasanton adn Badera bandy about their claims to the birthplace and capital of the cowboy, we shouldn;t forget the origin of the culture which originated with the Mexican vaquero.


Anonymous said...

And your blog is the "Plagiarism Capital".

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't speak for Cali, Arizona or New Mexico, but in Texas, I would say that the birthplace of the Cowboy is in the Valley, since it has been settled since 1749. Of course at that time, we were in Nuevo Santander or maybe Petronila near Corpus is the birthplace of the cowboy in Texas.

Anonymous said...

The vaquero came from Spain and Moor/Arabic horse culture, as did the longhorn, which is/was an ancient breed of bovine from northern Africa\southern Europe..
The conquistadores brought the culture to New Spain and the Mexican vaquero perfected the art. The Comanches adapted the horse culture like no other and halted the advance of Western civilization in Texas for decades due to their horsemanship. Only when the US army destroyed their horse and the great buffalo herds did they capitulate.
Texas horsemen of all ethnicities called themselves vaqueros long before the term cowboy became commonplace in the 1870s.
By the 1850s, millions of longhorns inhabited the Texas coast from Victoria to Brownsville. Enter King, Kennedy, Yturria, Goodnight, etc.
More cattle were shipped by boat from Matamoros (mostly by Cortina and mostly stolen from Texas, although he called them "Nena's vacas"), and Rockport\Fulton than ever made the trail drives glorified by pulp fiction and later Hollywood.
Destination was Cuba and West Indies to feed the sugar cane slave trade and New Orleans slave industry. Then later, post Civil War, Chicago and NYC when the railheads reached Kansas and north Texas.
Bandera and Pleasanton were latecomers to the vaquero game in Texas. Checkale.

captain crunch said...

so whats or whos fight is this loco? juan dont wonder off to el norte brother just keep an eye on the caca we have here, dont bring in more than we can handle dude