The Gaucho

Gaucho origins...

Is a typical figure of Argentine history. A country man, a nomadic and free rider. The word gaucho derives from the Quechua term “huachu”, which means without parents, an orphan. This word was used in the regions of Plata, Argentina, Uruguay and even in Brazil, to designate the horsemen of the plain or pampas dedicated to livestock.

The gaucho is a kind rustic and manly tramp of the pampas, who knows how to defend his honor and demonstrates courage in dangerous circumstances. Its origin comes from the mixture of blood between the Spanish and the indigenous. The figure of the gaucho appears for the first time at the beginning of the 17th century during the colonial period in the area of the litoral and, in the Pampas plains, where there were large numbers of wild cows and horses, without owners, called “maroons”. 

What do Gaucho do? It character was an independent man who was dedicated to hunting wild cattles to feed and market his leather. Its ethnic origin was the result of the mixture of two civilizations: the European and that of the natives of what is nowadays Argentina. Over time this practice was extended and the gauchos start to become the typical figure of the Argentine countryside. This emblematic character became a brave horseman by participating in the wars of independence. Gradually this coutry man began to leave his nomadic life to settle and cultivate small portions of land and form families.

the gaucho

Clothing…

The gaucho could be recognized for his clothing, with “field trousers” (gaucho pants), wide pants for riding, high boots or espadrilles, pocho (wool coat), wool belt and another leather belt adorned with coins, shirt with vest and neck scarf , hat or beret, guitar, rebenque, boleadoras a weapon adopted of the natives composed of two or three leather ribbons that end in stone balls used to hunt and its traditional “facón”, knife that served to defend itself, kill animals, cure, cut firewood, make crafts, among other things.

Martin Fierro…

The book Martín Fierro, written by José Hernández is  a classic of Argentine literature. This 1872 poetry book, considered the gaucho bible, is a story in the form of a verse that tells the experiences of a gaucho, his lifestyle, his customs, his language, his wisdom, and codes of honor. You can define the gaucho with three specific characteristics: pride, loyalty, and courage. He was a man of word and respect, recognized for his solidarity and doing favors (referred to today as “gauchadas”), and with an incredible ability to tame horses.

Today...

Nowadays many country men continue using the typical gaucho clothes and practicing their traditions and customs. The typical life of the country man consists in the cultivation of the land, the raising of animals, without missing typical foods such as Argentine Asado, locro, mate and fried cakes.

You can immerse yourself in the gaucho tradition in the Argentinian Estancias (ranchs) and rural settlements that offer visits and accommodation. Imagine yourself eating a typical Asado, observing the equestrian skills that the gauchos perform, or enjoying a horse ride in a beautiful Argentine Estancia. A unique experience to learn about the gaucho customs and Argentine traditions and celebrations. Contact us to help you plan your visit!

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