10 Iconic American Things With Foreign Roots
Few things are more American than imagery of lone cowboys riding into the sunset with their signature hats, spurred boots and lassos. When you take away all the pop culture romanticism however, cowboys were simple cattle ranchers first and foremost.
The practice of herding cattle actually originated in Spain and was brought to Mexico by the Conquistadores – Spanish soldiers and explorers who colonized South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The word cowboy is actually derived from the Spanish word vaquero, meaning “boy who tends to cows”.
As Spanish-speaking settlers expanded north and the English speakers moved west from the East Coast, the two cultures eventually intermingled, giving birth to the lifestyle that made John Wayne and Clint Eastwood who they are today.
Source: Vaqueros, Cowboys, and Buckaroos by Lawrence Clayton, Jerald Underwood, Jim Hoy