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Gauchos were early travelers to Argentina and the surrounding areas. These settlers, most of them ranchers and herders, are well known for their rugged lifestyle on the plains of Argentina and neighboring countries. They lived on the grasslands of the area in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Gauchos usually had mixed roots—most had mixed European and Indian heritage. To survive, these ranchers raised cattle and then traded the hides and meat with Dutch, British, French, and Portuguese settlers that were also in the area at that time (“Gaucho”). They carried distinctive tools such as knives and ropes to aid them in their jobs. They also had a unique way of dressing. Their clothing included woolen ponchos, trousers call
, and leather boots; this “costume” of sorts is still worn by Argentine cowboys today.
The Gauchos lived very simply and rustically. Their homes were often small huts made out of mud and grass, and they slept on hides on the ground (“Gaucho”). Gauchos were very exposed to the elements and had to endue a variety of nature’s battles. They endured the rough lifestyle, however—many practiced the Roman Catholic faith and enjoyed the community and fellowship that came with their way of life. Some of their pastimes were playing the guitar, singing folk songs, hunting, boxing, and gambling. Very little about their rowdy attitudes or tough jobs was clean or sophisticated, but the Gauchos are celebrated for their tradition. They seemed to cast their cares to the wind, work hard, and enjoy the company of one another and the open grasslands of Argentina.
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