Gauchos Legend
The Lords of the Pampa






This is the story of the Gaucho, a true Argentine symbol,

whose history was forged in the Pampas

(source Argentina Excepción)

Values over the shoulder: courage, honor, freedom


The Gaucho is in a way the cowboy of Argentina, but also of Uruguay and South Brazil. He is the guardian of the herds of the immense expanses of the Pampas, around which a whole culture has developed, with traditions, rites, costumes, culinary habits.


The Gaucho appears during the time of the Spanish colony. Spanish or mixed race of Spanish and native, he works for his own account, hunting wild cattle to sell the leather, confronting the Indians who resist colonization.


With the creation of the large estancias, he is responsible for guarding the herds of oxen, preparing the leathers, training the horses. In the nineteenth century, at the time of the wars of independence, this nomad, not very considered, conquers his letters of nobility by allying with the liberation armies. Courageous, good rider, knowing the terrain well, he proves to be a precious soldier.


Idealized figure the Gaucho will represent the values of courage, honor and freedom of the country man and will be elevated to the rank of romantic figure in Martin Fierro by writer José Hernández or in Don Segundo Sombra by Ricardo Güiraldes. Because he symbolizes the glorious past of Argentina which fed the planet, the Gaucho is still a myth in the collective imagination of Argentina.

An outfit adapted to the lifestyle


Gaucho's name comes from the Quechua "huachu" which means orphan or vagabond. Solitary, in love with freedom even asocial, the Gaucho led a rustic and austere life sleeping under the stars, eating grilled meat (asado) and mate.


In the 18th century, the land around the Rio de la Plata was large enough and wild cattle abundant to live a life without depending on anyone. When he settled down or started a family, the Gaucho built a small rancho in adobe and covered with a straw roof. The bed was made of stretched cowhide.


His dress is still used today during certain festivals, such as in San Antonio de Areco: leather boots (or skin espadrilles) with spurs, baggy pants tucked into the boots, a loose shirt, a woolen belt and a belt decorated with coins and a beautiful buckle to which is hung a facón (dagger), a short waistcoat, a jacket, a scarf around the neck or on the head, a wide-brimmed hat or a beret, rebenque (whip) and wool poncho, worn for protection from the cold and bad weather or folded over the left shoulder in summer.

Horse and guitar


The Gaucho had several types of knives: the most common for eating and working, the faćon for fighting. Without forgetting the horse, without which a Gaucho would not be a Gaucho. Children learned to ride from early childhood and were not afraid, when they were teenagers, to tame wild horses. The boleadoras, working instrument and weapon consisting of two or three long straps ending in stone balls, worn on the belt, were used for hunting and certain games of skill. Thrown into the paws of an animal, the boleadoras, of Indian origin, immobilized it, for sure.


The guitar is often the companion of the Gaucho. The most inspired are payadores, poets and singers, who delight the countryside with their songs to laugh or to cry.


Sometimes we danced the cielito, the gato, the media caña, etc. We used to meet at the pulperia, those grocery stores that sold a bit of everything in the countryside. We used to meet at the pulperia, those grocery stores that sold a bit of everything in the countryside. The pulpero served in the shelter of a grid, protected from possible fights. Other distractions for men are the trucos (card games), cockfighting and horse races ridden bareback.

Today's Gaucho sometimes leaves his horse for a 4x4, the traditional outfit for the festivals, but the culture of the Gauchos still exists and the work of herd keeper too.


He has his national day on December 6.

Travel agency in Argentina for tailor-made tours in Argentina



Report on the Gauchos broadcast by Arte TV in "Invitation to travel" (in French)


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