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Origins of the Mexican Charro Part Two

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Mexican Charros Roping a Horse
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The first part of this amazing story of El Charro Mexicano in our previous blog focused on his origins, from been an indigenous slave to an important role in the haciendas established in New Spain. If you haven’t read the first part on the origins of the Mexican Charro, we recommend that you do.

The evolution of the Mexican Charro started with the Chinaco, who was an indigenous person, part of the lowest social class at the time Mexico was a colony of Spain. They were given work at the haciendas to help the Spanish with all the farm tasks. Eventually, the Spanish Viceroy granted the Chinaco the right to ride horses so they could pasture and take care of the cattle.

As time passed, the Chinaco gained trust and achieved a higher social status. The name Chinaco changed to Arriero, which means the person who herds cattle.

El Arriero was well known and popular around the central area of New Spain, which is now the State of Hidalgo, but soon could be found in every corner of the country that raised cattle. Each region had a unique way for him to do his job, which created a wide range of ways to work.

It was at this point that El Arriero became El Charro. His clothes, tools, weapons and harness were made with mastery and beauty by the skillful hands of artisans. His influence on society was so great that El Charro became a national icon through widespread representation in the arts and now identifies us as Mexicans.

The influence and participation of El Charro in the history of Mexico is undeniable. He was like a guard, a warrior and a fighter in time of war, but also contributed to the economy by raising cattle.

Los Charros got together everywhere there were cattle to have fun and show off a bit by doing feats, which started a spirit of competition. Eventually, these gatherings got the name Los Jaripeos, which is the name of the Charros parties. A festivity sprang up around Los Jaripeos as people flocked to see Los Charros perform their feats.

By the last third of the 19th century, groups of Charros got together periodically to practice what was called Charrería in an organized way. These groups of Charros were mainly in the center of the country and created the first association in Mexico City, named La Sociedad de los Hombres Libres, which means The Society of Free Men.

What started as a way of living and working decades ago became the national tradition of Charreadas o Jaripeos in bullrings, fairs and other events.

It was very difficult during the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century to continue with the Jaripeos or Charreadas, but after many years La Charrería has now become the one and only national sport in Mexico.

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