Cowboy: The History of the American Symbol
The word cowboy, consisting of two words – cow (cow) and boy (boy), literally translated as “cow boy.” In our understanding, something like a shepherd. It is known that it was hard, exhausting work, with very low pay. Nearly half of them had African, Indian or Mexican roots. So, talking about “real American guys” is hardly possible. Not to mention the fact that many had to hide their dark past and unclean conscience. Naturally, they were not completely free or independent. Even the horses for their work, they had to rent from the owner of the ranch.
Cowboys were at the bottom of American society, and parents from decent families would never allow their daughter to marry any of them. And this whole “cowboy era” lasted less than thirty years – a moment, even against the background of a short history of the development of the American continent. How could it happen that these guys were not only the “most recognizable symbol of America”, but also its pride?
There is no doubt that the shepherd’s profession itself is nothing unusual or exotic. She has been known since ancient times. Since people have tamed wild animals. Under their supervision, walk through the biblical pages of a flock of sheep. In distant Bethlehem, they will first come to the Virgin Mary who gave birth. At the time of the Crusaders, the “shepherd’s” crusades were organized twice, so that after their defeat, then over centuries they would peacefully feed their cattle. The hard work of these pastore will soon be so idealized that in literature, painting, music and theater there will even arise a special genre poeticizing rural life – pastoral (from the French Pastorale – shepherd, rural).
Although, speaking of the shepherds, most often refer to the people who accompanied the nomadic herds, and not herded cattle at the estate. This duty is usually imposed on adolescents: boys or girls. Thanks to these young shepherds, the word cowboy, or “boy watching the cows”, appeared in England. As a rule, children grazed cattle on foot, sometimes resorting to the help of a lash or dog. And the real shepherds used horses in their work.
It is believed that they were brought to America by conquistadors. Although this statement is not entirely true. It is more correct to say that they returned them here after thousands of years of wandering.
Experts know that the true continent of ancient horses is the American continent.
However, even in the preglacial epoch they died out here, as evidenced by many of the remains found (bones, skulls, etc.). However, some of these ancient American horses still managed to move from North America to Asia along the “Bering isthmus”, which appeared on the site of the current Bering Strait during periods of cold snaps and a general decrease in sea level. Then, after warming, the waves again closed the land that opened at the bottom. And because horses, unable to return, were forced to move forward. So they settled in the territories of the Old World. From here and tarpan, and wild horses of Asia, as well as African zebras. They returned to America already in domesticated form. On the ships of the conquistadors.
In 1519, the conqueror of Mexico, Fernando Cortes, brought 16 horses with him. Yernando de Soto already had over two hundred horses when he landed in Florida in 1539. Even more of these animals were with him when he moved along the Mississippi in 1541. And Vasquez de Coronado, at the same time exploring the South-West, had more than a thousand horses on his expedition. The tasks of mastering the continent were so ambitious, and the spaces so large that the conquistadors simply could not do without them. And the ships were all carrying and bringing here new herds of horses. And soon, they began to breed them here, on new farms and ranches.
And one more thing: a horse that had never been seen before, a warrior chained in armor and a firearm, brought such genuine horror to the locals that only a few horsemen could defeat thousands of Indian troops.