The Argentine Gauchos culture from the 18th and the 19th century

Polo | Spotlight

Down the ages with Argentine Gauchos

The nomadic and vibrant horsemen and cowhands of the Argentine and Uruguayan Pampas, the Gaucho prospered during the mid-eighteenth and the mid-nineteenth century. Their legend is akin to the cowboys in western North America.

Gauchos were generally mestizos, people of blended European and Indian origin. From their own ditties and legends, a writing of the gauchos—la literatura gauchesca—developed and turned into a significant piece of the Argentine social custom.

The expression “gaucho” may originate from the Quecha word “huachu”, meaning a vagabond. The gauchos of yore were hard-riding, hard-living, opportunity-cherishing people. Seriously private, gauchos were among the most talented horse riders and handlers. These wandering riders went through days alone in the saddle; some state they even bathed riding a horse.


Gauchos offered an explanation to nobody. Social abilities were thus a test. Their concept of compromise frequently needed struggle, particularly at knifepoint.

There are hardly any people in Argentina as romanticized as the gauchos; rough, itinerant people who evade city living to seek presence in the rambling Pampas. The gaucho is a specialist horse rider, outdoorsman and tracker, known to be liberal yet uncontrollable – a verifiable bandit.

History of Gauchos

The gaucho initially started to rise during the War of Independence. Argentine nationalist powers were continually combating with the Spanish. Countrymen of blended Spanish and indigenous legacy participated in the quarrel, utilizing their horse-riding aptitudes and information on the land to offer significant help to the nationalists.

For most part, they battled as scouts, setting up ambushes and assembling valuable intel. These men assumed an indispensable job in the war, which reached a conclusion in 1818, and it was around that time that the gauchos emerged.

After the war, the gauchos moved to Argentina’s fertile marshy Pampas. It was during this time their way of life truly started to rise. They looked for employment, marshalling cows, pursuing wanderers and performing unspecialized temp jobs for proprietors of well-off estancias.

Culture and Style

The gauchos cut their own way of life in the Pampas, including a manner of dressing and dancing. A new kind of dress showed up which was generally more useful than in vogue. They wore bombachas that were baggy trousers, and in some cases, accumulated at the base, concealing some truly bowed legs from interminable riding.


Heavy woollen ponchos to keep warm in winter and wide brimmed hats to keep the sun under control completed the gaucho attire. It is still worn today during celebrations like December 6, their national holiday. A facón, which is a long knife and a leather whip, called rebenque and lasso were always with them. Making a trip from estancia to estancia to look for work, they were living off a diet of beef, maté and wine.

They could be seen coming from a distance. Many gauchos wore a signature cap, a wide-width beret, called a Boina. To charm femininity, they created a move called Malambo, customarily a male dance – an armada footed show of competency and persistence.

Life of Gauchos

Before the end of the eighteenth century, private proprietors had gained the half-wild domesticated animals on the Pampas and recruited the gauchos as animal handlers. By the late nineteenth century, the Pampas had been fenced into enormous estancias. The once free-vivacious gauchos turned into farmhands or peons.


In the mid nineteenth century, the gauchos had been the backbone of the armed forces of the Río de la Plata distict. A boisterous gathering of horsemen called the montonera battled in the wars, under the federalist caudillos of the areas outside of Buenos Aires.

At the end of the nineteenth century, gaucho culture went into decline. These rough societies were underestimated by the more noteworthy Argentine community, who considered their way of life as graceless. Besides, industrial revolution brought new innovation that decreased the requirement for rustic work, putting many gauchos out of a vocation. The greater part left for Buenos Aires to discover business, while those that remained looked for work as herders, shearers and jacks of all trades. Some took on salaried agreements.

Present-day Gauchos

Nowadays, vacationers relish on the opportunity to access an estancia and associate with a genuine gaucho. Gauchos have figured out how to turn into astounding hosts and performers, performing obligations like cooking, playing music, managing horseback rides and instructing about their way of life and customs.

Between engaging travellers, gauchos gather cows, sheep and horses, much the same as they did in the past. Typically, a day incorporates an asado lunch and a campfire supper joined by gaucho tunes and stories, giving a feel like being shipped back two centuries prior.

For those who wish to know more about the gaucho lifestyle, the town of San Antonio de Areco, 70 miles west of Buenos Aires is a good focal point.