Nineteenth-century History

Cowboys

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 5)

Life on the cattle trail in the late 19th century was often monotonous and boring, however, there were also times that were quite exciting and dangerous. Chief among the many dangers that the cowboys had to face on a regular basis were Indians, thieves and stampedes. Indian raids were certainly amon...

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 4)

In the late 19th century, the combination of high demand for beef in the eastern United States and the lack of railroads or really any kind of infrastructure in the west was the cause for a unique phenomenon west. The western ranchers in states such as Texas and Wyoming needed to find a way to...

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 3)

The image of the American cowboy as we perceive it today was created in the 19th century, particularly in the postbellum period, or the period after the Civil War. After the war, many soldiers from both the Union and the Confederate sides had difficulties finding jobs in the east despite the South&#...

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 2)

The history of the cowboy is a story that begins long ago. What we now think of as a uniquely American tradition is not solely American at all. Cowboy tradition first originated in mediæval Spain with the hacienda, or estate. The haciendas belonged to wealthy landowners and were generally, but not ...

Who were the real cowboys? (Part 1)

“Always drink upstream from the herd.” That was the advice of just one of hundreds of anonymous cowboys of the 19th century. While many of us are familiar with romanticized cowboys such as those played by John Wayne and Clint Eastwood in western films, many of us do not know much about t...
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