Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721-1821

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Overview


Until Los Mesteños was published in 1986, the history of cattle ranching in Texas focused almost exclusively on the nineteenth-century era of the great cattle drives. But even before the birth of George III or George Washington, the king's men—subjects of the Spanish crown—had established a vast cattle kingdom in Texas.

Jack Jackson chronicles in rich detail the hundred years of Spanish ranching, beginning a century before Mexico, and subsequently Texas, gained independence. From the introduction of livestock into the province by various early entradas (expeditions), to the first big roundup in 1787, and beyond, he traces the development of the range and of cattle working. He shows the feral increase of the early herds, the conflicts over ownership of the wild animals (mesteños), the emergence of Spanish "dynasties," and the attempts of colonial governments to regulate the industry.

Although some scholars have attributed western ranching practices largely to the influence of Anglo settlers, Jackson meticulously traces both stock and stock raising techniques to their origins in Spanish Texas. Describing the founding of the first Anglo ranches in Texas, he carefully shows their adaptation of Hispanic cattle culture in the brands used, the market exploited, and the emerging life-style.

In his review for the Western Historical Quarterly, Félix D. Almaráz, Jr., said that "with the publication of Los Mesteños, Jackson has earned distinction as a rigorous scholar and writer," adding that the book had made "a solid addition to borderlands literature."

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Editorial Reviews

True West
[Jackson] paints the Spanish era in broader detail. A picture emerges of a land with its own importance, of a people with fierce and enduring energy and courage, of vaqueros and rancheros, priests, soldiers, Indians, and settlers who gave Texas its rich cultural and romantic heritage. . . . very impressive history.
Journal of Southern History
Any student of eighteenth-century Texas cannot overlook this book, given its wealth of material.
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Product Details

Meet the Author


JACK JACKSON, a free-lance writer and illustrator in Austin, grew up on one of the historic South Texas ranches. His books include Mapping Texas and the Gulf Coast (co-authored), Imaginary Kingdom, and Comanche Moon.
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