The Argentina Gaucho origins

The Argentina Gaucho origins

The Argentina gauchos was the nomadic horseman of the Pampas, of mixed ancestry origins, he led a free and independent life and has been looked at in fascination by all those who met him.


All travellers agree that he was the embodiment of freedom. “They abhor discipline and are distinguished by a naughty and independent dignity.” (Hinchliff)




He was, in the mid eighteenth century, a lazy and often belligerent vagrant, accustomed to slaughter cattle when hungry, to work when in need of a shirt, and who had neither home nor family.


“Whether it be cold or hot, the itinerant peon reposes soundly under the open canopy of heaven, having the earth as his bed, his poncho as his covering, and his saddle for his pillow.”

(Gillespie – Gleanings and Remaks, Leeds 1818)


gaucho argentina pampa estancia



When the colonies started trading in hides and tallow, the Argentina gauchos was needed at the vaquerías (the first organized farms), because he was skilful in all rural activities.

He was the adequate person, who, armed with his knife, his lasso and his boleadoras, hunted the large herds.

He had to assemble the cattle and drive them to market, break in the colts, kill the cattle for hide, tallow and charqui (jerked meat).


The hides had to be stretched and dried and charqui had to be cut in long pieces, dipped in salt and water and dried in the air.


The Argentina gauchos, this strong, loyal, proud creature, was now learning to build his hut and settle down. Early in the nineteenth century the Gauchos were forced to join the army to fight the wars of independence.


gaucho pampa argentina estancia


“Whether it be cold or hot, the itinerant peon reposes soundly under the open canopy of heaven, having the earth as his bed, his poncho as his covering, and his saddle for his pillow.”

(Gillespie – Gleanings and Remaks, Leeds 1818)


“The character of the Gaucho is often very estimable; he is always hospitable, at his hut the traveller is sure to find a friendly welcome, and he will often be received with a natural dignity of manner which is very remarkable.”

(Francis Bond Head – Rough Notes, London 1828)


“Most of them do a hard day´s work very steadily without food till the evening announces the time of their rest; they loll or sit lazily about the fire where their beef is cooking, while the inevitable cigarette ornaments their sunburnt faces; and if I may judge by my own experience, I should say they pass their evening remarkably quietly in their own quartier of the Estancia; where they peaceably gorge themselves with beef and mate.” (Hinchliff)


Today the Pampa has been fenced, the fear of the malón (attacks by the Indians) has disappeared and the Gaucho has become the peon, the rural labourer.



(Mónica Gloria Hoss de le Comte)

For booking the most Real gauchos Tour Buenos Aires Areco Estancia: Estancia Tour in Buenos Aires

For more information about gauchos culture and heritage: The gaucho experience

Full day tour Buenos Aires Estancia El Ombu de Areco with transfer


Visit gaucho Don Segundo Ramirez

Visit gaucho Don Segundo Ramirez

Visit gaucho in San Antonio de Areco: the gaucho that is better known and venerated is Don Segundo Ramirez: He used to be working as a “resero” (cowboy herder) at the “Estancia” (ranch) of Ricardo Güiraldes.

Based on the life of this visit gaucho Don Segundo of San Antonio de Areco: Don Segundo Ramirez, the main novel about the Gauchos “Don Segundo Sombra” was written by Ricardo Güiraldes…


gaucho pampa argentina estancia


Güiraldes, based on the real stories of Don Segundo, wrote the main novel about Gauchos: “Don Segundo Sombra”, firstly published in 1926 in the gaucho town San Antonio de Areco.

He describes visit gaucho “don Segundo” the same as the real character: “His chest was vast, bony joints like a colt, short foot with big instep, thick hands with callus and a dark complexion with small eyes…”.


visit gaucho buenos aires


On the ranch, not far from the main house, was a great Ombú: This is a tree which, grows only on the Pampas. Every day, Ricardo Güiraldes climbed into a notch of this tree and wrote the story of Don Segundo Sombra. It was published in 1926, and made its author famous. Indeed, it was one of those rare books, like the great gaucho epic Martín Fierro (1872), that are read by everyone, intellectual and farmer, adult and child.


  don segundo ramirez  don segundo sombra with horse


Don Segundo was born in 1860, and got married with Verancia Rodríguez in 1891. He worked for many Estancias in Areco: San Fermín, La Merced, La Fe, La Porteña, but never had any identity card nor employment contract.


Don Tomás Huarte, foreman of Estancia La Enriqueta, told some things about don Segundo:


– Don Tomás, while siping mate with don Segundo, ask him why being such a good worker, he stay just one year in one Estancia, then maybe two years in another Estancia an so on: “Look, if as a simple worker I stay here for two years knowing all your weakness, by the third one I will pretend to be the foreman, and that situation will not like you, and being a foreman for three or four years, by the fifth I will feel like being the owner and I should settled here.

Instead of this I prefer to go and feel free. I do not want to be tied to any obligation.”


gaucho pampa argentina estancia



– Don Segundo was in the fireplace with some others gauchos, and told this story: “I used to know a blind man in the Capilla town, to whom some people bring a horse, and that man begin to touch the horse in the neck, then feeling the horsehair in the chest, in the rib cage, and finally said: this animal is black, or bay or cream-coloured…”

One listener said: “wow…but, does he ever failed?”

Don Segundo: If he ever failed?, he failed all the time!!!



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