views updated


Boleadoras, also known as bolas, a leather and stone weapon of the Pampas. Indigenous civilizations strongly influenced the material culture and language of the Río de la Plata. They developed the boleadoras which was then adopted by the gaucho. The dangerous weapon consists of two or three rawhide thongs, each tipped with leather-covered rocks or metal balls that are bound together at one end. After whirling the boleadoras around his head, the Indian or gaucho would fling it at the feet of a fleeing rhea, horse, or bull. Entangled in the thongs, the animal crashed to the ground. In addition to its utility in hunting, the weapon proved effective in cavalry warfare. The indigenous peoples of the pampas reputedly trained their horses to run and escape even when entangled in boleadoras.

See alsoGaucho .


Richard W. Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (1983), esp. pp. 8, 87.

Additional Bibliography

Assunção, Fernando O. Historia del gaucho: El gaucho, ser y quehacer. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claridad, 1999.

De la Fuente, Ariel. Children of Facundo: Caudillo and Gaucho Insurgency during the Argentine State-Formation Process (La Rioja, 1853–1870). Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

Mandrini, Raúl. Los pueblos originarios de la Argentina: La visión del otro. Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires. EUDEBA, 2004.

                                   Richard W. Slatta