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Charro, Mexican horseman skilled in roping and riding. The first charros were elite Spaniards who perpetuated jineta (Moorish-style riding) on their New World encomiendas. The group subsequently included mestizos, many of whom were landowners or hacienda overseers. Over time they combined jineta with events derived from cattle ranching and developed the whole into a sport called charrería, which became the national sport of Mexico. Always known for their distinctive riding style and flamboyant costumes, charros gained fame in the Mexican Revolution because they formed a great part of the insurgent groups. Both Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata were charros. Since 1921, most charros have been members of one of over 800 amateur charro clubs in Mexico and the United States. Unlike their rural predecessors, contemporary charros usually live in cities, and many follow professions like law or medicine. Clubs regularly compete against one another in Charreadas, which are somewhat like American rodeos except that competition is by team rather than individual, with rules and events more like those of earlier centuries.

See alsoGaucho; Sports.


Carlos Rincón Gallardo, El charro mexicano (1939).

Alfonso Rincón Gallardo, "Contemporary Charrería," in Artes de México 14, no. 99 (1967): 41-42 (entire issue is devoted to charrería).

James Norman Schmidt, Charro: Mexican Horseman (1969).

José Alvarez Del Villar, Men and Horses of Mexico: History and Practice of "Charrería," translated by Margaret Fischer de Nicolin (1979).

Kathleen M. Sands, "Charreada: Performance and Interpretation of an Equestrian Folk Tradition in Mexico and the United States," in Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 13 (1994): 77-100.

Additional Bibliography

Carreño King, Tania. El charro: La construcción de un estereo-tipo nacional, 1920–1940. México: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana, 2000.

                                      Mary Lou LeCompte

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