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During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Brazilian gaúcho, cousin of the Argentine and Uruguayan cowboy, was the cowboy of the Rio Grande Do Sul. The term also refers to a native of that region. Gaúchos roamed the open plain hunting semiferal cattle for their hides. They dressed in baggy bombacha pants and a poncho and wore a long knife. Gaúchos participated as cavalry soldiers in the nineteenth-century wars and rebellions of the border region. Twentieth-century modernization forced them into employment on newly fenced Estancias (ranches), ending their seminomadic way of life. Gaú cho life-style and customs have been preserved in music and dance, outdoor barbecues, and chimarrão (Yerba Maté).

See alsoVaqueiros .


Joseph Love, Rio Grande do Sul and Brazilian Regionalism, 1882–1930 (1971).

Spencer L. Leitman, "Socio-Economic Roots of the Ragamuffin War: A Chapter in Early Brazilian History" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Texas, 1972).

Lindalvo Bezerra Dos Santos, "O Gaúcho," in Tipos e aspectos do Brasil, 10th ed. (1975), pp. 425-26.

Richard W. Slatta, Cowboys of the Americas (1990), pp. 56-57, 199.

Additional Bibliography

Bell, Stephen. Campanha Gaúcha: A Brazilian Ranching System, 1850–1920. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998.

Oliven, Ruben George. Nación y modernidad: La reinvención de la identidad gaú cha en el Brasil. Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 1999.

                                        Robert Wilcox