Soldados de Cuera

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Soldados de Cuera

Soldados de Cuera, leather-armored cavalrymen of late-eighteenth-century presidios in northern New Spain. The Regulation and Instruction for the Presidios of New Spain of 1772 established a fortified line of fifteen forts, approximately 100 miles apart, from the Gulf of California to the Gulf of Mexico. To man these isolated posts with minimal troops, "flying companies" (compañías volantes) of cavalry patrolling between forts were formed to defend against possible foreign encroachment and hostile Indians. Armed with lances, short swords, muskets, and shields of two or three thicknesses of bullhide, the men wore knee-length, sleeveless leather coats, which gave them their name, cloth trousers, and high cowhide boots. As protection against attack and the thorny brush, horses wore leather "armor."

See alsoArmed Forces .


Sidney B. Brinckerhoff and Odie B. Faulk, Lancers for the King (1965).

Odie B. Faulk, The Leather Jacket Soldier (1971).

Additional Bibliography

Anderson, Gary Clayton. The Indian Southwest, 1580–1830. Ethnogenesis and Reinvention. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.

Griffin-Pierce, Trudy. Native Peoples of the Southwest. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2002.

Weber, David J. Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

                                    W. Michael Mathes