These photos are part of an ongoing project looking at Charreada and it’s place in modern Mexico’s society. I’m aiming to complete it this year with a a series of portraits.

The roots of the sport now known as charrería can be traced as far back as 1519, when the Spanish conquest introduced horses to the land that would later be known as Mexico. The skill-set involved in charrería evolved on the large haciendas or ranches of the 17th and 18th centuries, where the farm-hands in charge of cattle and horses (called vaqueros, or rancheros) began to compete against each other in informal tests of skill.

Competitions tested abilities that were the vaqueros’ bread and butter — lassoing horses and bulls, breaking in wild horses, and catching runaway bulls. Of the events that survive in modern-day charrería, only bull-riding and the ‘paso del muerte’ (jumping from one horse to another at speed) were not necessary parts of everyday farm work, but rather inventions designed to produce shows of strength and cojones.

Through the lens of the major turning points in Mexican history — from colonisation to Mexican independence to the protracted civil war of the Mexican revolution — the meaning of the charro has been continuously contested in the popular imagination.

During the Mexican war of independence, the term chinaco emerged to designate those vaqueros, rancheros and hacendados who fought for independence against the crown. Already used to living their lives in the saddle in all weathers, these horsemen made ideal insurgency fighters, and by the time the war was over, the chinacos were legends, popularly credited with having won Mexican independence.

This is an excerpt from an article published on Maptia which can be seen here.


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Formula 1

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