A gaucho hat is one of the Gaucho clothing items that are most commonly associated with the typical South American gaucho. There is a distinctive physical appearance that many people identify with traditional gauchos and it includes a specific style of hat, saddle, boots, pants, shirt and head covering.
Although the term has been used as a reference for those who live in the country's grasslands, pampas and chacos regions most people instantly think of the iconic Spanish cowboy when they hear this word being spoken.
A gaucho hat is as much a part of the look in South America as a cowboy hat is for Western enthusiasts. No matter if you use the term vaquero, cowboy, charro or llanero these words all describe a specific occupation that has been in existence for several centuries.
A gaucho hat was an essential wardrobe item for those who worked on the South American ranges during the 1800s. These head coverings had unique differences that were associated with the South American region where they were constructed. The appeal of these clothing accessories has continued to be strong ever since.
A standard outfit for an early Uruguay gaucho often featured long trousers that were known as bombachas, a belt, a leather whip, a knit wool poncho and leather boots. In addition this individual would carry a Gaucho knife and wear a beret or gaucho hat.
Hats, pants, shirts and even gaucho belts often provided a number of functions for the wearers. Even the wool ponchos could be pressed into action for uses other than protection from the elements.
Gauchos quickly learned to use ponchos if they were traveling through heavy brush or were pressed into a knife fight. By wrapping the poncho around one of their forearms they could provide additional protection for their wrists and forearms.
Traditionally a gaucho is viewed as a brave, proud and strong individual with an intense belief in hard work and justice.
When some don one of these broad brimmed hats or a gaucho beret it is easy to see why they feel such a strong connection to some of the most revered Uruguay gauchos.
The first time that the term appears in South American history is during the early 19th century.
It is documented in writings that relate to the Argentine fight for National independence. Curiously there is no real consensus when it comes to the origination of the word gaucho.
Some feel that it was taken from the Quechua word for orphan while others believe this word originated from the Mapuche term for vagabond. In either situation there is good logic to support the hypothesis of where and how the term Gaucho first came into existence.