SAN ANTONIO – Mustangs and longhorns are very common in Texas, but they’ve been around a lot longer than the state itself.
Their history dates back to the 600s and 700s when the Moors from North Africa occupied Old Spain.
“Not only did the Moors bring their religion, their institutions, they also brought their agricultural practices and that led to bringing their cattle strains to Spain,” TexasTejano.com historian Rudi Rodriguez said.
When explorers like Christopher Columbus started their expeditions to the “New World” they brought along this livestock with them.
After Hernán Cortés caused the downfall of the Aztec empire in Mexico in 1521, the livestock were then brought there and bred.
It wouldn’t be for almost another hundred years before these animals would be brought into the Texas area through a process called “seed stock”. This common practice was used in unexplored areas and was a way to develop and breed the livestock for the future development of ranches.
With the success of the seed stock, the first Tejano ranches are created around 1741.
“We’re real proud and pleased of the things that our ancestors accomplished and developed,” Rodriguez said. “Tejanos at many times were the first, the first ranches, the first longhorns and so forth.”
There are still remnants of those first Tejano ranches around, the closest being Rancho de Las Cabras in Wilson County, which was the ranch for the San Antonio Missions. At one point according to old mission records the ranch had over a thousand head of cattle and over 30 horses.
For more on Tejano history, you can visit, TexasTejano.com.