This chapter examines New Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing on the lowlands along the Gulf of Mexico where cattle ranching first became established. By the seventeenth century, the cattle population of New Spain had boomed and two dominant ranching districts had emerged. Minor ranching districts became established along the Pacific coast, but not until 1540. Blacks actually had much more opportunity to make creative contributions in America than in either al-Andalus or Andalusia. The distinctive herding ecology and practices that emerged from that hybridization came to dominate much of the North American Great Plains during a brief florescence in the late nineteenth century, first spurred by post-Civil War industrialization and then overwhelmed by it as barbed wire closed the range.
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