Cover - Vaqueros and Cowboys

Cowboys and vaqueros usually worked for ranches. In Spanish, we say "ranchos" so that's what the vaqueros called where they worked.

Ranching played a very important role in Texas history, even before Texas was a state. Back when Texas belonged to Spain, missions and presidios survived by ranching. All those wild longhorn made for plenty of cattle to round up and put on a ranch. Plus wild horses, called mustangs, ran here, too.

Two very special ranches gained fame in Texas history: The King Ranch and the X.I.T.

The King Ranch

The King Ranch is in south Texas. That's at the bottom of the state.

Today, the King Ranch is the biggest cattle ranch in the whole world! The vaqueros who work there have a special name: "Kineños."


XIT Cowboys

Cowboys from the X.I.T. Ranch in the Panhandle of Texas in 1891

The X.I.T. Ranch

In the 1880's the X.I.T. Ranch was the largest fenced ranch in the world – with 3 million acres! It used to go from Lubbock all the way up to Oklahoma. Whoa, Buckaroo!

The X.I.T. shut down in 1963.


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