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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Rancheros'

Rancheros Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Ranchero \Ran*che"ro\, n.; pl. Rancheros. [Sp.] [Mexico & Western U. S.]
  1. A herdsman; a peasant employed on a ranch or rancho.
  2. The owner and occupant of a ranch or rancho.
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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Rancheros'

Spain in Las Californias, and after independence then México in Alta California, encouraged settlement of the territory by the establishment of large land grants, many of which were later turned into Ranchos, devoted to the raising of cattle and sheep. The owners of these ranchos patterned themselves after the landed gentry in Spain. Their workers included Californian Native Americans who had learned to speak Spanish and to ride horses. Of the 800-plus grants, Spain made about 30. The remainder were granted by Mexico. The ranchos established land-use patterns that are recognizable in the California of today.

During Spanish rule (1769–1821), the ranchos were concessions from the Spanish crown, permitting settlement and granting grazing rights on specific tracts of land, while retaining title with the crown. The ranchos, that is, the settlement by individuals of tracts of land outside Presidio, mission, and Pueblo boundaries, began in 1784, when Juan Jose Dominguez got permission from Spanish Governor Pedro Fages to put his cattle on the 48,000-acre (190 km2) Rancho San Pedro. The land concessions were usually measured in leagues. A league of land would encompass a square that is one Spanish league on each side – approximately 4,428 acres (18 km2).

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