, Kamehameha III sent one of his high chiefs to California to hire cowboys who could round up wild cattle and teach Hawaiians cattle and horse handling skills. Three Mexican-Spanish vaquero (cowboys) named Kossuth, Louzeida and Ramon began working on Hawai`i island, first breaking in horses to turn them into working animals, then rounding up and handling hordes of cattle.
Hawaii's cowboys became known as paniolo, a corruption of español, the language the vaquero spoke. The term still refers to cowboys working in the Islands and to the culture their lifestyle spawned.
Hawaiians proved themselves avid students, quickly picking up horsemanship, roping and other skills. Hawaiians became paniolo before the territories of the American West had cowboy or ranch traditions. Cowboys in the Pacific Northwest got their start in 1846
; in California and Texas it was 1848
. Because Hawaiians began their work with cattle and horses earlier, their paniolo traditions were strongly shaped by the Mexican vaquero heritage that stemmed originally from Spain.
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