Do you believe that America as we know it has been influenced by the Spanish in many ways? In the book Forging the American Character an essay written by Henry Wiencek called The Spain Among Us records many historical facts on the significance Spanish colonization has had on the Americas. America's identity is made up of many cultures put into one. Spanish colonization has had huge impact on the Americas in ways such as shaping the American character, contributing to American ranching practices, and by obtaining vital territory for its survival. .
The heart of the American character lies within the urge to discover the unknown and go to places that man has never seen before. As mentioned in the essay, "America was discovered by accident and explored to a considerable extent by people trying to find a way to somewhere else." (18) Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's exploration led to the first European sightings of the Grand Canyon. Even until this day it is evident that the act of seeking is embedded in the American character. An example would be the amount of effort Americans put in trying to go to different planets. It was the Americans who were the first to land on the moon and we continue to search for new planets. .
Without knowing the early history of the Americas, I wouldn't have known that many of the American cowboy language were derived from Spanish. What I definitely did not know is that the very concept of the ranch as Spanish. The Spaniards brought many animals to the New World such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, burros, and swine. Beef is a big part of the American diet today. The Spaniards also developed the distinctive saddle that is now identified with the West. Wiencek states, "The cattle drive was not invented in Texas; it was an established custom in Iberia, where herds were moved to different pastures with changing seasons."(22) It is also mentioned that only the Spaniards herded on horseback, which was adopted into American ranching also.