Gaucho is the name given to the men who rode the Pampa, the plains of Argentina, Uruguay and parts of southern Brazil, earning their living on cattle farms. Important parts of the gaucho's traditional costume include the faja, a sash worn around the waist, the facón, a sheath knife, and boleadoras, strips of leather weighted with stones at either end which were used somewhat like lassos to catch cattle. During the 19th century this vast pampas area was divided up into large ranches and the free-roaming lifestyle of the gaucho gradually disappeared. Gauchos were the inspiration for a tradition of literatura gauchesca, of which the most famous work is the two-part epic poem "Martín Fierro" written by the Argentine José Hernández between 1872 and 1879 and mourning the loss of the gaucho way of life and their persecution as outlaws.
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