Archived: EDITORIAL: How the West Was Really Won


With today’s assaults on the contributions of Latinos to this country as being negligible at best, it’s really helpful that the start of Latino Heritage Month gives us the opportunity to review the many contributions to America made by Latinos, and particularly by Mexicans here in California.

For those who question why we would celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day in particular in Los Angeles, we would remind them that this area was still part of Mexico when the country, including California, sought it’s independence from Spanish colonial rule.

We also remind them that it was Mexican ranchers who taught and exposed newly arrived immigrants how to herd large herds of cattle and wild horses, and how to break them so they could be ridden.

It was Mexican miners who taught recently arrived Easterners how to pan for gold and how to identify mother lodes in the mines of California and the Southwest.

It was Mexicans who tamed the west and founded the cities and villages that allowed settlers from the east to survive the desert and extreme heat, and it was California’s Mexicans who tended and founded the wineries and large ranches and orchards that graced the pages of advertisements urging settlers to come to the Golden State.

California and other Southwest territories were not unpopulated, lawless expansions of territory. No, there were cities, governments and other vestiges of civilized living in the Southwest territories. For those who are so proud of claiming to have “Won the West,” we have news for you: The West had already been won.

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