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Hispanic Heritage

El corrido de Juan Cortinas

This corrido captures the resentment that Mexicans on the border felt toward the Americans moving into Texas after its annexation by the United States. The corrido celebrates the exploits of Juan Nepomuceno Cortinas, a Mexican from south Texas. Cortinas, a member of a wealthy landowning family with deep roots in the Texas-Mexico border region, came to resent the arrogant attitude of the Anglo newcomers, especially the fortune makers. After an incident in which he accosted a town marshal who was pistol-whipping a vaquero (cowboy) who worked on his mother's ranch, Cortinas was declared an outlaw, and thereafter he dedicated his life to guerrilla warfare, until he was driven out of Texas by the U.S. cavalry.

That famed General Cortinas
is quite sovereign and free,
the honor due him is greater
for he saved a Mexican's life.
The Americans made merry,
they got drunk in the saloons,
out of joy over the death
of the famed General Cortinas.

Source: Hispanic American Almanac, Gale, 1997; DISCovering Multicultural America, Gale, 1999.

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