Gaucho is the Argentine cowboy and folk hero. Most gauchos were mestizos, of mixed Indian and Spanish blood. They nourished on the pampas of Argentina and Uruguay from about 1750 to 1850. During this period wild cattle and horses ran free on the pampas. The gauchos hunted them with lasso and bola. The tough rangy cattle were valued chiefly for their hides. The horses were traded or were broken in to become the swift mounts of the gauchos. Although trade with foreigners was prohibited by Spanish law, a brisk commerce developed between the gauchos and English, French, and Dutch traders. With the fencing in of the pampas in the 19th century, the gaucho gradually disappeared. However, like the American cowboy, he continued to live in literature, art, and music.