Hola mi Amigos y Amigas,

A little research has shed some light on this term "GRINGO". I'm sorry to say the findings are a little embarrassing for the Norte Americanos who are inadvertently responcible for the term.

Let me take you back a little more than a century and a half to 1846-1848 when America was at war with Mexico. The politics of that conflict are all but forgotten (by Americans, but probably not by Mexicans) now except by American historians, but what still remains in the lexicon of Latin languages is that term designating any North American citizen; which we know is Gringo. It was first used by Mexican soldiers who came into conflict with the American military which had invaded their country. But what fluke of history caused this "funny" word to enter the language?

Well, a popular song in those days was a little ditty, that had this line as a lyric: "Green grow the lilacs all sparkling with dew. . ." Apparently when the Mexicans heard the Americans singing this song, they heard the opening words of the lyric as "Gringo". So you see, we Americans have only ourselves to blame for this perjorative appliation. With imagination, you can just picture the Americans, drunk on their first taste of tequila or pulque, sitting around the campfire singing with slurred words so the Mexicans couldn't quite figure out what they were singing. "Gringo the lilacs all sparkling with dew. . ." so there you have it, hope it makes sense.

Posted on December 11, 2003

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Lalo is somewhat mixed up here.

First off Gringo is a term used for any white foreigner no matter where they originate.

Second Mexico is in North America-always has been always will be.

Thirdly not everyone here is a yanqui.

His ancient explanation says more to his us-centric view of the planet than any plausible explanation of linguistic quirks.

Personal experience leads me to believe that the griego theory is most credible.

'livin' la vida pesca

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    Posted on December 11, 2003

    gringos Sam Salmon

    Here in Colombia, the word gringo refers to North Americans, not any white Westerner and Gringolandía is the USA.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    So Mexicans are called Gringo as well-because as I said Mexico is in North America.

    And what is the term for European and how would the average person (a vague term I know) tell the difference?

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Dentistry in Colombia How is the standard of dentistry in Colombia?Sorry for the vague question but I'm mulling over having some dental work done in Cartagena if I can get away in February.Any suggestions for favourite Dentists in Cartagena or Cali?

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    The above will have to be edited-I meant to post a new topic and was sure I did.Some of the bugs here have yet to be trampled into dust I see.

    Sam Salmon

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    gringo The word is used in general terms referring to "any American/European" but especially to the pink folks from the the United States. It's a generalization, of course, and it's origins are definetely older than the ones referred to in the first post. The "griego" theory sounds pausible to me too.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Gringo debate I also heard that due to the colour of the "Gringos" uniforms and their unwanted presense, the term relates to "Green go". Not that I am too bothered as being English I am not a gringo. Thank The Lord!!!

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Queridos Cartografos/ Dear Geographers: I don't understand why world geographers haven't come to an agreement . Is Mexico part of North America or Central America. I grew up in Colombia and I was told Mexico was part of Central America. Now My son is growing up in The United States and they are telling him Mexico is part of North America. Come on! don't you think enough time has passed already and it is about time to come up with only one answer.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Mexico I've been taught that the northern parts of Mexico belong to the North American Subcontinent, while the southern states are situated in Central America:)

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    I have always been taught that mexico is part of North America. Some people attempt to place mexico in central america because of the USA being in a first world category.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    geography It has nothing to do with the politics. Only with geography. Geographically speaking Mexico is situated partially on both subcontinents. Sorry if your teachers were incompetent.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Mexico I am mexican and I've been taught that Mexico is part of North America. If you ask any mexican they'll tell you that too.

    And about the origin of the word "gringo", it does come from "green go". Mexicans used it to tell the US army to well go away and after time and use it ended up being gringo.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Why do signs in other countries say "Yankee Go Home," but never do we see signs that say "Gringo, go home?" You may be wondering why I didn't simply look "gringo" up in a Spanish-English dictionary, since I was so determined to find its definition. Well, I did, and the word was defined as "one who speaks gibberish," and "blonde," neither of which made much sense in the common usage of the word unless you are writing a story about a gibberish-talking fair-haired woman, right?

    I live in Tucson,AZ - only about 62miles (90km) from Mexico and I have become friends with many Mexican nationals. I have asked them several times about this word. I have heard some interesting things from them about the origins of the word. Obviously if someone is trying to talk to you in a language that you don't understand then it will sound like gibberish to you - and since many Americans don't speak additional laguages - and many Mexicans don't speak english - we have a case of gringoitis (I made that word up!!) So when the American and Mexican cultures began to interact in the early 1820's when the initial mountain men/gold miners/homesteaders were refered to as gringos by the Mexicans because they did not understand the English words spoken by the Americans. At first the word was not too derogitory, but as more and more Americans began to move into the southwestern US (particularly California and Texas) the word was spoken with more resentment because of the strong handed tactics and greed for California gold caused the US and Mexico to go to war (... and we all know how that went). Since then the word has been used in a sorta mean spirited way refering to someone (99% of the time a white person) as someone who cannot be trusted to fufill a promise and tends to change the rules of the game to suit them. Much like the Native American Indians would say "...that we speak with a forked tounge". From there is spread throughout...

    Another interesting definition ( and personally I think its nice) is that when expatriates leave their homes in Mexico to visit their places of birth, they sometimes playfully refer to their original country as "Gringolandia."

    P.S. The story about Green grow the lillies is nice...

    The US Army did not have green uniforms before 1936 - when they hit the beach at Veracruz and marched on Mexico City they were sporting blue uniforms with white leggings.


    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Try Again in Geography... This is a reply to the anoymous post claiming that Geography teachers were incompitent. He must have been sleeping in school and missed out on the correct information.

    SUBCONTINENT noun: 1. a large, relatively self-contained landmass forming a subdivision of a continent: ??the subcontinent of India? 2. a large landmass, as Greenland, that is smaller than any of the usually recognized [[seven]] continents.

    The seven continents are N. America, S. America, Africa, Austrailia, Antartica, Europe, Asia. Mexico is recognized as a part of the North American continent. Generally speaking, the division of the N. American - S. American continents is at the ismith of Panama.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Where in the world is Mexico? If you are speaking in a purely geographical sense, the country of Mexico is part of North America. Now in the view of the culture of Mexico it is grouped in Central America.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Lobsterbacks..... Englsh troops of this period were refered to as "lobsterbacks" by the American colonists it the same spirit that gringo is used to refer to the American army... No Taxation without representation!! Remember that phrase pedropan? Don't forget about the Boer wars either.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Mexico - Official Location There is NO confusion. Mexico is located in North America.

    Official defination of Central America: A region of southern North America extending from the southern border of Mexico to the northern border of Colombia. It separates the Caribbean Sea from the Pacific Ocean and is linked to South Aerica by the Isthmus of Panama.

    Official defination of North America: The northern continent of the Westhen Hemisphere, extending northward from the Colombia-Panama border and including Central America, Mexico, the islands of te Caribbean Sea, the United States, Canada, the Artic Archipelago, and Greenland.

    Gee whiz,, look these things up, there are hundreds of references.

    Latin America? Now that is something a little more tricky.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    I was refering to this nugget It is nice to see that you used your Encarta!!

    I was refering to this nugget of misinformation posted by someone who is unwilling to identify themselves.

    "It has nothing to do with the politics. Only with geography. Geographically speaking Mexico is situtated partially on both subcontinents. Sorry if your teachers were incompetent."

    Mexico on a cultural level IS grouped in Central America because of the common heritage/laguages and histories (Aztecs and Mayans) and beliefs brought by the Spanish Conquistidors.

    The United States and Canada trace thier heritage to Anglo-Saxon Europe because they were influenced mainly by France and England.

    While you're at it look up the definition of ismith

    Gee Whiz, there are humdreds of entries about this stuff!! look'em up sometime!!


    And you were right with Geographical definition of the area of land that is recognized as Central America but in a Geographical sense the aarea of Central America is niether a recognized continent or subconteninent in its own right.

    Here is the deffinition from Rand_McNalley, National Geographic, and Encarta of the North Americain continent:

    and I quote "The northern continent of the Western Hemisphere, extending northward from the Colombia-Panama border and including Central America, Mexico, the islands of the Caribbean Sea, the United States, Canada, the Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland."

    And here is the defintion of a subcontinent in case you missed that post:

    Subcontinent noun

    1. A large landmass, such as India, that is part of a continent but is considered either geographically or politically as an independent entity.

    2. A large landmass, such as Greenland, that is smaller than a continent."

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Digging into geography books... "The United States and Canada trace thier heritage to Anglo-Saxon Europe because they were influenced mainly by France and England. Tio Charlie"

    Ummm...Saxony is in Germany

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Check this out Your right about Saxony, but the word I used was Anglo-Saxon.

    How Englishness has been defined in the past is a surprisingly complex story and I only intend to highlight a few episodes and phases in the recognition of the insular Anglo-Saxons as a distinct people. Whether or not they can, or should, be so regarded is a quite separate question. But there is a major problem here and it is one which will not go away and which still awakes powerful political echoes. How a modern British nation was forged has recently been admirably discussed by Linda Colley. The English have been studied by someone who originated in central Europe, first saw England at the age of seventeen, and stayed on to occupy the Regius Chair of History at Cambridge. Geoffrey Elton's view of the English was bound to be highly individual. The trouble is that anybody's view will be so. I will begin with a native Northumbrian, probably the greatest. The most effective definer of the early English was Bede. It was he who first presented the English as a culturally unified people living under a number of regional kings. In Bede's own day (the early eighth century) they were nothing of the kind and his account of how the motley band of Germanic settlers in Britain, entering in increasing numbers from the middle of the fifth century to the late sixth, had been brought together in the seventh century by good, i.e. Christian, kings is one of the most brilliant works of creative history ever produced in Europe. What Bede created was not only a history of the English Church, but also a history of the early English nation itself. It is the nearest thing we have to a foundation legend, though it is much more than that. Although they were neither ethnically pure nor culturally close-knit, the Germanic migrants who found their way to Britain did have access to one unifying force which was to prove enormously effective in building the nation: the English language. Latin, whether late Classical or demotic, was a learned language, a writer's language. Anglo-Saxon dialects formed a vernacular, but a remarkably adaptable one, capable of producing Beowulf but also able to deal with the technical requirements of government and law, and before long the writing of history. The rapid growth of Anglo-Saxon into an expressive language, capable of great subtlety and blunt power, is one of the central facts of early English history.

    Posted on December 11, 2003

    Churchill Tinto

    I believe that Churchhill made that statement in 1916 when trying to justify the invasion of Galipoli (that's in Turkey).

    Posted on December 11, 2003