The Islamic Conquest of the Iberian Peninsula demonstrated the effectiveness of Berber light cavalry. The Latin Kingdoms of Aragon, Castile and Portugal all copied these troops which they labeled “jinetes.” The “jinetes” proved pivotal in the Reconquista and were exported to the New World. On the frontier of Northern New Spain, they would continue to evolve into the iconic “soldado de cuera” that challenged Native Americans, and later the United States Government, for control of the American Southwest. Matt Barbour examines the Spanish light cavalry tradition.
Matthew J. Barbour holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from UNM and works for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs since 2002. Currently, Barbour is the Regional Manager of Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites. Throughout his nineteen-year career, he has published over 200 nonfiction articles and monographs.