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The origin of "Gringo"

I have just returned from a 10 day business trip to South America including 
Chile and Argentina.  There Europeans are included with North Americans as 
"Gringos" though its application is not nearly as deprecatory as in Mexico.  
They have appropriated the term with no sense of its origins.  I was a 
student in Mexico in the mid '70s and quickly discovered that the term 
applied only to those north of the border.  Sometimes when it was called out 
I would respond, "Perdón, no soy norteamericano, soy escocés" (Excuse me I am 
not North American I am Scottish).  This would generally produce an apology 
from all but the most prejudiced!  I was told that this was because the term 
was associated with the US Invasion of Mexico which is remembered in the US 
Marine Corps Hymn, which includes the line "From the Halls of Montezuma...".  
This celebrates the successful attack by the US Marines on the Mexican Cadets 
Academy at the Castle of Chapultepec in Mexico City, where, when all seemed 
lost, (the struggle between the boy soldiers and the US veterans was somewhat 
unequal), one of the Cadets wrapped himself in their banner and leapt to his 
death from the heights of the Castle.  This Cadets are remembered by the 
Mexicans as "Los Niños Heroes" (The Boy Heroes). The action was the least 
popular event of a very unfortunate conflict, and leads to the other supposed 
origin of the term. There is a belief in Mexico that some of the US soldiers 
had Green Uniforms, and so the locals would chant  "Green Go!". I have to 
point out that this is the Mexican version of events, and do not know the US 
side of the story. 

There is certainly a rather unhappy relationship between the Mexican Republic 
and the USA.  Undoubtedly the names of the Southern US States owe more to the 
Spanish Americans than to those of European orgin: California, Oregon, Texas, 
Nevada and Florida, for example! It is often said "Pobre México, tan lejos de 
Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos" (Poor Mexico, so far from God and so 
close to the USA."! 

However, and probably more happilly, the much more accepted belief is that it 
is the Burns song that is the origin of "Gringo", appropriately recalled now 
as we approach Burns' night!

Apparently there is a new Burns website being lauched, which is aimed at 
securing Scotland's National Bard's Immortal Memory into the new Millennium.  
I will advise the URL when I locate it.

Yours aye

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