Soldado de cuera

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The soldado de cuera, or leather-jacket, was a type of soldier who served in the frontier garrisons of northern New Spain.[1] They belonged to both cavalry and infantry and were an all exclusive corps in the Spanish Empire. He took his name from the multi-layered deer-skin cloak he wore as protection against Indian arrows. He was armed with a short musket, a pair of pistols, a bow and arrows, a short sword, a lance, and a bull-hide adarga. These frontier soldiers were recruited from among the mestizo population, Hispanicized Indians, and freed slaves. Most of the officers were European-born, or the sons of Europeans, whereas very few of the enlisted men had this distinction. The soldados de cuera manned the presidios that stretched from Los Adeas, Louisiana, in the East, across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, to the Pacific Coast of Alta California in the West.