Sombreros – 5 Intriguing Facts

Many people know sombreros by their famous silhouette – the high crown and wide brim. However, there are a few historical yet intriguing facts about the hat that aren’t so well-known. 

Sombreros first appeared in the 15th century. The sole purpose of the hat was to protect people from the harsh climate. Even though the hat’s origin is unknown, historians found a similar hat to the sombrero popular amongst Mongolian horsemen in the 13th century.

The use and meaning of sombreros have changed substantially over time. This article will explain why with five intriguing facts about the hat. We will cover when the hat emerged, who wore it, and why it was so popular. 


The Sombrero First Appeared in the 15th Century

Historians have traced the sombrero back to the 15th century, a hat historically worn by men. There were two main types of sombreros during that time: felt hats and straw sombreros. Peasants would wear the straw sombreros while the men of the higher society wore grey, tan, or white felt versions.

The Sombrero’s Origin Is Unknown

Even though historians have some ideas, the sombrero’s exact origin story is still unknown. The most agreed-upon conclusion is that the Mexican sombrero traces back to Central America. Historians believe that Mestizo cowboys were the first people to wear the large hat during the Spanish Empire.

Sombrero’s Were Designed To Protect From the Sun

Many historic and modern hats emerge for the sole purpose of fashion. People can use caps to convey some sort of statement or social status; however, that is not the case with sombreros. The reason why sombrero’s appeared in fashion was to protect people from the hot and extreme climate, like on a ranch or farm. Read more about why sombreros are so big in this article.

A Similar Hat Was Common in the 13th Century

The sombrero was not the first hat with a broad brim. Researchers have found a similar hat popular in the 13th century, and Mongolian horseback riders wore a wide-brimmed hat, similar to the sombrero. Horses and horse-riding played a major role in the Mongolian culture. Since the men spent a lot of time on horseback, they needed a hat to protect them from the harsh sun. 

The Sombrero Was the Predecessor to the Cowboy Hat

It is not surprising that the sombrero eventually inspired the cowboy hat. Much like the sombrero, cowboy hats came about to protect ranchers from the hot sun’s harsh conditions. Ranchers in the United States took the sombrero and adapted its shape. They shortened the brim and crown so that they were not as wide and tall. With those adjustments, the iconic cowboy hat was born. Sombrero cowboy hats are still popular today such as this one on Amazon.


Nowadays, people only see the sombrero as an icon of Spanish culture. The first image we think of is a colorful sombrero hanging on the wall of a restaurant decorated with elaborate gold thread. 

However, the sombrero did not start as an iconic piece of fashion and culture. The hat first appeared in the 15th century. Ranchers simply wore the wide-brimmed hat to protect themselves from the hot weather. 
The sombrero still has great practical uses. Check out the Authentic Sombrero Straw Hat to try it out for yourself.

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