Sombrero (Spanish pronunciation: Spanish for "hat", literally "shadower") in English refers to a type of wide-brimmed hat from Mexico, used to shield from the sun. It usually has a high pointed crown, an extra-wide brim (broad enough to cast a shadow over the head, neck and shoulders of the wearer, and slightly upturned at the edge), and a chin string to hold it in place. In Spanish, sombrero refers to any wide-brimmed hat.
Sombreros, like the cowboy hats invented later, were designed in response to the demands of the physical environment. The concept of a broad-brimmed hat worn by a rider on horseback can be seen as far back as the Mongolian horsemen of the 13th century. In hot, sunny climates hats evolved to have wide brims, which provided shade. The exact origin of the Mexican sombrero is unknown, but it is usually accepted that the hat originated with Mestizo cowboys in Central Mexico. Although sombrero is usually taken to refer to the traditional Mexican headwear, the term sombrero predates this item of clothing, and is and has been applied to several differing styles of hat, since it is the actual word for hat in Spanish. Other types of hats known as sombrero can be found in South America and Spain, including the sombrero cala??s, sombrero cordob?s and sombrero de catite (Spain), sombrero vueltiao (Colombia).
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