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Gamecock History

THE GAMECOCK AND ITS HERITAGE

“Before cockfighting even became a sport, the  bird, the fighting-cock, was regarded as an admirable animal, drawing respect  from men.  The fighting cock was a  subject of religious worship.  According to Diodorus Siculus, the Ancient Syrians worshipped the  fighting-cock as a deity.  The  Ancient Greeks and Romans associated the fighting-cock with the gods Apollo,  Mercury, and Mars. Magellan claimed that in Borneo, the  bird was so sacred that no one could eat its flesh.  In South Canara, the bird claimed to ward off evil demons.  In Sumatra, the gamecock was worshipped, a temple built to it, and  rituals performed to honor the deity.  Cock fighting occurred in the temples and the dead bird, which lost the  battle, was prepared to be presented to the deities.   The bird would be placed in a gold cauldron, soaked in gums and  spices. Then its body was burned on  an altar and its ashes were placed in a golden pot or urn.   Scott, “History of Cockfighting”

The history of cockfighting is hazy, there does  not seem to be a definitive point in history as to when cockfighting became an  official sport.  In the times before Christ, approximately 3,000 years ago during the times of the  Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Canaanites, cockfighting was popular. Breeding gamecocks for fighting in a pit was considered an art and trading these birds was profitable.  In Egypt, in the time of Moses, cockfighting was a favorite pastime.  During the height of Greek civilization, Themistocles — a general who was preparing to drive away the invading Persians– decided to hold a cockfight the night before the battle to inspire his men by showing the courageous nature of the fighting cock.  Persian traders loved to gamble by pitting their fighting birds against each other. They would often carry their birds with them and pit a fight in the marketplaces and trading centers.

In the first century after Christ, Julius Caesar led Rome into enjoying the sport of cockfighting. He was the first citizen of Rome to be an enthusiast of the sport.  Caesar ultimately introduced cockfighting into England.  In the 16th century, cockfighting was flourishing in England. During the time of King Henry VIII, cockfights were held at Whitehall Palace.  The game became a national sport at one point and exclusive schools were required to teach students the points of cockfighting, such as breeding, walking, and conditioning of the gamecock.  At its very height of popularity, even the clergy encouraged the sport.  Church yards and inside of the churches were used as an arena for cockfighting.  The sport declined in England during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 17th century, when she banned cockfighting with a royal decree.  Today, cockfighting is almost nonexistent. However, in the British Isles, there still exists a breed of gamecocks known as the Pyles strain of Charles II that is a highly sought after bird by cockers and breeders.

In ancient Gaul, cockfighting was somehow brought into the country through travelling caravans or by those who returned from Rome or the East. During the middle Ages in France, cockfighting was very popular.  Eventually, France adopted the cock as a national emblem.  Today, cockfighting has been driven underground.

In Spain, cockfighting has existed for the longest period of time.  How it arrived is uncertain.  Theories point to travelling Phoenicians or the conquering Moors.  Today, cockfighting is a popular sport in Bilbao, Oviedo, Madrid, Barcelon, and Valencia.  many Filipino breeders travel to Spain to obtain ideal birds for breeding.  Many gamecocks in the Philippines have a blood strain of Spanish gamecocks.

In the United States, famous presidents who were lovers of the game were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln. It was socially acceptable and encouraged for a gentleman to have a flock of gamecocks and to be an expert on the sport.  At one point, the U.S. became a center for cockfighting activities and events.  Cockfights were even held in the committee rooms of the President.  It is said that the fighting-cock almost became the national emblem.  It lost by one vote to the American eagle. Cockfighting declined when the civil war started.

In the Philippines, it was said cockfighting was already popular by the time the Spaniards arrived.  It was recorded that in 1565, natives of Butuan were watching cockfights when the Spaniards came for supplies. ”

This Article with some old photos can be found at   http://www.sabungero.com/history.html

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A Brief History on Cock Fighting

At one time cockfights were actually held in our nations capital. President Andrew Jackson kept fighting cocks in the white house stables, employing a man named Jack Freer to feed and train them. Such statesmen as Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Martin Van Buren, Governor John Floyd of Virginia, and many others met in the committee rooms of congress to match rooster favorites. George Washington and his friend , Lord Fairfax, were ardent cockers and in Washington’s personal effects was found literature on the subject. Both were regular subscribers to a cockfighting magazine published in England. At that time cockfighting was America’s National Sport and the fighting cock lost out to the American Eagle as the Seal of the United Statesby only ONE vote after a bitter battle.

As proof against the contention that cockfighting is cruel: Abraham Lincoln, who loved cockfighting, was so tender hearted that he wouldn’t hunt, and as a boy was whipped many times for opening traps to free the animals. As a man , Lincoln attended and refereed many cockfights, thus his nickname Honest Abe. Benjamin Franklin also attended and refereed cockfights. Thomas Jefferson was a breeder and fighter of gamecocks. Other Famous men who were ardent cockers were: Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Themistocles, Queen Elizabeth of England, James 1 and his son Prince Henry, Charles 1, Charles 11, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Duke of Essex.

The oldest Known cockpit in the world is Number Ten Downing Street, Official residence of Winston Churchill, whose ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, was a famous cock fighter. The original pit was erected there by King Henry VIII and was immortalized in a painting by the famous artist Van Dyck. King James 1 was devoted to cock fighting. Cockfighting has been a compulsory course of instruction in some English schools for more that 1000 years.

Cocks are fought in every state in America. Several times a year tournaments are held in the South. Small tournaments, derbies, and concourses are held every month all over the country during the fighting season, which runs from Thanksgiving to July 4th. Cocks are not fought in the summer due to heat and molt.

Information taken from “Johnson’s Breeder’s and Cocker’s Guide”, third edition.

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THE HISTORY OF COCKFIGHTING

Cockfighting has a history which traces back to times before Christ. However, before it even became a sport, the bird was regarded as an admirable animal, drawing respect from men. The fighting cock was a subject of religious worship. The ancient Syrians worshipped the fighting-cock as a deity. The ancient Greeks and Romans associated the fighting-cock with the gods Apollo, Mercury and Mars. Magellan claimed that in Borneo, the bird was so sacred that no one could eat its flesh. In South Canara, the bird claimed to ward off evil demons. In Sumatra, the gamecock was worshipped — a temple built to it, and rituals performed to honor the deity.

Cockfighting occurred in the temples and the dead bird which lost the battle was prepared to be presented to the deities. The bird would be placed in a gold cauldron, soaked in gums and spices. Then its body was burned on an altar and its ashes were placed in a golden pot or urn.

In the times before Christ, approximately 3,000 years ago during the times of the phoenicians, Hebrews, and Canaanites, cockfighting was popular. Breeding gamecocks for fighting in a pit was considered an art and trading these birds was profitable. In Egypt, in the time of Moses, cockfighting was a favorite pasttime. During the height of Greek civilization, Themistocles — a general who was preparing to drive away the invading persians – decided to hold a cockfight the night before the battle to inspire his men by showing the courageous nature of the fighting cock. Persian traders loved to gamble by pitting their fighing birds against each other. They would often carry their birds with them and pit a fight in the marketplaces and trading centers.

In the first century after Christ, Julius Caesar led Rome into enjoying the sport of cockfighting. He was the first citizen of rome to be an enthusiast of the sport. Caesar ultimately introduced cockfighting into England. In the 16th century, cockfighting was flourishing in England. During the time of King Henry VIII, cockfights were held at whitehall palace. The game became a national sport at one point, and exclusive schools were required to teach students the points of cockfighting, such as breeding, walking, and conditioning of the gamecock. At its very height of popularity, even the clergy encouraged the sport. Church yards and inside of the churches were used as an arena for cockfighting. The sport declined in england during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 17th century, when she banned cockfighting with a royal decree. Today, cockfighting is almost nonexistent. However, in the British Isles, there still esixts a breed of gamecocks known as the pyles strain of Charles II that is a highly sought after bird by cockers and breeders.

In spain, cockfighting has existed for the longest period of time. How it arrived is uncertain. Theories point to travelling phoenicians or the conquering moors. Today, cockfighting is a popular sport in Bilbao, Oviedo, Madrid, Barcelon, and Valencia. Many Filipino breeders travel to Spain to obtain ideal birds for breeding. Many gamecocks in the Philippines have a blood strain of Spanish game cocks.

In theUnited States, famous presidents who were lovers of the game were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln. It was socially acceptable and encouraged for a gentleman to have a flock of gamecocks and to be an expert on the sport. At one point, theU.S. Became a center for cockfighting activities and events. Cockfights were even held in the committee rooms of the president. It is said that the fighting-cock almost became the national emblem. It lost by one vote to the american eagle. Cockfighting declined when the Civil War started.

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The Sacred Bird

The fighting cock was a subject of religious worship. According to Diodorus Siculus, the Ancient Syrians worshipped the fighting-cock as a deity. The Ancient Greeks and Romans associated the fighting-cock with the gods Apollo, Mercury and Mars. Magellan claimed that in Borneo, the bird was so sacred that no one could eat its flesh. In South Canara, the bird claimed to ward off evil demons. In Sumatra, the gamecock was worshipped, a temple built to it, and rituals performed to honor the deity. Cock fighting occurred in the temples and the dead bird which lost the battle was prepared to be presented to the deities. The bird would be placed in a gold cauldron, soaked in gums and spices. Then its body was burned on an altar and its ashes were placed in a golden pot or urn. Scott, “History of Cockfighting”

The history of cockfighting is hazy, there does not seem to be a definitive point in history as to when cockfighting became an official sport. In the times before Christ,approximately 3,000 years ago during the times of the Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Canaanites, cockfighting was popular. Breeding gamecocks for fighting in a pit was considered an art and trading these birds was profitable. In Egypt, in the time of Moses, cockfighting was a favorite pasttime. During the height of Greek civilization, Themistocles — a general who was preparing to drive away the invading Persians — decided to hold a cockfight the night before the battle to inspire his men by showing the courageous nature of the fighting cock. Persian traders loved to gamble by pitting their fighing birds against each other. They would often carry their birds with them and pit a fight in the marketplaces and trading centers.

In the first century after Christ, Julius Caesar led Rome into enjoying the sport of cockfighting. He was the first citizen of Rome to be an enthusiast of the sport. Caesar ultimately introduced cockfighting into England. In the 16th century, cockfighting was flourishing in England. During the time of King Henry VIII, cockfights were held at Whitehall Palace. The game became a national sport at one point and exclusive schools were required to teach students the points of cockfighting, such as breeding, walking, and conditioning of the gamecock. At its very height of popularity, even the clergy encouraged the sport. Church yards and inside of the churches were used as an arena for cockfighting. The sport declined in England during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 17th century, when she banned cockfighting with a royal decree. Today, cockfighting is almost nonexistent. However, in the British isles, there still esixts a breed of gamecocks known as the Pyles strain of Charles II that is a highly sought after bird by cockers and breeders.

In ancient Gaul, cockfighting was somehow brought into the country through travelling caravans or by those who returned from Rome or the East. During the Middle Ages in France, cockfighting was very popular. Eventually, France adopted the cock as a national emblem. Today, cockfighting has been driven underground.

In Spain, cockfighting has existed for the longest period of time. How it arrived is uncertain. Theories point to travelling Phoenicians or the conquering Moors. Today, cockfighting is a popular sport in Bilbao, Oviedo, Madrid, Barcelon, and Valencia. Many Filipino breeders travel to Spain to obtain ideal birds for breeding. Many gamecocks in the Philippines have a blood strain of Spanish game cocks.

In the United States, famous presidents who were lovers of the game were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln. It was socially acceptable and encouraged for a gentleman to have a flock of gamecocks and to be an expert on the sport. At one point, the U.S. became a center for cockfighting activities and events. Cockfights were even held in the committee rooms of the President. It is said that the fighting-cock almost became the national emblem. It lost by one vote to the American eagle. Cockfighting declined when the civil war started.

In theThailand, it was said cockfighting was already popular by the time the establishment ofAyutthaya as the capital of theThaiKingdom in A.D.1350. It was recorded that in 1562, When Crown Prince Naresuan was seven years of age, he was taken captive by the Burmese to ensure the fidelity of his father, who was already a prominent prince, as theAyutthayaKingdom was under Burmese occupation. During his stay inBurma, Crown Prince Naresuan was highly trained by the Burmese King Bayinnaung (Thai language: Burinnaung or Burengnong) in martial arts, literature and military strategies, and was reared as one of the princes in theBurmesePalace. After spending nine years of his youth at Pegu under the protection of the Burmese king, Naresuan like watching cockfights when stay inBurma.

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Hstory

American gamefowl is a breed of poultry once bred for cockfighting. They played a significant role in American history as they were bred, fought, and raised by many famous political leaders. As Abraham Lincoln used to be a cockfighting referee, the breed indirectly influenced his nickname “honest Abe.”

Most American gamefowl lines (or strains) consist of Irish Game, Old English, and Oriental Gamefowl. However many others contain Spanish strains, along with gamefowl from other places including the Sumatra breed. The American gamefowl has gained in popularity as a show breed since the outlawing of cock fights.

The most common colorations are “Black breasted red” (dubbed reds), “Wheaten” (dubbed reds), “Silver duckwings” (dubbed greys), “Golden duckwings” (called greys), White, black, brown-red, red quil, gold, pumpkin, and blue (in various forms, this includes splash, blue wheaten, blue reds, etc.).

The American gamefowl are extremely cold and heat resistant, intelligent, and are capable of surviving independently in the wild. Many places have cross-bred gamefowl present the streets/woods. Key West, Guam, and Hawaii are some of the main places known for Spanish gamefowl running wild, with some American gamefowl strains as well. American gamefowl can also be found in the wild in various places in the continental United States, often after escaping or being set free by owners.

American game in poultry showsIn the past, game fowl were primarily used for sport purposes. Recent changes in the political atmosphere have encouraged American to imitate European counterparts and display their fowl in the show ring. American game fowl are considered top competitors in poultry shows across the United States and Europe, typically according to the American Standard of Perfection used by the American Poultry Association.

[edit] American Game BantamThere is a bantam (smaller) variety of this breed, which originated from the original large fowl. However, like the Old English Game bantams they are not considered game birds, and have been cross-bred with other breeds to add feather length and kill gameness. One breed known in this cross is Jungle fowl. American game bantam should not be confused with miniature gamefowl, which are pit (game) quality as well as exhibition quality, after careful cross-breeding.

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History of Asian Gamefowl in Mexico

 According Dr. Edsel Bixler of Mexico the first Mexican encounter with Asian gamefowl was made through the arrival of the Spanish ship “Nao of China” at Acapulco in the 16th century. It arrived from the Philippines. At that time this was a Spanish colony situated in Southeast Asia. After the independence of Mexico importations of Asian gamefowl took a great flight. Armando Salcedo imported Calcutta Asil from Brazil, Edmundo Montes imported Asil from India (no further breeding from them !), Dr. Alcibidas Rey Conde imported Asil from Pakistan. These birds proved very succesful defeating all the competition in the country. Jose.T.Cabeza de Vaca imported some good Asil from India. Other Asian gamefowl has been imported from the United States, Australia and Canada. A good collection of Asian gamefowl breeds were imported by Dr. Edsel Bixler from Mexico City. Asian gamefowl breeds are getting popular more and more. Information Source: Dr. Edsel Bixler’s “Oriental Gamefowl” (1997)

 Mexican Gamefowl & The Sport

 The majority of Mexican gamefowl is pitted in short 22 Mm spur, 1/4″ steel gaff, steel knives and slashers most of Mexican gamefowl is of the Spanish Game type or are crossed with Asian gamefowl (like Shamo, Asil, Malay, Brazilian Game, etcetera). Also other Bankiva-type breeds are used like Cuban, Dominican, American Game). Asian gamefowl purebreds are mainly pitted in trimmed spurs or round 1/4″ gaff.

 http://www.ganoi.com/asil/main/mexico/index.htm

 

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Gamefowl in Russia

In Russia cockfighting has a long tradition. It was a very popular pastime being organised in various occasions like pub visits, holidays and markets. In Moscow the Moscovian Fighter and Gilyan (Orlovski) were bred for these purposes. But after cockfighting has been prohibited the population of these breeds decreased. The Gilyan however survived but at present day this breed is mainly bred for ornamental purposes. Due to the efforts of poultry enthusiasts from the city of Pavlov (Nighegorodskoy region) the Gilyan survived extinction. Very rare !

Beginning of the 1980′s farmers from Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan made a start introducing their fighting breeds (Dakan and Kulang) into the city of Moscow and other Russian cities. The main center of cockfighting in Russia is the Caucasus region, other strongholds are the Central-Asian republics: Dagestan and Uzbekistan. In Russian domestic literature various breed names are mentioned: Dakan, Tokar, Assel and Kulang. These names are used in various Russian and Central Asian republics. Examples: Kulanga (Uzbekistan) , Dakan (Kirgizstan). In general the -Kulanga- is different from the -Dakan- due to its size, weight, combtype and specific colours. Note: all breeds in Russia and the CentralAsianRepublics are pitted in natural spurs only.

 As in other countries with gamefowl, birds are valued for their fighting styles and do get the best birds a lot of crossing is done by local breeders. Also the Caucasus region has been affected by the importation of birds from other foreign countries like: Turkey, Iran, Thailand and China. Russian gamefowl breeders simply call them -Asians- (with white and dark legs). In Russia , gamefowl (Aseel) imported from Greece showing pearl eyes, very short plumage and with yellow legs got a very good reputation.

 A Russian gamefowl breeder named Alexander Dubecsky was very succesful with these birds and was victorious both in Moscow and Caucasus. His birds were of very good quality showing staying power and good style. Recently gamefowl breeders from Uzbekistan arrived in Moscow with their elite Dakan fighters being very succesful in the tournaments organized in the main capital. Other gamefowl breeds (Shamo, Hint Horoz, Madras Aseel, Belgian Game, etc) have been imported into Russia too. Importation of birds from nearby Iran, Turkey, China, Afghanistan, Caucasian and Central-Asian republics has become very popular too.

At the end of 2001 a gamefowl organisation was founded in Russia. It is known as the -Nacionalnaia Liga Lubiteley Boycovoy Ptici - (National Gamefowl League). The first elected President is Mr. Ura Grishakov from Moscow. The club is trying hard to promote the hobby and the sport.

The club has established international contacts and have undertaken promotional visits too Brugge (Belgium) in 2002 and the first European gamefowl exhibition in Cologne (Germany) in 2004. Projects are in motion and activities will be expanded in near future.

http://russiagame.tripod.com/russiaclub/

http://www.aseellovers.20m.com/custom4.html

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Greece History

 The ancient Greeks according various sources were enthousiastic about gamefowl and cockfighting. The sport was a popular pursuit not only for entertainment, but as a model for courage in the face of extreme adversity. One of the more famous stories of cockfighting involves Themistocles, the mighty Athenian General. When preparing for battle against the Persians, his troops witnessed two cocks fighting beside the road. Themistocles took this occasion to explain to his soldiers: “Behold, these do not fight for their household gods, for their monuments of their ancestors, for glory, for liberty, or the safety of their children, but only because the one will not give way to the other.” A great battle between the armies ensued, and the Persians were defeated. The influence of this particular cockfight was perpetuated by the subsequent passage of a law requiring yearly cockfights in Athens, the construction of an amphitheater for cockfighting, and the required attendance of young men at cockfights to learn the lesson of courage and fortitude even to death.

Ancient images of Greek life show Bankiva-type fighting cocks. At present day the majority of the Greek gamefowl population are Hint Horoz, a large mediumweight Aseel which originally have been imported from Turkey as well as the (occupied) Turkish part of Cyprus. Some other breeds have been imported into the country mostimes by Greeks living and working outside their homeland.

 http://www.ganoi.com/asil/main/greece/english.htm

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2 Responses to “Gamecock History”

  1. Eddie Isles said

    My opinion of gamefowl is a cultural tradition of men to show the world of their determination to depend when attack by another person and respect others to gain their trust. The sport will teach you how to be a diplomat of the world.

  2. grove said

    This needs to be sent to our current President if only I knew how? I would forward this information

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