Hidalgo , a word applied in Spain to every noble man or woman, but strictly the title of the lowest order of nobility, constituting the hidalguia. Some writers derive the word from hijo del Goto, the son of a Goth, such descent being held in Spain to imply greater purity of blood than when intermixed; others from hijo de alguno, son of somebody. Hidalgos are divided into hidalgos de naturaleza, deriving their privileges from their ancestors, and hidalgos de privilegio, who have purchased their rank, or obtained it by court favor in-stead of descent, and are in this respect on an equality with simple caballeros and escuderos, or knights and squires. A hidalgo de bragueta was one supposed to possess the privileges of nobility from being the father of seven sons without an intervening daughter; and a hidalgo de gotero was one who enjoyed the rights of nobility in one place alone. The privileges of the hidalgos were abolished by the introduction of the constitutional system. In Portugal the word fidalguia embraces all the nobility under the common denomination of fidalgos.
Hidalgo , a S. W. county of Texas, separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande, which is navigable all along the border; area, 3,200 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 2,387, of whom 41 were colored. About half of it is sandy and fit only for pasturage; the other half is productive with irrigation, and will yield two crops a year. The principal trees are the live oak, mezquite, and ebony elm, which attain but a small size; the ash and willow grow in the valley of the Rio Grande. Stock raising is the chief industry. There is a salt lake, known as Sal del Rey, from which large quantities of salt of superior quality are taken to northern Mexico. The chief productions in 1870 were 7,380 bushels of Indian corn and 117 bales of cotton. There were 3,459 horses, 4,496 milch cows, 13,645 other cattle, 11,270 sheep, and 555 swine. Capital, Edinburgh.