I know British soldiers wore pith helmets in Africa and India, but why did Mexican Revolution Gen. Pancho Villa wear one?
From about the 1870s, pith helmets were popular with Europeans serving in the tropics. The U.S. Army commander George Crook wore one while campaigning in the hot Arizona sun, and Pancho Villa did the same to protect himself from the heat. He also wore brimmed hats and peaked caps, also known as barracks covers.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org