TACO FAST FACTS
Mexican silver miners from the 18th century most likely invented the taco, says history professor Jeffrey M. Pilcher, who traveled the world to eat tacos.
MAKING IT MAINSTREAM
Mexican migrants working in mines and railroads brought the taco with them to the United States in the early 1900s. By the 1920s, the taco became mainstream American food.
REINVENTING THE TACO
There are more than a dozen variations of tacos. Nontraditional ones include the taco arabes, or Arab tacos, which came to be when migrants from the Middle East started coming into Mexico.
Without the taco shell, there’s no fast-food taco.
In an interview with the Smithsonian, Professor Pilcher says the original patents for making taco shells “were awarded in the 1940s to Mexican restaurateurs,” not to the founder of Taco Bell.