Comanche Tribe Fact

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Comanche Tribe Fact

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Coming into contact and conflict with other tribes like the Blackfoot, Crow, Lakota, and Cheyenne, they started moving further south, some as far as central Texas. These Eastern Shoshone turned into the Comanche by the late 17 th century. They were the typical, small hunter-gatherer tribe of people, with basic culture, almost no social organization, and weak military power as shown by their constant migration up until that point.

Contrary to the barren mountain valleys from which they came, the Great Plains offered them a chance to hunt the many bison and antelopes found in abundance. But they also had to compete with the already existing tribes for these resources. However, what else they discovered on these plains would change their destiny forever. Left behind by the Spanish settlers to the south, the Comanche came across the horse around , and with it they engraved their name into the history books as legendary mounted warriors.

Very few nations in the world, let alone in North America, have had such a meteoric rise to power like the Comanche. And this was possible all because of the horse. No other tribe or nation in North America would surpass them in horsemanship, with many experts even going as far as saying that they were the best light cavalry the world had ever seen. The Comanche bred, trained, and captured Mustang horses from both the wild and from other people. With them they became expert hunters of bison and suddenly prospered like never before. In less than one hundred years, from the s to about , they would go on and take much of the southern Great Plains, showing that the horse was exactly what was missing.

The horse was to them what electricity and steam power was to the rest of the world. The Comanche were shorter in stature than the other Indian tribesmen, but bulkier and with a firm grip, making them a sort of perfect jockey. Their Mustangs were the same: small, fast, and tough. And with their newfound mobility and speed, they were able to drive back many of the other Native American tribes in the region and expand their hunting territories. They even nearly drove the Apaches, who previously inhabited the area, into extinction.

Being a strong influence in the region, the Comanche held control of territories of what are now central and northern Texas, eastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma and Kansas, and parts of Colorado — called Comancheria. They never did organize themselves into a single cohesive tribe, but lived in a loose confederation of about a dozen or more bands. They all shared the same language and culture and rarely fought each other. They still followed a nomadic lifestyle, living in tepees, moving around, with no interest in agriculture. By the start of the s they made up a population of around 30, people.

They were a warlike people, either hunting or raiding neighboring tribes and European settlements for supplies, horses, and people for use as slaves. As skilled mounted warriors, they had a horse population of about 90, to , head, and another 2 million wild Mustangs living in or around Comancheria. The Comanche bands even traded in towns along the Rio Grande Valley , sometimes just after a raid in the region.

They would bring the people they had kidnapped in order to ransom them back to their families. But while the Mexican, Spanish, and Pueblo Indians were somewhat tolerant of these practices, the Comanche would have a lot of problems in later years with the Americans for the exact same reason. Nevertheless, by the s they encompassed an area of about , square miles within their borders. They would go on and vassalize some 20 other smaller tribes and make their language lingua franca for the entire region. They would also halt any European expansion into the area dead in its tracks; the Spanish coming from the south, the French advance from Louisiana, as well as the seemingly unstoppable American colonial expansion from the east.

They are the main reason for why the West Coast was settled 40 years before the Great Plains. At times, especially in the s, the American frontier was even pushed back as settlements or even entire counties were deserted in the face of various Comanche offensives. The Comanche were warriors first and everything else second. Their numbers were bolstered by an increased food supply with the arrival of the horse, as well as the other migrating Shoshone bands from the north. And, of course, the many slaves kidnapped from neighboring tribes and settlers; mostly young girls and women. Their society never had a single leader , and all band chiefs acted as a counsel of advisors for the entire nation.

All band leaders could state their opinion, but usually the older ones did most of the talking. There was also the Peace Chief to each band, who was usually the oldest, and chosen by general consensus. The rest would listen to his counsel and expertise on where to hunt, or relocate, who to attack, or with what other tribes they should form an alliance. During times of war, each band would select a War Chief. For this position, only the bravest of warriors were chosen, and only those who had the respect of the entire band.

Either while on a raid or during a prolonged conflict, the whole band would listen to the War Chief, regardless of their status. Everything else was often times shared or offered between the members of the band. A young boy would become a warrior at about the age of 15, and only after he hunted his first buffalo. When they felt death approaching, they would give away all of their belongings, find a quiet place, and wait to die.

In , the bounty was raised to pesos per head, more than a laborer could make in wages in a full year. A careful, but incomplete tally, of the Mexican victims of Comanche raids shows that between and a total of 44 raids of more than men each were sent into Mexico. The victims of these raids amounted to 2, dead and captives, of whom were redeemed. The number of livestock stolen surely amounted to more than , What livestock the Comanche could not steal, they killed.

The Comanche, on their part, suffered heavy casualties because they often seemed to seek out a fight rather than just raiding. Comanches would also suffer from diseases brought back by Mexican captives. The bloodiest raiding year was July — June when Mexicans and 48 Comanches were recorded as killed. The Comanche have often been portrayed by historians in the U. The numerous small Comanche bands came together in summer, usually on the Red River or one of its tributaries in Texas or Oklahoma to formulate plans and organize groups of raiders.

Comanches came all the way from the Arkansas River to join the raids. In fall, small groups of Comanche rendezvoused at Big Spring and headed south along well-known trails, riding at night during the full moon. A full moon in the fall was called a "Comanche Moon" by Texans. They crossed the Rio Grande either east or west of the Big Bend and met up and united in the Bolson de Mapimi , a large empty desert and range region. The Bolson offered good grazing, abundant springs, and mild winter temperatures.

Many Comanche men brought their families south with them and resided for a winter there in the safety of its vastness. Each warrior took three or four horses with him, saving his favorite for battle. Women and children commonly traveled with the men and were prepared to defend themselves if necessary. They took extreme risks and suffered additional casualties as a result. Moreover, they often seemed careless and were sometimes caught unawares by large contingents of Mexican soldiers. At the end of their yearly raids, usually in the late winter or spring, the Comanche drove their captured livestock back to Texas.

They sold or traded the horses and mules at several American trading posts as far north as Bent's Fort in Colorado. They needed the captives, mostly children, as laborers. The boys were put to work taking care of their horse herds. The girls assisted in household chores, including preparing buffalo skins for sale as robes. The boys often grew up to be Comanche warriors and the girls often became one of several wives of Comanche men. A few of the captives were ransomed. The Legislature of Chihuahua described the situation it faced in It is our wish to see you liberated from despots, to drive back the savage Comanches, to prevent the renewal of their assaults, and to compel them to restore to you from captivity your long lost wives and children.

General Zachary Taylor to the Mexican people on invading northern Mexico, [29]. Also, in , traveler Josiah Gregg said that "the whole country from New Mexico to the borders of Durango is almost entirely depopulated. The haciendas and ranchos have been mostly abandoned, and the people chiefly confined to the towns and cities. There was little resistance to the Anglo-Americans. Some Mexicans in the north perhaps hoped that the U. Comanche raids into Mexico did not cease with accession of Texas to the United States and the end of the Mexican—American War in , but the Comanche faced a new situation as the U. One of the few benefits Mexico derived under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo , that ended the war, was a pledge from the United States that it would police the border to prevent Indian invasions of Mexico.

Further, the U. Despite enormous expenditure, the U. If anything the tempo of the raids increased in the s. In , in perhaps the most far-ranging of all the raids, the Comanche reached the Mexican state of Jalisco in the tropics near the Pacific Ocean , miles km from their usual crossing point of the Rio Grande, near Presidio, Texas , and nearly 1, miles 1, km from their Great Plains homeland.

By , authorities in horse-rich Durango would claim that Indian raids, mostly Comanche, in their state had taken nearly 6, lives, abducted people, and forced the abandonment of settlements over the previous 20 years. The Comanche reached the peak of their power in the late s and declined quickly. In a cholera epidemic among the Plains Indians killed thousands of Comanches and their allies. The s saw a drought that had a severe impact on buffalo herds - already under pressure from market hunting — in Comancheria. The Comanche's huge horse herds put further pressure on the environment of their homeland. Soon, the Comanche were eating their horses as food.

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