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Indian Alliances and the Spanish in the Southwest, – - OU Press
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21a. The Importance of the West
New 9. Please provide a valid price range. Item Location see all Item Location. Default filter applied. Canada Only. North America. Show only see all Show only. Free Returns. Free shipping. Completed listings. During a drought a few years later citizens of Santa supplied food to Comanches thereby cementing a lasting peace. Without the treaty New Mexico might not have survived as a province.
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Comanches became a very effective "border patrol," and informed New Mexican officials of movements of other Europeans and buffered it from raids by other indigenous groups. Comanches also became allies in subduing other indigenous groups, especially Apaches.
They wanted no part of an Apache peace. The Comanche bands became the most centralized of the northern nomads, but not a permanent unitary organization. Still, there were short-term benefits to Comanche survival: relations with New Mexican Spaniards improved; communication and cooperation among the bands increased, which enhance trading and raiding activities.
Initially Apache groups gained advantage over other groups by early possession of horses. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries they had developed semi-permanent villages on the Plains allowing organization of large war parties. However, they had poor access to guns, because Spanish policy attempted to restrict guns to the Spanish army. Later Apaches gave up this village living and gradually were displaced from the Plains by Comanches who had better access to guns.
Large horse herds became necessary for fighting, and pushed toward a more nomadic life. As Apaches were forced southwest from the Plains their raids made trade and communications between the far north and the interior provinces of New Spain more difficult. This prompted Spanish officials to pursue a divide and conquer strategy.
Later there were some attempts to regroup some Apache bands into sedentary farmers on establecimientos de paz peace establishments. Apache who sought peace also had to help subdue other, hostile Apaches. This approach worked for a few years, but became less effective because seeds, tools, and provisions for supervisory troops were too expensive. Restrictions on movement chafed those on establecimientos de paz. Still, the peace did allow population growth which overshot the carrying capacity of the region, prompting a return to raiding.
Thus, Apache social ecology differed significantly from that of Comanches. Apaches competed directly with Spanish settlers for resources. Their trade was local and typically played one Spanish community against others. Settled Apaches and settlers resented the cost of help given to those recently pacified. In late eighteenth century peace became precarious, but differently for Apaches and Comanches. Apache population decreased during war and increased during peace. Apaches hindered Spanish development. Comanches thrived under the subsequent alliance with the New Mexico and supplied necessary goods to the local economy: buffalo hides, jerked meat, captives and protected the borders.
These differences were rooted in differential access to horses and guns, adaptation to local ecology, and position in regional social ecology. Slowly the frontier became more tightly incorporated into the Spanish Empire, and became more fully peripheralized.
The change was moderate because frontier policy needed to balance competing goals. Still there was some development. When rebellions in New Spain led to Mexican independence , the frontier peace began to unraveled further. Raiding increased during the Mexican era. Yet Comanche maintained the peace with New Mexico though they did raid other Mexican provinces.
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Mexico began to lose control of its northern provinces due to internal political disorder and British-American rivalry over the West. With independence trade along the Santa Fe Trail from St. Louis to Santa Fe opened.
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This quickly reoriented northern New Mexico toward St. Louis , and away from Chihuahua in the south. Many traders married Mexican women in order to gain licenses to trade in Santa Fe. American traders were attractive husbands because of their reputation of treating women better than Mexican men.
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This, not surprisingly, stirred considerable resentment among Mexican men. The American conquest transferred much of northwest Mexico into a rising capitalist state and unleashed the renewed raiding. The old patterns repeated: the use of volunteer fighters with low pay supplemented by booty and captives, instigation of hostilities by locals bent on their own advancement, continued bureaucratic bungling, and the use of local bureaucratic positions as stepping stones to higher office in eastern centers. It seemed like the Americans had studied the Spanish archives in order to repeat their mistakes.
Actually it was due similar structural conditions. There were four major differences under American control. First, all territory became part of the national state. Second, the United States had far greater resources to enforce its will, even in remote areas. Third, Americans removed the means of subsistence for nomadic groups, forcing them to on reservations.
Those two states began their climb toward major U. New Mexico no longer was the center of European population in the American Southwest. During the Civil War New Mexico split into two territories, New Mexico and Arizona , as result of complex political maneuvering designed to block the Confederacy access to California ports.
These two states remained territories until primarily because they had such large Hispanic and Indian populations. Indeed, in New Mexico primary speakers of Spanish only became a minority in the s. After annexation by the United States , the continued growth of Santa Fe Trail traffic increased intergroup competition. Incompatible land uses — cattle grazing versis buffalo hunting — strained ecological resources for productive technologies of nomadic groups, leading to intensification of fighting. Many indigenous groups needed to raid European settlements or starve.
Attitudes among United States citizens toward Indians exacerbated conditions. They rejected Apache overtures to become allies against Mexicans. Traffic in captives again promoted fighting.
The army was an important factor in local economies. Military efforts to "pacify" nomadic groups were helped by a thriving national economy, but slowed by the Civil War American actions reversed the trajectories of Comanche and Apache social change. Comanches blocked westward expansion into Texas , straddled the Santa Fe Trail, and occupied a narrowing no-man's-land between Texas , New Mexico , and northern Mexico.
They prospered initially by trading and raiding among these territories, escaping to the unmapped south Plains, but were gradually surrounded. Other groups from the north were pushed further onto the Plains and hunted more intensely. Europeans also hunted on the Plains, severely depleting the buffalo herds, a major Comanche resource.
New Mexican livestock operations — first sheep, later cattle — encroached on their western range.
Related Indian Alliances and the Spanish in the Southwest, 750–1750
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