Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Conquest of the Karankawas and Tonkawas, 1821-1859

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Conquest of the Karankawas and Tonkawas, 1821-1859

Article excerpt

The Conquest of the Karankawas and Tonkawas, 1821-1859. By Kelly F. Himmel. Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest, No. 20. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1999. Pp. xviii, 192. $32.95, ISBN 0-89096-867-5.)

Much attention has been focused in recent histories of the Texas frontier on the ethno-historical context of Indian-European relations; that is, historians have attempted to see each culture from its own perspective in an effort to understand the actions and reactions of its peoples. Kelly Himmel's The Conquest of the Karankawas and Tonkawas adds to this body of scholarship by detailing the collapse of two Indian societies whose small size and proximity to early Anglo settlements in Texas made them particularly vulnerable to exploitation and, in the case of the Karankawas, extinction.

Himmel begins this work with a brief cultural study noting that, although the Karankawas were a recognizable ethnic group that occupied most of the Texas coastal area, the Tonkawas were a collection of many peoples who in the eighteenth century came together along the boundary of the southern Great Plains. The author then details the often rocky relations between these two tribes and Spain; Himmel notes that, as a result of their tensions with the Spanish, both tribes welcomed Stephen F. Austin's colonizing efforts. However, as Himmel also points out, the Anglo colonists did not welcome the Indians. …

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