Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

From Dominance to Disappearance: The Indians of Texas and the near Southwest, 1786-1859

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

From Dominance to Disappearance: The Indians of Texas and the near Southwest, 1786-1859

Article excerpt

From Dominance to Disappearance: The Indians of Texas and the Near Southwest, 1786-1859. By F. Todd Smith. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005. Pp. xv, 314. Preface, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $59.95.)

A major objective of F. Todd Smith's latest book is to examine in detail the military, political, and economic relations between Indians and Euroamericans in Texas and the "Near Southwest" from the 1785 treaty between Spanish Texas and the Comanches to the Indians' expulsion from the state of Texas just prior to the Civil War. Smith's focus is on the indigenous groups (Atacapas, Karankawas, and various subdivisions of Apaches, Caddos, Comanches, and Wichitas) and displaced immigrants (mainly Cherokees, Choctaws, and Alabamas-Coushattas) of the region extending from the Red River on the east to the Llano Estacado on the west, and from the Nueces River on the south to the Canadian River on the north.

Though several books written in the last quarter-century or so provide valuable insights concerning these Indians and their relations with Euroamericans, most gloss over the period treated in this book, for which comparatively few English-language primary sources exist. Smith's careful review of French and Spanish archival materials adds a welcome new dimension to the information generally available for this era.

The primary thesis developed in the book is that the Indians of the Near Southwest dominated incoming Spaniards, Frenchmen, Mexicans, and Americans only so long as they outnumbered them. As disease, warfare, political machinations, and economic disasters of all sorts took their toll, Indians went from being masters of their own destinies to impoverished vagabonds subject to imposed treaties and dependent upon government assistance. Their eventual disappearance from Texas came in the 1850s, when they were hounded out of the state by a hostile citizenry whipped into a fury by a handful of depraved and persistent vigilantes. The setting for this story is the Mexican struggle for independence from Spain, and the subsequent establishment of the republic and then the state of Texas. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.