Original Texas Immigrants

The popular interpretation of history these days looks at the Indians as being in Texas, not coming to Texas.

But that ignores the big picture. Moving around is what humans do. Successful groups spread out and less successful groups are forced elsewhere. You see, migration works like the weather. Movement is from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the high pressure zone was in the north and Texas was the center of a southern low pressure area. That high pressure system is what brought most of the major tribes to Texas and set the stage for Indian conflicts with Texan pioneers a century later.
Lets take a look at some of those tribes and where they came from.

The Lipan Apaches – The Lipans show up in Texas around 1650, migrating from from what is now New Mexico and Colorado to the area around what would become San Antonio. About a hundred years later, the Comanches were on the scene pushing the Lipan into West Texas and the Big Bend area.

The Waco & Tawakoni – These were Wichita peoples who migrated to North-Central Texas after 1700. They were driven south from Oklahoma and Kansas by the Osage, who had acquired European weaponry and by Comanches who were moving down the Arkansas River.

The Kiowa – These people got around. They originated on the Rio Grande in New Mexico, but by the 1780s were living in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Sioux, who were relocating from Northern Minnesota, decided those Black Hills looked pretty sacred to them and sent the Kiowa packing. By 1800 the Kiowa were in the Texas Panhandle.

The Tonkawa – These folks were in Northeast Oklahoma in the early 1600s. Then the Apaches came along and chased them south of the the Red River around 1700. Half a century later, the Comanches were shoving the Tonkawa further south into Central Texas.

The Comanches – The outlaw bikers of the plains. The Comanches were a group of Shoshone living as scavengers and small game hunters up in Wyoming. Then they acquired horses around 1700 and the realized they were born to be wild. By the time of the American Revolution they were the lords of the Southern plains and had begun to pressure the Tonkawa and Lipan Apaches further south and west in Texas.

The Coahuiltecans – Occupying the southern edge of the low pressure center were these tough souls. Not tough in a fighting sense, though they did drive the Spanish out of Nuevo Leon in 1587, but tough in the survival sense. They were safe from the northern pressure because nobody wanted to be where the Coahuiltecans were: the Wild Horse Desert of South Texas. They survived on anything they could find, including spiders and ant larvae. Calories were so hard to come by, they had to practice second harvest. That means scavenging and eating seeds that already passed through the human body once. 

You’re not going to see that on any TV survival show!
How Texas Counties Got Their Names
You can read the history of Texas just by looking at a map of our state…if you know how the counties got their names.
Click here to read all about it.

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