The untold story of the Strongest Native American Tribe that fought against European invasion

Maya Devi

The most powerful Native American tribe that fought the Spanish, Mexicans, Texans, and Anglo-Americans was the Comanche. They fought relentlessly for hundreds of years and surrendered only in the late 19th century. However, this fearsome tribe led a nomadic life and wasn’t aggressive in their early days. Let’s look at how these innocent nomads became skilled warriors.

Early Comanches

While Aztecs built advanced cities and Europeans developed impressive instruments, Comanche lived as simple nomads that followed their seasonal prey. But in the late 17th century, when the Spanish introduced horses in America, the Comanche immediately displayed high skill in training and handling these beasts.

Over the years, the tribe mastered how to use their skill and transformed into a dominant empire of warriors. Children learned to ride, hunt, and fight at a very young age, and the tribe became aggressive toward other Native American tribes. And when they came into contact with others, they waged war and mostly won.

Their victory can be attributed to their brutality as all men, even older children, were killed, women were assaulted, and young kids were taken captive. Some records claim they almost wiped away several Native American tribes, including the Apaches, forcing them to clear from the central plains.

As a result, by the 1780s, the Comanche had a lot of land under their control, and other Native American tribes respected their order. The Spanish called the land ruled by these warriors the Comencheri. In the 1820s, when the Americans finally expanded enough west to encounter the Comencheri, the tribe had around 250,000 square miles with several native tribes under them. Some historians call the Comanche tribe an empire that formed a strong civilization. As a result, the Spanish, Mexicans, and other colonists couldn’t break them down.

The Comanches and Texas War

The Comanches waged war against Texas while it was still under Spanish control and defeated the Texas Rangers, killing thousands of them even though they were skilled warriors. But when Texas joined forces with the United States of America, the Comanches were defeated in the 1870s. Back then, the US had trained forces and equipment from the civil war, and the Comanches were weak after diseases like cholera and smallpox infections killed over half of their population.

Comanche riders kidnapped a white woman named Cynthia Ann Parker in 1836 and assimilated her into the tribe. She went on to marry within the tribe and also gave birth to a son named Quanah Parker in 1852. By the time Quanah was an adolescent, the Comanches had lost the war. But that didn’t stop him from conducting several attacks against the US, starting at 19. In 1874, Quanah gathered over 300 Comanche soldiers and planned a final attack, intending to drive away Americans. But even after five days, the siege didn’t end, and the Comanches were forced to retreat.

Despite their defeat, the Comanches attacked the Americans occasionally, and the latter killed the tribe’s horses and main food source and burned supplies. This forced Quanah to lead other Comanches to surrender and move into a reservation.

As of the 21st century, Wikipedia reported that around 17,000 Comanche tribe members live in tribal jurisdictional areas around Lawton, Fort Sill, and the surrounding areas of southwestern Oklahoma.

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