Before contact with the white man, the Comanche were a part of the group of the
Eastern Shoshoni that lived near the headwaters of the Platte River in what is
now Wyoming. After getting horses. they began separating from the Shoshoni and
moving south about 1700. Other groups joined up until about 1830. For about 50
years, most of the Comanche were located between the Platte and Arkansas Rivers
in eastern Colorado and Western Kansas. The area known the "Staked Plains" that
they controlled extended south from the Arkansas river to near San Antonio, west
to the Pecos River and north along the foothills of the Rockies to the Arkansas.
The Comanche were the plains' mounted warrior. At first, they used a body armor
of leather and large shields to protect both horse and rider. When firearms came
about, they developed quickly light calvary tactics that forced the Spanish and
later, the Texan and Americans to cope with a new style of plains warfare. The
European style calvary did not do very well as there was no way these soldiers
could keep up with the mounted Comanche, who left them eating dust--- IF they
could find them.
Comanche raids were legendary for distance covered, and could strike hundreds
of miles from their starting point. A mounted Comanche had no equal. As moving
targets, they were difficult to hit. If an enemy fired, then had to reload, a
Comanche could close so fast, he could fire six arrows into the enemy, while hanging
under the neck of a galloping horse. When raiding, the men were usually killed
on sight and the women and children taken back to the village. The women were
usually raped, enslaved and kept for ransom, or sold as slaves. The children might
also be sold, but were often adopted and raised as part of the band. There was
apparently little distinction between natural born and adopted members.
During the 1800's, the Comanche fought virtually every tribe on the plains: Crow
Pueblo, Arikara, Lakota, Kansa, Pawnee, Navaho, Apache, Ute, Wichita, and many
others, including the five civilized tribes, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole,
and Chickasaw. They also fought the Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Cheyenne and Arapaho,
but eventually made peace and formed a lasting alliance with them.
Then came 1867, the year of the Medicine Lodge Treaty which had ten signers of
the Comanche Nation. They were ordered to take up reservation on Indian Territory
in Oklahoma. It was here that Palo Duro Canyon, the wagon train massacres, Tehan
Texas captives, and the final surrender are stamped in their memories.
There were several great chiefs among the Comanche. Some regarded as important
by the Comanche were Ten Bears, Red Sleeves, Green Horn, Iron Shirt, Leather Cape
and Buffalo Hump. Probably the best known is Quanah Parker.
In August, 1861. at the outbreak of the War Between The States, Albert Pike, traveled
to Fort Wichita and signed Treaties between the Confederate States of American
and the Plains Tribes. Read about these treaties between them.
While you are here, take a look through our Comanche Photo Album
Comanche Camp on Medicine Creek near Fort Sill
Photo courtesy Fort Sill Museum
For some good resources on the Comanche, if you are in the area, please visit
the Lawton Public Library, Lawton, OK. Visit the webpage for their Genealogy Dept. There is a list of
recommended books and information on the Comanche Language Project.
Visit the Comanche Nation Pages
During World War II, seventeen young Comanche men used their Native Language and
their Army training to confuse the enemy. Read about these young Comanche
This information compiled, prepared and submitted to this
site by Ethel Taylorand remains the property of the
NOTICE: Ethel Taylor
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