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 Code Talkers

Last Comanche Code Talker Passes

Below are some more links to Comanche pages.

Links to sites about the Comanche Indians by Phil Konstantin
Page 1 Comanche History
Page 2 Comanche History
Another Comanche History Page
Quohadi's Comanche Lodge
A Comanche Love Story, Quanah and Weakeah
Quodahi's Quanah Page

Copyright, 1998-2006

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