About

Karankawa

This project maps sites of conflict between Native Americans and Euro-Americans in Texas from the creation of the First Mexican Republic to the outbreak of the U.S.-Mexico War (1821-1846). Texas during this period was the most diverse region of the North American continent. It had long been home to several woodland tribes, who had migrated to the area from the Lower Mississippi Valley around 700 A.D.

The region’s population increased dramatically in the eighteenth century, when northern residents of New Spain established settlements above the Rio Grande. This in turn attracted the attention of the tribes of the Southern Plains, such as the Lipan Apaches and Penateka Comanches, who would launch raids into the area in the decades that followed. In the early nineteenth century, Spanish Texas became a destination for several tribal bands in the United States, whose homes were being threatened by westward moving whites. Accordingly, various groups of Cherokees, Choctaws, Shawnees, Alabamas, Coushattas, and Creeks had already settled in Texas before the region was colonized by Anglo-Americans and their slaves.

Comanche

To date, our understanding of the interaction between Native Americans and Euro-Americans has been largely anecdotal and impressionistic. No attempt has been made to compile information on acts of violence between the many peoples of Texas during this period, much less digitally map them. Such data is particularly valuable in allowing researchers to learn more about the mobility patterns of the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes of Texas, and how these patterns changed over time. It will also give us a more complete picture of the wide-ranging nature of inter-ethnic conflict in Texas.

Historians and ethnologists who study this period have no accurate data that allows them to determine whether violence between tribes differs from that of violence between Native Americans and Euro-Americans. Motives of revenge, deaths resulting from the seizure of livestock and captives, defensive attacks (against surveying parties, for example, who were the vanguard of white encroachment) were all part of the matrix of violence that framed relations between the peoples of Texas. By compiling a database to map these sites of violence, this project enables scholars to gain a better understanding of why these conflicts occurred.

Credits

This project is funded, in part, by the UTA College of Liberal Arts Initiative of Digital Arts and Humanities (iDAH) and the Summerlee Foundation.

Native American tribal images: Jean Louis Berlandier’s The Indians of Texas in 1830.

Historic map overlay: Texas, engraved by George W. Boynton, from Thomas G. Bradford, An Illustrated Atlas: Geographical, Statistical, and Historical of the United States and the Adjacent Countries (Philadelphia: E. S. Grant, 1838). University of Texas at Arlington Libraries Special Collections. Gift of Virginia Garrett. 126/16 00491. UTA catalog record

Personnel

College of Liberal Arts Center for Greater Southwestern Studies

Dr. Sam Haynes, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies
Elizabeth York, Administrative Assistant
William Kingren, Graduate Student Researcher
Brandon Blakeslee, Graduate Student Researcher

University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

Ramona Holmes, Digital Creation, Department Head
Andrew Leverenz, Senior Web Developer
Candy McCormic, Graphic Design Specialist
Krystal Schenk, Web and Digital Specialist
Ben Huseman, Cartographic Archivist
Rafia Mirza, Digital Humanities Librarian, 2012-2017
Ali Behseresht, Graduate Research Associate
Simranjeet Kaur, Student Assistant
Sarbajeet Pulaha, Student Assistant