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16,700-Year-Old Tools Found in Texas Change Known History of North America

16,700-Year-Old Tools Found in Texas Change Known History of North America



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Archaeologists in Texas have found a set of 16,700-year-old tools which are among the oldest discovered in the West. Until now, it was believed that the culture that represented the continent’s first inhabitants was the Clovis culture. However, the discovery of the ancient tools now challenges that theory, providing evidence that human occupation precedes the arrival of the Clovis people by thousands of years.

According to the Western Digs , archeologists discovered the tools about half an hour north of Austin in Texas, at the site called Gault. They were located a meter deep in water-logged silty clay. The site contained more than 90 stone tools and some human remains including fragments of teeth.

Excavations being carried out at the Gault site, Texas. Credit: Archaeological Institute of America

The discovery changes everything people have been taught about the history of North America – that is, that the Clovis culture represented the first inhabitants of the continent. The results of the research were presented at the meeting of the Plains Anthropological Conference in 2015.

A hallmark of the toolkit associated with the Clovis culture is the distinctively shaped, fluted stone spear point, known as the Clovis point. These Clovis points were from the Rummells-Maske Cache Site, Iowa .

In the 1990s, at the same excavation site near Austin, archeologists unearthed tapered-oval spear heads dating back 13,000 years. Those times, they believed, belonged to the oldest widespread culture of the continent. However, the most recent discovery proves that the pre-Clovis inhabitants came to North America at least three millennia earlier.

The Gault site was identified in the 1920s. However, researches didn't accomplish any significant discovery until the 1990s. In 2012, researchers were interested in finding new artifacts related to the Clovis culture. However, they found something even much more impressive – the enamel caps of four adjacent teeth from a young adult female. It allowed them to use the radiocarbon dating method. The results were surprising. They revealed that the tools and artifacts, found in the same layer as the teeth, which includes more than 160,000 stone flakes left over from the tool-making processs, are evidence of the oldest known inhabitants of America. To finally confirm how old the artifacts are, Dr. D. Clark Wernecke, director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research, and his colleagues submitted 18 of the artifacts to a lab for optically stimulated luminescence dating. It is a process of analyzing tiny grains in the soils to reveal when they were last exposed to sunlight. The results proved that the artifacts were up to 16,700 years old. The tools also showed different features to the Clovis tools, which are distinctively shaped.

The pre-Clovis artifacts include more than 90 stone tools, such as bifaces and blades, and more than 160,000 flakes left over from the point-making process. (Photo courtesy Gault School of Archaeological Research)

Many aspects of the technology of this mysterious tribe, like how they made biface blades, were very similar to the Clovis. It seems that the blade technology did not change a lot, the Clovis only improved it. It suggests a mysterious connection between the two cultures. The discovery brought a lot of important information, including the conclusion that the diversity of artifacts uncovered at the Gault site shows that the continent’s earliest peoples were not a static or monolithic group. Moreover, they shed light on the history of human migration. The discovery proved that the first peoples in the Americas were more similar to modern people, than we believed. According to Wrencke they were “intelligent, inventive, creative — and they found ways to adapt to a rapidly changing world.”

April Holloway from Ancient Origins reported in 2014 about different evidence of pre-Clovis inhabitants in America. She wrote:

''A fisherman inadvertently dragged up one of the most significant pieces of evidence for the existence of ancient inhabitants of North America prior to the Clovis people, who walked the land some 15,000 years ago. A small wooden scallop trawler was dredging the seafloor off the coastline of Chesapeake Bay, when he hit a snag. When he pulled up his net, he found a 22,000-year-old mastodon skull and a flaked blade made of a volcanic rock called rhyolite. A report in Live Science says that the combination of the finds may suggest that people lived in North America, and possibly butchered the mastodon, thousands of years before people from the Clovis culture, who are widely thought to be the first settlers of North America and the ancestors of all living Native Americans.

The mastodon and stone tool finding further supports the perspective that there were other inhabitants of America that preceded the Clovis. The ancient fossil and tool were first hauled off the seafloor in 1974, and were donated to Gwynn's Island Museum in Virginia, where they sat unnoticed for four decades. However, scientists have now realised the significance of the items after Dennis Stanford, an archaeologist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., carried out radiocarbon dating on the mastodon tusk and found it was more than 22,000 years old. While the stone tool cannot be dated, the characteristics of the artifact suggest it is also of the same age.''


Texas History Timeline

Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Texas history.

Corn farmers settle near the Presidio in the area where the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos join around 1500 BCE. It is now believed to be the oldest continuously cultivated farmland in Texas. From 800-1500 BCE, the farmers and hunters build and occupy stone dwellings located southeast of Perryton on the northern edge of the Panhandle. Today this area is called the Buried City. By 1400 CE Texas composed of numerous small tribes, the Caddo Confederacy establishes a agriculture-based civilization in east Texas. Today the Caddo Nation is a federally recognized tribe with its capital in Binger, Oklahoma.

Spanish missionaries were the first European settlers in Texas, founding San Antonio in 1718. Hostile natives and isolation from other Spanish colonies kept Texas sparsely populated until following the Revolutionary War and the War of Mexican Independence, when the newly established Mexican government began to allow settlers from the U.S. to claim land there. Texas negotiated with the U.S. to join the union in 1845.

16th Century Texas History Timeline

Early European Exploration and Settlement


1519 - Mid - Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda maps Texas coastline.
1528- Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked near Galveston begin exploration.
1541 - Francisco Vázquez de Coronado crosses the Texas Panhandle in search of in search of the seven cities of Cibola.

1554 - Coronado dies. He is one of the first white men to explore Texas, and leader of one of 20 Spanish explorations of the area.
1598 - April 30 - Thanksgiving is held near present-day El Paso by Juan de Onate, the members of his expedition and natives of the region.

17th Century Texas History Timeline

1629 - Jumano Indians requested Spanish missionaries from New Mexico to travel to the vicinity of present-day San Angelo and instruct the Jumanos about Christianity.

1682 - First Spanish mission, Corpus Christi de la Isleta, is established a few miles from present-day El Paso.

1685 - February 16 - French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, looking for the mouth of the Mississippi River, lands in Texas by mistake. He establishes a colony, Fort St. Louis, on Garcitas Creek in present-day Victoria County.

March 19, 1687 - La Salle is killed by several of his own men at an unknown East Texas location.

January 1688 - Colonists at Fort St. Louis not felled by Indians, disease, poisonous snakes and malnutrition are finished off by Karankawa Indians.

1689 - April 2 - Spanish Gen. Alonso de Leon's expedition finds the remains of Fort St. Louis. Fearing French intentions to lay claim to Spanish territory, the Spanish begin establishing missions and settlements in East Texas.
1690 - May - First East Texas mission under construction, San Francisco de los Tejas, near present-day Weches, Houston Co. The mission is closed in 1693.

18th Century Texas History Timeline

1716-1789 - Throughout the 18th Century, Spain established Catholic missions in Texas, and the towns of San Antonio, Goliad and Nacogdoches.

1716 - Spanish build a presidio, Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de los Tejas, to protect the East Texas missions.
1718 -May 1 - San Antonio de Valero mission, known as the Alamo was the chapel, is founded in San Antonio.
1720 -February - San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo mission founded near San Antonio de Valero.
1731 -

  • 3 East Texas missions moved to San Antonio because of economic troubles, and named Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de Acuna, San Francisco de la Espada and San Juan Capistrano.
  • March 7 - 55 Canary Islanders arrive in San Antonio to establish a civilian settlement, San Fernando de Bexar.
  • Aug. 1 - First election held in Texas, voters choose officials of the municipal government of San Fernando.

1745 - Missions at San Antonio are producing thousands of pounds of cotton annually.

1758 - March 16 - Santa Cruz de San Sabá mission near present-day Menard destroyed and eight residents killed by Comanches and their allies.

1759 - August - Spanish troops on a retaliatory raid are defeated by Indian residents of a large encampment at Spanish Fort in present-day Montague County.

1766 - Sept. 4 - Texas' first recorded hurricane strikes near Galveston.

1779 - Group of settlers led by Antonio Gil Ybarbo (sometimes spelled Ibarvo or Y'barvo) establishes a civilian community near an abandoned mission site the new town is called Nacogdoches.

19th Century Texas History Timeline

1810 - Sept. 16 - Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo and several hundred of his parishioners seize the prison at Dolores, Mexico, beginning Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain.

1812 -August 8 - About 130-men strong, the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition crossed the Sabine from Louisiana in a rebel movement against Spanish rule in Texas.

  • Texas' first newspaper, Gaceta de Texas, founded by Jose Alvarez de Toledo in Nacogdoches.
  • Dec. 26 - Spanish government grants Moses Austin permission to establish a colony of Anglo-Americans in the Texas area. When he dies the following June, his son, Stephen F. Austin, receives authority to continue the colonizing effort.

1814 - June- Moses Austin dies, his son, Stephen F. Austin, receives authority to continue the colonizing effort.

1817-1820 - Jean Laffite occupied Galveston Island and used it as a base for his smuggling and privateering.

1818 - September 12 - A hurricane wrecks the fleet of pirate Jean Lafitte in Galveston.

  • Aug. 24 - Mexico gains independence from Spain.
  • October 13 Jane Long gives birth to the first Anglo child born in Texas, a girl named Mary James.

1823 - Jan. 3 - Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River. Mexican officials approve Austin's plan to bring three hundred families into his colony. This group becomes known as the "Old Three Hundred."

Mid-1824 - Constitution of 1824 gave Mexico a republican form of government. It failed to define the rights of the states within the republic, including Texas

1826 - Dec. 21 - The Declaration of Independence of the republic of Fredonia is signed at Nacogdoches.

1827- January 31 - This so-called Fredonian Rebellion is an attempt by empresario Haden Edwards to separate his colony from Mexico. The rebels flee when approached by Mexican troops.

1829 - October - First of several large groups of Irish immigrants arrive to settle in South Texas.

1830 - April 6 - Mexican government stops legal immigration into Texas from the United States except in special cases. Relations between Anglo settlers and the Mexican government deteriorate.

1831 - Johann Friedrich Ernst, his wife and five children are the first German family to arrive in Texas, settling in present-day Austin County.

Revolution and the Republic of Texas


1832 - June 26 - First bloodshed of the Texas Revolution takes place at Velasco when Texans, transporting a cannon from Brazoria to Anahuac, are challenged by Mexican forces at Velasco. The Mexicans surrender on June 29.
1835

  • Oct. 2 - Mexican troops attempt to retrieve a cannon that had been given to Gonzales colonists for protection from Indian attack. The skirmish that ensues as Gonzales residents dare the Mexicans to "come and take it" is considered the opening battle of the Texas Revolution.
  • Oct. 10 - Gail Borden begins publishing the newspaper "Telegraph and Texas Register" at San Felipe de Austin.
  • Nov. 1 - A "consultation" convenes at San Felipe on Nov. 7 the delegates agree to establish a provisional government.
  • Nov. 24 - The Texas Rangers organization is officially established by Texas' provisional government. Although Stephen F. Austin had hired 10 frontiersmen as "rangers" to help protect his colonists against Indian raids in 1823, not until 1835 was the law-enforcement group formally organized.
  • March 2 - Texas Declaration of Independence is adopted at Washington-on-the-Brazos.
  • March 6 - 3-day siege of the Alamo by Mexican troops led by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ends on this day with a battle in which all remaining defenders are killed.
  • March 10 - Sam Houston abandons Gonzales and retreats eastward to avoid the advancing Mexican army. Panicky settlers in the area flee as well in an exodus called the Runaway Scrape.
  • March 27 - About 350 Texan prisoners, including their commander James Fannin, are executed at Goliad by order of Santa Anna. An estimated 30 Texans escape.
  • April 21 - In a battle lasting 18 minutes, Texan troops led by Sam Houston defeat the Mexican army commanded by Santa Anna at San Jacinto near present-day Houston. Houston reports that 630 Mexican troops were killed and 730 were taken prisoner. Of the Texas troops, nine of a force of 910 were killed or mortally wounded, and 30 were less seriously wounded.
  • May 14 - Santa Anna and Texas' provisional president David Burnet sign two Treaties of Velasco - one public, the other secret - ending the Texas Revolution. The treaties were, however, violated by both sides. Texas' independence was not recognized by Mexico and Texas' boundary was not determined until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War, was signed in 1848.
  • Sept. 5 - Voters of the new republic choose their first elected officials: Sam Houston becomes president and Lorenzo de Zavala, vice president. The voters also overwhelmingly approve a referendum requesting annexation by the United States. US President Martin Van Buren refuses to consider it, however, citing fear of war with Mexico and constitutional scruples.
  • Oct. - The first Congress of the Republic of Texas convenes at Columbia.

1837 - Republic of Texas is officially recognized by the United States, and later by France, England, the Netherlands and Belgium.

1839 - Aug. 1 - First sale of town lots in the new capital of the Republic, which is named for Stephen F. Austin, is held.

  • March 19 - Comanches, led by a dozen chiefs, meet with officials of Texas government to negotiate a peace treaty. Believing the Comanches to have reneged on a promise to release all white prisoners, the Texans take the chiefs prisoner. During the Council House fight that follows, 35 Comanches are killed, as are seven Texans.
  • Aug. 5 - Near Hallettsville, Comanches, in retaliation for the Council House Fight, begin killing and looting their way across Central Texas. Texas Rangers and a volunteer army defeat the Comanches on Aug. 11 at Plum Creek near Lockhart.

1841 - June 20 - The Santa Fe Expedition, launched without Texas Congressional authorization by Pres. Mirabeau B. Lamar, leaves Central Texas on its way west to establish trade with and solidify Texas' claims to territory around Santa Fe. Members of group are taken prisoner by Mexican troops, marched to Mexico City and imprisoned. They are finally released in 1842.

1842 - The first seeds of large-scale German immigration to Texas are sown when a German society, the Adelsverein, purchases land for settlements in Central Texas.

Annexation and Statehood

  • February 1 - Baylor University is founded.
  • March 1 - US Congress passes a "Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States."
  • mid-March - The first of many large groups of Germans arrive in Central Texas, settling at New Braunfels.
  • July 4 - The Texas Constitutional Convention votes to accept the United States annexation proposal it drafts an Annexation Ordinance and State Constitution to submit to the voters of Texas.
  • Oct. 13 - Texas voters overwhelmingly approve annexation, the new state constitution and the annexation ordinance.
  • Dec. 29 - The US Congress approves, and President James K. Polk signs, the "Joint Resolution for the Admission of the State of Texas into the Union." Texas becomes the 28th state.
  • Feb. 19 - Formal transfer of government take place until this date.
  • May 8 - Battle of Palo Alto near Brownsville is first major battle of the two-year Mexican War.

1848 - Feb. 2 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the War with Mexico and specifying the location of the international boundary.

  • Feb. 11 - The first railroad to actually begin operation in Texas is chartered by the state government. The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado begins operation in 1853.
  • Nov. 25 - Texas' governor signs the Compromise of 1850, in which Texas gives up its claim to land that includes more than half of what is now New Mexico, about a third of Colorado, a corner of Oklahoma and a small portion of Wyoming in exchange for the United States' assumption of $10 million in debt Texas keeps its public lands.

1854 - Two reservations are established for Indians in West-Central Texas: one for Comanches on the Clear Fork of the Brazos in Throckmorton County, the other for more sedentary Indian groups, such as Tawakonis, Wacos and Tonkawas, near Fort Belknap in Young County.

  • March 27 - Col. Robert E. Lee arrives in San Antonio. He serves at Camp Cooper on the Comanche reservation beginning April 9. He returns to Washington for a short time, coming back to San Antonio and Fort Mason in February 1860.
  • April 29 - Fifty-three camels arrive at port of Indianola for a US Army experiment using them for pack animals in the arid areas of the Southwest.

1858 - Sept. 15 - Southern route of the Butterfield Overland Mail crosses Texas on its way between St. Louis, Mo., and the West Coast. Service discontinued in March 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War.

  • July 13 - Violent clashes between Juan "Cheno" Cortina and Anglo lawmen begin in the Brownsville area in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Texas Rangers and federal troops eventually halt the so-called "Cortina War" in 1875.
  • July - Indians on the West-Central Texas reservations are moved by the federal government to reservations in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

Secession and Civil War

  • Feb. 1 - The Secession Convention approves an ordinance withdrawing Texas from Union the action is ratified by the voters on Feb. 23 in a referendum vote. Secession is official on March 2.
  • Feb. 13 - Robert E. Lee is ordered to return to Washington from regimental headquarters at Fort Mason to assume command of the Union Army. Instead, Lee resigns his commission he assumes command of the Confederate Army by June 1862.
  • March 1 - Texas accepted as a state by the provisional government of the Confederate States of America, even before its secession from the Union is official.
  • March 5 - The Secession Convention approves an ordinance accepting Confederate statehood.
  • March 16 - Sam Houston resigns as governor in protest against secession
  • Aug. 10 - About 68 Union loyalists, mostly German immigrants from the area of Comfort, in Central Texas, start for Mexico in an attempt to reach US troops 19 are killed by Confederates on the Nueces River. Eight others are killed on Oct. 18 at the Rio Grande. Others drown attempting to swim the river. Their deaths are commemorated in Comfort by the Treue der Union (True to the Union) monument.
  • October - Forty-two men thought to be Union sympathizers are hanged at various times during October in Gainesville.


1865 - May 13 - The Battle of Palmito Ranch is fought near Brownsville, after the official end of the Civil War, because word of the war's end at Appomattox on April 9 has not yet reached troops in Texas.

Reconstruction to the 20th Century

  • June 19 - Gen. Gordon Granger arrives at Galveston to announce that slavery has been abolished, an event commemorated today by the festival known as Juneteenth.
  • Sept. - The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen's Bureau) begins operating in Texas, charged with helping former slaves make the transition to freedom.
  • March 15 - The Constitutional Convention approves an ordinance to nullify the actions of the Secession Convention.
  • Aug. 20 - President Andrew Johnson issues a proclamation of peace between the United States and Texas.
  • Cattle drives, which had been occasional in the 1830s, sporadic during the 1840s and 1850s, and almost nonexistent during the Civil War, begin in earnest, mostly to markets and railheads in Midwest. They are at their peak for only about 20 years, until the proliferation of railroads makes them unnecessary.

1867-1870 - Congressional (or Military) Reconstruction replaces Presidential Reconstruction.

1868 - Large-scale irrigation begins in Texas when canals are built in the vicinity of Del Rio.

1869 - Nov. 30 - Texas voters approve a new state constitution.
1870

  • March 30 - President Grant signs the act readmitting Texas to Congressional representation.
  • Edmund J. Davis becomes the first Republican governor of Texas.

1871 - May - Seven men in a wagon train are massacred at Salt Creek, about 20 miles west of Jacksboro, by Kiowas and Comanches led by chiefs Satanta, Big Tree, Satank and Eagle Heart.
1872 - Oct. - Construction begins on the Texas & Pacific Railway the 125-mile stretch between Longview and Dallas opens for service on July 1, 1873.
1873

  • Black "Buffalo Soldiers" are first posted to Texas, eventually serving at virtually every frontier fort in West Texas from the Rio Grande to the Panhandle, as well as in other states.
  • Houston and Texas Central Railway reaches the Red River, connecting there with the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad and creating the first all-rail route from Texas to St. Louis and the East.
  • Jan. 17 - Inauguration of Democrat Richard Coke as governor marks the end of Reconstruction in Texas.
  • Sept. 28 - Col. Ranald Mackenzie leads the 4th US Cavalry in the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, south of present-day Amarillo, an encounter that ends with the confinement of southern Plains Indians in reservations in Indian Territory. This makes possible the wholesale settlement of the western part of the state.
  • Feb. 15 - Present state constitution is adopted.
  • Oct. 4 - The Agricultural and Mechanical College, later Texas A&M University, opens at College Station, becoming the first public institution of higher learning in the state.
  • Charles Goodnight establishes the JA Ranch in Palo Duro Canyon, the first cattle ranch located in the Panhandle.

1877 - Sept. - The El Paso Salt War is the culmination of a long dispute caused by Anglos' attempts to take over salt-mining rights at the foot of Guadalupe Peak, a traditionally Mexican-American salt source.

1881 - Dec. 16 - The Texas & Pacific Railway reaches Sierra Blanca in West Texas, about 90 miles east of El Paso.

1883 - Sept. 15 - The University of Texas classes begin.

1884 - Fence-cutting wars prompt the Texas Legislature to pass a law making fence-cutting a felony.

1886 - Aug. 19-21 - Hurricane destroys or damages every house in the port of Indianola, finishing the job started by another storm 11 years earlier. Indianola is never rebuilt.

1888 - May 16 - Present state capitol is dedicated.

1891 - The Railroad Commission, proposed by Gov. James Hogg, is established by the Texas legislature to regulate freight rates and to establish rules for railroad operations.

1894 - June 9 - Oil is discovered at Corsicana a commercial field opens in 1896, becoming the first small step in Texas' rise as a major oil producer.

1898 - May 16 - Teddy Roosevelt arrives in San Antonio to recruit and train "Rough Riders" for the First Volunteer Cavalry to fight in the Spanish-American War in Cuba.

1898-1899 - Texas experiences its coldest winter on record.

20th Century Texas History Timeline

1900 - Sept. 8 - The "Great Hurricane," destroys much of Galveston and kills 6,000 people there.

1901 - Jan. 10 - Oil found by mining engineer Capt. A.F. Lucas at Spindletop near Beaumont catapults Texas into the petroleum age.

1902 - Poll tax becomes a requirement for voting.

1906 - Texans votes for US senator in the Democratic primary, although the Texas legislature retains ultimate appointment authority, primary voters can express their preferences.

1910 - March 2 - Lt. Benjamin D. Foulois makes first military air flight in a Wright brothers plane at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

1911-1920 - Mexican civil war spills across the border, as refugees seek safety, combatants seek each other, and Texas settlements are raided for supplies by all sides in the fighting. Pancho Villa and his followers are active along the border during some of this time.

1916 - Texas voters able to directly elect US senators.

1917-1918 - World War I.

1917 - Gov. James Ferguson is impeached and convicted he leaves office.

  • - March - Texas women win the right to vote in primary elections.
  • Annie Webb Blanton becomes the first woman elected to a statewide office when she is elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Responding to anti-German sentiment, Gov. William P. Hobby vetoes appropriations for German Dept. of The University of Texas.
  • Texans adopt a prohibition amendment to the state constitution.

1920 - Large-scale agricultural irrigation begins in the High Plains.

  • Miriam "Ma" Ferguson becomes Texas' first woman governor, serving as a figurehead for her husband, former Gov. James E. Ferguson.
  • Sept. 30 - Texas Tech University begins classes in Lubbock as Texas Technological College.

1928 - June 26-29 - The Democratic National Convention is held in Houston, the first nominating convention held in a Southern city since 1860.

1929 - Feb. 17 - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is founded in Corpus Christi.

1930 - Sept. 5 - The Daisy Bradford #3 well, drilled near Turnertown in Rusk County by wildcatter C.M. (Dad) Joiner, blows in, heralding the discovery of the huge East Texas Oil Field.

1935 - Two years after federal prohibition was repealed, Texas voters ratify the repeal of the state's prohibition law.

1936 - June 6 - Texas Centennial Exposition opens at Dallas' Fair Park it runs until Nov. 29.

1937 - March 18 - A massive explosion, blamed on a natural-gas leak beneath the London Consolidated School building in Rusk County, kills an estimated 296 students and teachers. Subsequent deaths of people injured in the explosion bring the death count to 311. As a result, the Texas legislature requires that a malodorant be added to the odorless gas so that leaks can be more easily detected.

1941-1945 - World War II.

1943 - June - A race riot in Beaumont leads to a declaration of martial law.

1947 - April 16 - The French-owned SS Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate, explodes in the Texas City harbor, followed the next morning by the explosion of the SS High Flyer. The disaster kills almost 600 and injures at least 4,000 more. The concussion is felt 75 miles away in Port Arthur, and the force creates a 15-foot tidal wave.

1948 - Lyndon B. Johnson beats Coke Stevenson in the US Senate race by 87 votes. The winning margin in the disputed primary is registered in Ballot Box No. 13 in Jim Wells County.

1949 - Aug. 24 - The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston admits its first black student.

1950 - The US Supreme Court orders racial integration of The University of Texas law school.

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the first Texas-born President of the United States.
  • May 11 - A tornado kills 114, injures 597 at Waco 150 homes and 185 other buildings are destroyed.
  • 1953'
  • May 22 - The Tidelands Bill is signed by Pres. Eisenhower, giving Texas the rights to its offshore oil.

1954 - Texas women gain the right to serve on juries.

1958 -Sept. 12 - Integrated circuit, developed by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments, Dallas, is successfully tested, ushering in the semiconductor and electronics age.

1961 -John Tower wins special election for US Senate, becoming the first Republican senator from Texas since Reconstruction.

1962 - NASA opens the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. The center moves to a new campus-like building complex in 1964. It is renamed Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center on Aug. 17, 1973.

1963 - Nov. 22 - President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas vice president Lyndon B. Johnson succeeds to the office, becoming the 36th US president.

1964 - Poll tax is abolished by the 24th Amendment to the US Constitution as a requirement for voting for federal offices. It is retained in Texas, however, for state and local offices.

  • The Texas Legislature is reapportioned on the principle of one person, one vote.
  • June 3 - San Antonio native Ed White becomes the first American to walk in space.
  • The poll tax is repealed as a requirement for voting in all elections by amendment of the Texas Constitution.
  • Barbara Jordan of Houston becomes the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate.
  • Aug. 1 - Charles Whitman kills 17 people, shooting them from the observation deck of the main-building tower on The University of Texas campus in Austin.

1967 - Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is incorporated in Texas its first national office is in San Antonio.

1969 - July 20 - Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong transmits the first words from the surface of the moon: "Houston, the Eagle has landed."

1971 - Securities and Exchange Commission investigates illegal manipulation of stock transactions involving Frank Sharp and his Sharpstown State Bank of Houston.

1972 - The Sharpstown Scandal results in the conviction of House speaker Gus Mutscher and two associates for conspiracy and bribery

1974 - Jan. 8 - Constitutional Convention meets to attempt to write a new state constitution. However, the delegates, comprising the membership of the 63rd Legislature, become mired in divisive politics, and the convention adjourns on July 30, 1974, without a document.

1978 - William Clements becomes the first Republican governor of Texas since Reconstruction.

1979 -April 10 - Several tornadoes kill 53 in West Texas, including 42 in Wichita Falls, and cause $400 million in damages.

1984 - The no-pass-no-play rule is part of an education-reform package enacted by the Texas Legislature.

1984 - Aug. 20-23 - The National Republican Convention is held in Dallas.

1985 - The Federal Home Loan Bank Board suspends deposit insurance for Texas savings-and-loan companies applying for state charters. Three years later, after uncovering widespread insider abuse at Texas lending institutions, federal regulators announce bail-out plans for many Texas thrifts and begin prosecution of S&L officials.

1988 - Houstonian George Bush is elected president of the United States.

1990 - Democrat Ann Richards becomes the first woman governor of Texas in her own right.

  • April 19 - Siege that began on Feb. 28 ended, federal agents storm the compound called Mount Carmel near Waco, where cult leader David Koresh and his followers, called Branch Davidians, had reportedly been storing a large cache of assault weapons. The assault and ensuing fire kill four agents and 86 Branch Davidians.
  • Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison becomes the first woman to serve as US Senator from Texas.

21st Century Texas History Timeline

2000 - Former Texas Gov. George W. Bush elected President of the United States.

2001 - Enron filed for bankruptcy protection

2003 - Space shuttle Columbia broke apart across southeastern Texas as it descended toward its planned landing, all crew members were lost

  • Republican majority leader in US House of Representatives, Tom DeLay, indicted with criminal conspiracy by grand jury in Texas
  • Hurricane Rita forced over 1 million to evacuate

2006 - Two Enron executives convicted of conspiracy, fraud

2007 - Gunman at Johnson Space Center in Houston killed male hostage, self

2008 - Hurricane Ike struck Texas Gulf Coast, caused major flooding, billions of dollars in damages

2009 - Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood military base, killed 13, injured 30

  • Texas wildfires destroyed over 1 million acres, burned over 1,000 homes
  • Governor Rick Perry announced candidacy for Republican nominee in 2012 presidential race

2013 - On Thursday, April 18, 2013, a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant on the edge of the small Texas town of West killed at least 35 people, wounded more than 170, leveled dozens and dozens of homes and prompted authorities to evacuate half their community of 2,800. West is a community of about 2,800 people, about 75 miles south of Dallas and 120 miles north of Austin.


John Cabot’s Early Life

Giovanni Caboto was born circa 1450 in Genoa, and moved to Venice around 1461 he became a Venetian citizen in 1476. Evidence suggests that he worked as a merchant in the spice trade of the Levant, or eastern Mediterranean, and may have traveled as far as Mecca, then an important trading center for Oriental and Western goods. He studied navigation and map-making during this period, and, similarly to his countryman Christopher Columbus, appears to have become interested in the possibility of reaching the rich markets of Asia by sailing in a westward direction.

Did you know? John Cabot&aposs landing in 1497 is generally thought to be the first European encounter with the North American continent since Leif Eriksson and the Vikings explored the area they called Vinland in the 11th century.

For the next several decades, Cabot’s exact activities are unknown he may have spent several years in Valencia and Seville, Spain, and may have been in Valencia in 1493, when Columbus passed through the city on his way to report to the Spanish monarchs the results of his western voyage (including his mistaken belief that he had in fact reached Asia). By late 1495, Cabot had reached Bristol, England, a port city that had served as a starting point for several previous expeditions across the North Atlantic. From there, he worked to convince the British crown that England did not have to stand aside while Spain claimed most of the New World, and that it was possible to reach Asia on a more northerly route than the one Columbus had taken.


Archaeologists in Texas thought they’d made an important discovery in the 1990s, when they unearthed a trove of stone tools dating back 13,000 years, revealing traces of the oldest widespread culture on the continent.

But then, years later, they made an even more powerful find in the same place — another layer of artifacts that were older still.

About a half-hour north of Austin and a meter deep in water-logged silty clay, researchers have uncovered evidence of human occupation dating back as much as 16,700 years, including fragments of human teeth and more than 90 stone tools.

In addition to being some of the oldest yet found in the American West, the artifacts are rare traces of a culture that predated the culture known as Clovis, whose distinctively shaped stone tools found across North America have consistently been dated to about 13,000 years ago. The pre-Clovis artifacts include more than 90 stone tools, such as bifaces and blades, and more than 160,000 flakes left over from the point-making process. (Photo courtesy Gault School of Archaeological Research)

Indeed, an entire generation of anthropologists was taught that Clovis represented the continent’s first inhabitants.

But, along with a handful of other pre-Clovis finds, the Texas tools add to the mounting evidence that humans arrived on the continent longer ago than was once thought, said Dr. D. Clark Wernecke, director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research.

“The most important takeaway is that people were in the New World much earlier than we used to believe,” Wernecke said.

“We were all taught [North America was first populated] 13,500 years ago, and it appears that people arrived 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.” [See what may be the oldest known artifact in the West: “Stone Tool Unearthed in Oregon ‘Hints’ at Oldest Human Occupation in Western U.S.”

The location in Texas where the new finds were made, known as the Gault site, was first identified in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that archaeologists discovered the first tools, like tapered-oval spear heads, that were clear signs of the ancient Clovis culture.

It was those finds that Wernecke and his colleagues went to investigate further, when they began working at the Gault site in 2002.

“At the time, we were interested in Clovis, and we had no idea of anything earlier there,” he said.

After several years of digging test pits and making chance finds, the team ended up focusing on two of the most striking parts of the site.

The first part, known as Area 12, revealed an unusual “pavement” constructed out of cobbles buried deep beneath the surface.

“[It’s] a roughly two-by-three-meter rectangular gravel pad about 10 centimeters thick of rounded river gravels in a narrow range of sizes, with artifacts of at least Clovis age on and around it,” Wernecke said.

“The indications from the surrounding data are that it had a structure on it.”

The presence of Clovis-era stone tools suggested that the paved floor dated to about 13,000 years ago. At Area 15 (pictured), researchers found stone tools fashioned in the signature Clovis style. But several centimeters below that, an abundance of new material appeared — including human teeth. (Photo courtesy The Gault School of Archaeological Research)

The team kept digging, and about 1 meter below the pavement and the Clovis tools, they found nine more flakes of shaped stone, along with a scattering of animal bones.

Assuming that material found below the Clovis pavement must be older than Clovis, the researchers were intrigued. But there was not much to go on.

“In Area 12, you have the pavement, lithics and bone, and not much else,” Wernecke said.

However, the team also turned its attention to another area nearby, where it discovered significantly more, and larger, artifacts that were also older than Clovis.

Here, at a spot named Area 15, the researchers first found a few more stone tools fashioned in the signature Clovis style. But several centimeters below that, an abundance of new material appeared — including human teeth.

Among a pile of limestone rocks, the team discovered the enamel caps of four adjacent teeth from a young adult female.

No human bones were found, and enamel can’t be radiocarbon dated, Wernecke noted, so details about the woman — like how and when she lived and died — remain a mystery for now.

However, within this same, deep, older-than-Clovis layer of sediment, the researchers unearthed yet another compelling find — more than 90 stone tools, fashioned in a style that clearly wasn’t Clovis.

Clovis projectile points can be identified by their long parallel-sided shape — a form known as lanceolate — as well as by their thin bases, and notches where a shaft could be hafted onto the stone. [See a clear-crystal Clovis point recently found in Mexico: “Ancient Clovis Elephant-Hunting Camp Discovered in Mexico“]

But many of the newly found, deeper artifacts didn’t fit that description.

“The morphology is completely different,” Wernecke said. “They are not lanceolate points with basal thinning.

“Three of them are very small stemmed points, and the fourth is a somewhat thick sort of lanceolate point.

In addition to the 90 tools, the artifacts include more than 160,000 stone flakes left over from the tool-making process. And they, too, are different from the flakes found with Clovis tools, Wernecke said.

“The flaking patterns are also completely different,” he said.

“These were not made using Clovis technology.”

But the fact that these artifacts were different from, and deeper than, the Clovis points didn’t necessarily prove that they were older.

To establish their age, Wernecke and his colleagues submitted 18 of the artifacts to a lab for optically stimulated luminescence dating — a process that analyzes tiny grains in the soils to reveal when they were last exposed to sunlight, thereby giving a sense of how long they’ve been buried.

The results showed that the artifacts were between 13,200 to 16,700 years old.

At their most ancient, that’s some 3,000 years older than the earliest known signs of Clovis culture anywhere in North America.

“We compared these [dates] with relative dating of artifacts and radiocarbon dates wherever possible,” Wernecke added. “All seem to agree well.”

The discovery of all of these older-than-Clovis artifacts raises tantalizing questions about what that earlier culture was like, and how it compared to the Clovis culture.

According to Wernecke, the pre-Clovis tools suggest that their makers were likely direct predecessors of the Clovis.

Many aspects of their technology — like how they made biface blades — were similar but not identical, he said. A comparison of a Clovis point found at the Gault site (left) with the bases of older points found below the Clovis layer. (Photo courtesy Gault School of Archaeological Research)

“Blade technology does not seem to have changed a lot — a little bit in technique, but both cultures were making similar blades,” he said.

“Likewise, many of the tools are the same basic tools — easily recognizable to either technological culture but made in a different fashion. A different set of technological tools and instructions were used to arrive at similar tool types.”

This continuity in technology might indicate a similar continuity of culture, Wernecke added, a gradual transition from one culture to the next.

“You would logically expect some similarity,” he said. “If people adopted a new technology, some of the old would hang around.

“If [the tools] were completely different, you would expect to find another culture in between [the Clovis and older-than-Clovis layers], or evidence for total replacement of the population.”

Much more work remains to be done at the Gault site, Wernecke said.

But the discoveries made there so far have enormous implications for our understanding of the history of human migration and the peopling of the Americas, Wernecke said. [Learn why human feces found in Oregon has experts arguing: “Ancient Feces From Oregon Cave Aren’t Human, Study Says, Adding to Debate on First Americans“]

“In 1590, [Spanish missionary and naturalist] Jose de Acosta wrote that the people in the New World were primitive humans who must have walked here, and we have built on that premise ever since,” he said.

“But it was not possible to walk here until much later, with 3-mile-high glaciers in the way.

“If people got here 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, they had to have come along the coast in boats.” [See what DNA has revealed about Clovis culture: “Genome of America’s Only Clovis Skeleton Reveals Origins of Native Americans“]

Moreover, he added, the diversity of artifacts uncovered at the Gault site also shows that the continent’s earliest peoples were not a static or monolithic group.

“We are beginning to understand that the first peoples in the new world were just like us,” Wernecke said, “intelligent, inventive, creative — and they found ways to adapt to a rapidly changing world.”

Wernecke and his colleagues presented their findings at the 2015 meeting of the Plains Anthropological Conference.


Peoples settled in what is now Texas thousands of years before European explorers arrived in North America. Some American Indian oral histories recount how their ancestors traveled to the area by water or land. A large amount of stone artifacts made at least 16,000 years ago have been found in Central Texas. For many years, scientists believed that the first Americans came from Asia 13,000 years ago. The discovery of these artifacts suggests that humans came to the Americas much earlier.

Pre-Cloves Projectile Point.
Image courtesy Gault School of Archaeological Research, San Marcos, Texas

Peoples who lived in the area at the end of the Ice Age are referred to as the “Clovis” people by archaeologists. These people shared the land with mammoths, mastodons, and other Ice Age animals. They traveled long distances to hunt these animals with spears. They also used projectile points and other tools made of Alibates flint. Their stone tools have been found more than 300 miles from the stone's source.

Alibates.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

The “Folsom” people lived a hunter-gather lifestyle very similar to the Clovis people. With the mammoth and many other big game species from the Ice Age extinct, the Folsom people followed large herds of bison that were larger than the bison of today. They hunted with a weapon called the atlatl and dart. This weapon system consisted of two parts: a "throwing stick" and a dart which looks similar to an arrow but was much longer.

Prehistoric hunters used atlatls to hurl these darts at their prey.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

The “Archaic” people that called the present-day Texas Panhandle home lived in an environment that was rich in various plants and animals. They were slowly transitioning from being nomadic hunter-gatherers to farmers. They gathered various types of plant materials: seeds, roots, berries, and anything else that was edible. They would grind the seed into meal using tools called a “mano and matate” made out of sandstone or dolomite.

Striations, stains, and polish cover this limestone tool that may have been used for a variety of purposes, including grinding.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

More than 5000 years ago in present-day Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, people began to grow corn, beans, and squash. The switch from a nomadic hunter-gatherer life style to horticulture contributed to more reliable food sources and settled lifestyles. Populations grew and cultures flourished.

Varieties of maize found near Cuscu and Machu Pichu at Salineras de Maras on the Inca Sacred Valley in Peru, June 2007.
Image credit Fabio de Oliveira Freitas, Courtesy Smithsonian Institute

"Rock art" including pictographs (painted images) and petroglyphs (carved, or incised images) was made by people at least 4,500 years ago throughout the Lower Pecos region of present-day Texas. The symbols in the “White Shaman” mural depict a creation story that can still be interpreted today by Huichol Indians in Mexico.

Panther Cave Rock Art.
Image Courtesy Shumla Archaeological Research and Education Center. Site jointly owned by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Park Service

Beginning at least 2,000 years ago in a Hueco Mountains’ canyon near El Paso, ancient Puebloans held ceremonies where they placed offerings in a cave. The Pueblo people believed that caves were portals to a watery underworld. Among the artifacts found in Ceremonial Cave were a finely crafted bracelet and pendants made of shells from coastal areas hundreds of miles away. These artifacts are evidence of the vast trade routes that existed between diverse communities.

Turquoise armband, 700–1450 CE.
Image courtesy Texas Archeological Research Lab, The University of Texas at Austin

The bow and arrow replaced the atlatl around 700 C.E. The new technology spread across much of North America around this time. Its precise origin is unknown, but it may have been brought into the region by new migrants. The bow was lighter and required fewer resources to make. The arrow was much more lethal than a spear because of its speed, silence, and accuracy.

Scallorn Points.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

It is said that Texas owes its name to the Caddo. "Tejas" is a Spanish spelling of the Caddo word that means "those who are friends." Archaeological evidence in the form of fine ceramic pottery indicates that Caddo communities existed in the area as early as 800 C.E. The agriculture-based Caddoes lived in villages and large fortified towns surrounding large plazas with earthen mounds. Atop of the mounds were temples, council houses, and the houses of the tribe’s elites.

Large settlements with mound centers like this existed up and down the Mississippi River and were interconnected through trade. The largest of these fortified communities was Cahokia, located near present-day St Louis, MO. One of Texas's best examples of a Caddo mound is located in present-day Cherokee County.

Caddo Pot made by Jeri Redcorn, Caddo

The “Antelope Creek” people lived in the present-day Texas panhandle between 1150 and 1450. They lived in pueblo like villages where they practiced horticulture and bison hunting. Over a period of 300 years, they dug hundreds of quarries for better flint to make stone tools. Pottery fragments found at Antelope Creek sites provide evidence of extensive trade. The Antelope Creek people left the area abruptly around 1450 AD, perhaps because of drought conditions, disease, or the arrival of hostile Apaches to the area.

Antelope Creek Pottery Sherds.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

Historians believe that the Apache moved down from their native territory in Canada and into North America sometime between 1000 and 1400. They belong to the southern branch of the Athabascan group, whose languages constitute a large family, with speakers in Alaska, western Canada, and the American Southwest.

By the 1600s two groups settled in Texas — the Lipan Apache and the Mescalero. The Mescalero eventually moved on to present-day New Mexico. The arrival of the Apache would begin to alter the trade and territorial claims among the diverse tribes who had settled the area before them.

Lipanes, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

On August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed west from Palos, Spain, to explore a new route to Asia. On October 12, he reached the Bahamas. Six months later, he returned to Spain with gold, cotton, American Indian handicrafts, exotic parrots, and other strange beasts. His tales of the native peoples, land, and resources in North America ignited the era of Spanish colonization.

Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda is credited with being the first European to explore and map the Gulf of Mexico. He set out with four ships and 270 men to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean. There are few records detailing his exploration, although one Spanish document does indicate that he sailed around the coast of Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico, and up a river dotted with palm trees and the villages of native peoples. Earlier interpretations of his voyage identified this river as the Rio Grande, but later data shows that it was probably the Soto la Marina, located in Mexico.

Spanish conquests of the Americas introduced the first enslaved Africans to the region. Among Hernán Cortés’s forces in his siege of Tenochtitlan in 1521 were six Black men, including African born Juan Garrido. Garrido was enslaved in the Caribbean as early as 1503. He participated in the founding of New Spain as a free man and is recognized as the first person to grow wheat in New Spain. While in Mexico City, he established a family and continued to serve with Spanish forces.

A painting of Garrido with Hernan Cortés, Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espana e islas de la tierra firme, Diego Duran, 1579. Image courtesy of Biblioteca Nacional de Espana

In 1527, with five ships, 600 men, and a supply of horses, Pánfilo de Narváez set out for Florida to claim gold and glory for the Spanish empire. His trip seemed doomed from the beginning. Many of his men died, deserted, or were killed by the American Indians whose people and villages the expedition attacked and pillaged. In an effort to escape, Narváez and the remaining members of the expedition set sail in flimsy rafts that were eventually washed up on the Texas Gulf Coast near Galveston. Narvárez drowned on the voyage, but one of the few survivors, conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, wrote detailed memoirs that became the earliest European descriptions of Texas and its people.

Álvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, one of four survivors of the failed Narváez expedition, washed up on the beach of a Texas Gulf Coast island he named "Malhado," which means "misfortune." The name was apt, because for the next several years, Cabeza de Vaca lived one harrowing moment to another as a captive slave of various Texas American Indians. He kept a detailed diary which has become an invaluable primary source describing the life and peoples of early Texas. In 1536, Spanish soldiers returned Cabeza de Vaca to Mexico City. He eventually made his way back to Spain where he published his memoirs, The Narrative of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, in 1542.

The Karankawa first encountered Europeans when Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca washed up on a Galveston beach in 1528. This encounter, which Cabeza de Vaca wrote about in his diary, is the first recorded meeting of Europeans and Texas American Indians. The Karankawa were several bands of coastal people with a shared language and culture who inhabited the Gulf Coast of Texas from Galveston Bay southwestward to Corpus Christi Bay.

Karankawa, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

Estevanico was an enslaved African born Mustafa Zemmouri around 1501. He accompanied Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1528 on a multi-year expedition through present-day Texas. On this expedition he gained great knowledge of the languages spoken by American Indians in the area. In 1539, he was ordered by the Spanish Viceroy to be part of a subsequent expedition. On this expedition he was ultimately killed by Zuni Indians at the Hawiku Pueblo in present-day New Mexico.

Painting of Estavanico. Image courtesy Granger Historical Images

Bartolomé de las Casas was the first priest to be ordained in the Americas. Conscience-stricken by the abuse of American Indians at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, he crusaded on the native peoples' behalf for over five decades. In 1536, de las Casas participated in a debate in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he argued for the American Indians' right to be treated as individuals with dignity and against the Spanish efforts to convert native peoples to both the Catholic faith and the Spanish culture. His blistering work in 1542, A Brief Report on the Destruction of the Indians, convinced King Charles V to outlaw the conversion practices, but riots among land holders in New Spain (Mexico) convinced authorities not to make any changes in their treatment of American Indians.

Finding gold was one objective of Spanish colonization in North America. Following the report of an explorer who claimed to have seen a gold city in the desert, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado organized an expedition that traveled through the Texas Panhandle. Various historical accounts describe the soldiers' astonishment at the Texas landscape, including Palo Duro Canyon, and the huge, hump-backed cows (buffalo) that roamed the grasslands. Coronado never found any gold in the Panhandle, and the expedition returned to Mexico in 1542.

Hernando de Soto led an exploration of the Gulf Coast area from 1539 until his death in present-day Arkansas in 1542. This expedition marked the first European crossing of the Mississippi River. After de Soto's death, Luis de Moscoso led the explorers into East Texas, home of the powerful Caddo Indians, in an attempt to find an overland route back to New Spain (Mexico). Opinions differ as to the exact route the Moscoso expedition took through Texas, but recent scholarship suggests that they traveled south from East Texas toward present-day Nacogdoches and then into the Hill Country before turning back toward the Mississippi River in Arkansas.

Oil springs and tar pits were known to the Texas Indians. They used the oozings to treat rheumatism and skin diseases. Oil was also seen by the Spanish explorers as early as July 1543, when members of the De Soto expedition saw oil floating in the water near Sabine Pass and used it to caulk their boats. Later, settlers used surface oil for axel grease and for lighting and fuel.

Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.

In November, 1552, fifty-four vessels sailed from Spain under the command of Captain-General Bartolomé Carreño. The ships, including six armed vessels, carried cargo and were headed to various parts of the world including New Spain (Mexico) and the Indies. On April 29, 1554, three ships were wrecked in a storm on Padre Island, near present-day Port Mansfield. In the 1960s and 1970s, excavation efforts retrieved thousands of artifacts such as cannons, silver coins, gold bullion, astrolabes, and tools from the wreckage of the San Esteban and the Espiritu Santo. The third sunken ship, the Santa Maria de Yclar, was destroyed during ship channel construction in the 1950s.

The Spanish missionary system was intended to convert American Indians to Christianity and teach them how to live according to Spanish ways. Missionaries often accompanied conquistadors on their explorations in North America. The first missionaries passed through far west Texas in 1581 on their way to the pueblos of New Mexico.

Though unsuccessful in establishing a colony among the Pueblo people, Spanish conquistador Antonio de Espejo left a valuable account of his encounters with the Jumano people of Texas's Big Bend area in 1582 to 1583. The Jumano were trading partners of the Spanish for almost two centuries before famine and war sent their population into a steep decline.

After a difficult march through present-day New Mexico and Texas, conquistador Juan de Oñate and hundreds of settlers finally reached the Rio Grande in April. They were so grateful to have survived the journey that they held what some believe was the first "thanksgiving" feast in what would become the United States. During this stop, Oñate officially claimed all the land drained by the Rio Grande as Spanish territory. With this act, the foundation was laid for two centuries of Spanish control of Texas and the American southwest.

Spanish conquistadors first crossed Texas in search of gold in New Mexico. By 1610, the Spanish had established a capital at Santa Fe. Their primary goals were to convert the American Indians to Christianity and to teach them to live according to Spanish culture. The Spanish crown commissioned Franciscan friars to establish missions. From the pueblos of New Mexico, a few priests began to venture into West Texas.

Almost 50 years after their first encounter, the Jumano were revisited by the Spanish in 1629. This would mark the beginning of their relations with the Spanish. The Jumano lands stretched from northern Mexico to eastern New Mexico to West Texas. Some Jumano lived nomadic lifestyles, while others lived in more permanent houses built of reeds or sticks or of masonry, like the pueblos of New Mexico. The Jumano were renowned for their trading and language skills. In time, these expert traders helped establish trade routes as well as diplomatic relationships among American Indians, the Spanish, and the French.

Jumano, Drawing by Frank Weir.
Image courtesy Texas Beyond History, a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

María de Jesús de Agreda was a nun who lived in Spain and had visions of sharing Christianity with people living in distant lands. Her visions were regarded as religious miracles. She was known as the "Woman in Blue" because of her blue Franciscan clothing. 17th century Spanish explorers describe the Jumano as asking for religious instruction to continue the teachings they had received during "visits" from the Woman in Blue. There is no evidence that Sister María left her convent in Spain to visit the Jumano in west Texas, which adds to the mystery of how the Jumano acquired their knowledge of Christianity before the Spanish arrived in Texas.

Fray Juan de Salas and Fray Diego León were the first Spanish missionaries in Texas. In 1629, they traveled to evangelize the Jumanos. In 1632, Juan de Salas and Juan de Ortega established a mission near present-day San Angelo. They were unable to supply or defend the outpost, and after six months, they were forced to abandon the mission.This arrow point is believed to be of Jumano origin.

Spanish shipwreck survivors under the leadership of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca were the first Europeans to visit "La Junta de Rios," the junction of the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos, near present-day Presidio. Franciscans traveling through La Junta in 1581 performed the first Catholic mass in Texas. In 1670, Franciscans established a mission, but they were expelled after just two years.

Led by the religious leader Po’pay from the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh, Pueblo people revolted against the Spanish colonists and drove them out of present-day New Mexico. After the revolt, Pueblo people began trading the horses they had taken control of. The acquisition of horses, and the ability to travel longer distances more easily, would transform the territorial politics between tribes throughout America.

"Po'pay" by Artist Cliff Fragua, 2005.
Image courtesy Architect of the Capitol.

In 1680, the Pueblo people rose up, killed 400 Spanish colonizers, and drove the remaining 2,000 Spanish out of New Mexico. The village of El Paso became the base of Spanish operations for the next 12 years. During this time, the Franciscans established the first successful missions in the El Paso area: Corpus Christi de Isleta, Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción de Socorro, and San Antonio de Senecú.

The Mayeye, a Tonkawa Tribe, first encountered La Salle and his French colonists in 1687. The Tonkawa belonged to the Tonkawan linguistic family that was once composed of a number of small sub-tribes that lived in present-day Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. The word "tonkawa" is a Waco term meaning "they all stay together." In the years to come the Tonkawa would have changing relationships with the Spanish and the French.

Tancahues, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

In 1683 and 1684, the people of La Junta (near present-day Presidio) petitioned for missionaries to return to their area. Franciscans established two missions, El Apóstol Santiago on Alamito Creek and La Navidad en los Cruces along the Rio Grande. By 1688, these missions were abandoned.

The Spanish began making entradas into Texas in the 1690s. They intended to explore and expand into the far reaches of Spanish territory in order to buffer any encroachment from the French. From 1709 to 1722, the Spanish led roughly seven expeditions from Mexico to Texas. These early explorers brought cattle, sheep, and goats to the Texas frontier.

By 1690, the Spanish realized the need to defend Texas against the French and blazed a network of trails from Mexico City to Louisiana. Missionaries traveled to East Texas along El Camino Real (the King's Highway). The missions of San Francisco de los Tejas and Santísimo Nombre de María were established along the Neches River. By 1693, both missions were abandoned.

Circa 1700 In 1706 Spanish officials in New Mexico documented the presence of numerous Comanches on the northeastern frontier of that province. As the Comanches moved south, they came into conflict with tribes already living on the South Plains, particularly the Apaches, who had dominated the region before the arrival of the Comanches. The Apaches were forced south by the Comanche and the two became mortal enemies.

Plains Indian Girl with Melon, 1851–1857. By Friedrich Richard Petri.
Image courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

From 1700 to 1713, Spain was involved in a European war, and New Spain (Texas) was not a priority. After the war, Franciscans returned to the Presidio area and established two missions, San Cristóbal and Santa María la Redonda de los Cibolos. Missionaries occupied the sites sporadically until the end of the Spanish era in Texas.

On May 1, 1718, the Spanish established a mission-presidio complex approximately midway between the Rio Grande Valley and the missions of East Texas. This was the founding of the city of San Antonio, the most significant Texas settlement of the Spanish era. The mission of San Antonio de Valero, later known as the Alamo, was moved to its present location in 1724.

The Franciscans turned new attention to East Texas beginning in 1716. They established a mission along the Neches River and built three additional missions in Nacogdoches County. In 1719, French troops attacked a nearby Louisiana mission in an event known to history as the Chicken War because it was little more than a raid on a henhouse. Nonetheless, the Spanish withdrew from East Texas for two years.

The Spanish brought cattle to New Spain soon after they began colonization in the 1500s. The first cattle arrived in Texas in the 1690s. By the 1730s, missionaries were operating cattle ranches around San Antonio and Goliad. Within a few decades, individual ranchers like Martin de León began to build large operations. De León had some 5,000 cattle by 1816.

Ranching in Texas originated near San Antonio and Goliad in the 1730s. As the missions continued to fade into decline, individual ranchers became prominent due to generous land grants received from the Spanish Crown. One large ranch resulted from the Cavazos land grant, which was a sprawling 4,605 acres.

The East Texas missions were difficult to supply, staff, and defend, and most lasted only a few years. In 1730, three missions were relocated from East Texas to the site of present-day Austin. The following year, the missions were moved further south to San Antonio.

The first reference to the Comanche in present-day Texas comes in 1743, when a small scouting band appeared in San Antonio looking for their enemies, the Lipan Apache. The Comanches were to become the most dominant people in the area. The name "Comanche" comes from an Ute word that means "enemy." They refer to themselves as the "Nʉmʉnʉʉ" or the "people." The Comanche were originally a Great Plains hunter-gatherer group, but after acquiring horses, they expanded their territory. They became horse experts and migrated into Texas in order to hunt bison and capture the wild horses that roamed the land. They eventually claimed vast areas of north, central, and west Texas as part of "Comancheria."

Comanche Feats of Horsemanship, 1834–1835, by George Catlin.
Image courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.487

Ever since the Spanish arrived in the San Antonio area, the Lipan Apache have been at war with them. When the enemy Comanche arrived to the area, the Apache agreed to a peace treaty with the Spanish. The two buried a hatchet in the ground in a ceremony in San Antonio. This led the Spanish to move forward with plans to build missions in Apache territory.

Spontoon Tomahawk
Image courtesy of Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas

Originally from the area of present-day Kansas, a band of Wichitas moved from Oklahoma and settled along the Red River near present-day Nocona, Texas. They would live there until about 1810, when they gradually returned to present-day Oklahoma. The Wichita called themselves Kitikiti'sh, meaning "raccoon eyes," because the designs of tattoos around the men's eyes resembled the eyes of the raccoon. They lived in villages of dome-shaped grass houses. They farmed extensive fields of corn, tobacco, and melons along the streams where they made their homes and seasonally left their villages for annual hunts.

Wichita paint bag, 1800s.
Courtesy of The Field Museum, Cat. No. 59357

Once the Spanish formed an alliance with the Apaches, expansion of ranching lands became safer. Missions tended to have the best land, which put them in direct competition with the ranchers. Conflicts developed, and lawsuits between missions and ranchers became common at this time.

In 1757, the Spanish established Santa Cruz de San Sabá as a mission to the Apache. The Spanish also hoped to form an alliance with the Apache against the Comanche and allied northern tribes. In March of 1758, over 2,000 Comanche and allied norther tribes staged a massive attack, burning down the mission and killing all but one of the missionaries.

In response to the destruction of Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá, forces of 600 Spanish soldiers attacked the Taovaya (Wichita) village on the Red River. With horses and French weapons, the Wichita were a stronger force than the Spanish. The Spanish were defeated and forced to retreat.

French musket, 1700s.
Image courtesy Red McCombs Collection, Georgetown

The Spanish negotiated a treaty with the Comanche, who agreed not to make war on missionized Apaches. Continued conflicts with Apaches made it impossible for Comanches to keep their promise. This ultimately led Spanish officials to advocate for breaking their alliance with the Apache in favor of a Spanish-Comanche alliance aimed at subduing the Apaches.

Comanches, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

As a result of British colonial expansion from the east, the Alabama and Coushatta Tribes began to migrate from what is now Alabama to the area of Big Thicket in present-day Texas. By 1780 they had moved across the Sabine River into Spanish Texas.

Cutchates, From the Manuscript Collection: Jean Louis Berlandier, 1827 - 1830. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

With the help of the French Governor of Natchitoches, Spain made treaties with Caddo, Wichita, and Tonkawa tribes. One year later, also with the help of a Frenchman, Spain made a treaty at San Antonio with a Comanche band. Other bands, however, continued to raid Spanish settlements.

Comanche War Bonnet, 1946–1970.
Image courtesy Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon

Since they first arrived to the Americas in the early 1500s, European diseases decimated diverse indigenous communities. In 1775 a smallpox epidemic killed hundreds of thousands of Europeans and Native peoples in North America. The virus was carried by people along the trade routes from Mexico City and moved north to Comancheria and farther north to the Shoshone. An estimated 90% of the American Indian population died from epidemics. The deadly diseases greatly shifted the balance of power between American Indians and Europeans.

Detail of Cabello to Croix, reporting smallpox epidemic, 1780.
Image courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

This painting by Francisco Clapera depicts a Spanish father and African mother playing with their son in colonial Mexico. This image exemplifies the Casta system established in Spanish territory by the late 16th century. The Casta system classified any genetic connection with Black Africans as a “stain” on the purity of Spanish blood. This created the classifications of Mulatos (children of Spaniards and Africans) and Mestizos (children of Spaniards and American Indians). Under Spanish law, marriage between the races was legal as long as the individuals were Catholic. It was common in the Spanish colonies for people from different racial groups to intermarry and have families.

Francisco Clapera, De Espanol, y Negra, Mulato, circa 1775 Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2011.428.4 Image courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

According to a newly enacted law, all wild animals and unbranded livestock were the property of the Spanish treasury. The law also established the "Mustang Fund" which imposed a tax on ranchers for all the branded livestock they rounded up.

El Mocho, a Lipan Apache who as a child was captured and adopted by the Tonkawa, became a chief of the Tonkawa after a small pox epidemic killed most of the tribe’s elders. Hoping to free his people from Spanish control, he formed a loose confederacy of groups that included the Tonkawas, the Lipan Apaches, and some Comanches and Caddos.

Hand-colored stone lithograph of a West Lipan Apache warrior sitting astride a horse and carrying a rifle from Emory's United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, Washington, 1857.
Image courtesy Star of the Republic Museum

Trade between Texas and Louisiana had been prohibited early in the 18th century. That ban was lifted in 1779. Ranching became more profitable as Spanish ranchers were able to drive their cattle along the Old San Antonio Road into the French territory of Louisiana. New Orleans soon became a major new market for ranchers.

Shortly after the trade ban was lifted in 1779, the Spanish colonial government reversed their decision because of the surge of smuggling. Since trade with Louisiana was hugely profitable, however, illicit trade continued. In a rare moment of unity, ranchers and missionaries became allies in their opposition to Spain's regulation of trade.

The Comanche accepted a peace deal with the Spanish, allowing Spaniards to travel through their lands. In exchange, Spain offered to help the Comanche in their war with the Apache. Peace between the Spanish and Comanche lasted 30 years. The Comanches were to become the dominate force in the area, both in trade and warfare.

Cabello to Rengel, reporting on visit made to Béxar by Comanche captain to confirm peace treaty, 1785.
Image courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

In 1785, rancher Juan José Flores submitted a document to the Spanish government in Mexico. Known as the San Fernando Memorial, the document argued that unbranded livestock belonged to ranchers since those animals were descended from the ranchers' animals. The government agreed and allowed the ranchers to collect and brand the animals.

Due to the San Fernando Memorial ruling, ranchers and missionaries planned a great round-up in 1787. La Bahia was the only mission to actually participate. As many as 7,000 cattle were captured and branded. This event marked a shift in the balance of power between ranchers and missionaries.

By 1795, ranchers were no longer required to pay the Mustang Fund taxes and were given one tax-free year to round up and brand wild livestock. This change in policy resulted in the increased transportation of cattle to markets in Louisiana and northern Mexico where they were sold for their tallow, hides, and meat.

Cattle herds became severely depleted because of continual predator attacks as well as the increased market demands for cattle products. The cattle industry declined and ranchers turned their money-making efforts toward a new livestock source— wild mustangs.

Cherokees were first reported in Texas in 1807, when a small band established a village on the Red River. American expansion had forced them to the west. They were an agricultural people whose ancestral lands covered much of the southern Appalachian highlands, an area that included parts of Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

In the summer of that year, a delegation of Cherokees, Pascagoulas, Chickasaws, and Shawnees sought permission from Spanish officials in Nacogdoches to settle members of their tribes in that province. The request was approved by Spanish authorities, who intended to use the displaced tribes as a buffer against American expansion.

"Cunne Shote, Cherokee Chief," by Francis Parsons, 1751-1775. Gift of the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, 1955. Courtesy Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa OK

The Transatlantic Slave Trade involved the forced migration of millions of enslaved African peoples to the Americas throughout the 16th to 19th centuries. Although it was banned by Britain and the U.S. in 1808, it did not decrease the role of slavery throughout the South. The widespread trade of enslaved peoples within the South continued, aided by the self-sustaining population of children born into slavery.

Diagram of a slave ship, 1787. Image courtesy British Library, London, England

In 1820, Moses Austin traveled to San Antonio and negotiated permission to settle 300 Anglo American families in Texas, but he died before his plans could be realized. Moses' son, Stephen F. Austin, traveled to Texas to renegotiate his father's grant and to scout land near Brazoria. In December 1821, the younger Austin began bringing the settlers to their new home.

Image courtesy of Star of the Republic of Texas Museum.

In search of new opportunities in the unsettled territory of Tejas, Moses Austin hoped to bring 300 families to the Mexican province in 1820. With the help of Baron de Bastrop, Austin received approval from the Spanish governor to bring settlers into Tejas. Moses Austin died in 1821, however, and his son, Stephen F. Austin, inherited the land grant for 300 families. Austin settled the land near the Brazos and Colorado in 1824.

The Mexican territory of Tejas was opened to settlers on the conditions that they become Mexican citizens, learn Spanish and adopt the Catholic faith. Moses Austin, a founder of America's lead industry, obtained government permission to bring colonists to the territory. He died before the "Texas Venture" began and his son, Stephen, led 300 families on the journey to establish new colonies along the Brazos, Colorado and San Bernard Rivers.

Stephen F. Austin established a settlement of Anglo Americans who found the ranching system in Texas in decline. The ranching knowledge and outstanding roping skills of vaqueros (Mexican cowboys) helped revive and rebuild the flagging ranching industry.

As the people of Mexico began to feel exploited by Spanish colonialism, a series of revolts began in 1801. On September 27, 1821, the Spanish signed a treaty recognizing Mexico's independence. Since Moses Austin had been granted permission by Spain to bring American families to Texas, his son Stephen had to renegotiate the land grant and settlements with the new Mexican government.

In 1822 Cherokee Chief Bowl sent diplomatic chief Richard Fields to Mexico to negotiate with the Mexican government for a grant to land occupied by Cherokees in East Texas. After two years of waiting to receive a grant, Richard Fields tried to unite diverse tribes in Texas into an alliance and began to encourage other displaced tribes to settle in Texas.

Chief Bowl, Courtesy Jenkins Company.
Image courtesy Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. #1/102-661

The Mexican government advised Stephen F. Austin that it would not provide resources to administer or defend the fledgling Tejas colonies. Austin hired ten men to "act as rangers for the common defense" against Indian raids. With that, the legend of the Texas Rangers began.

Mexico established rules for settling colonies in 1824. During this time, they also joined Coahuila and Texas, forming a unified Mexican state "Coahuila y Tejas." With the passage of the Coahuila-Texas colonization law, Mexico encouraged foreign settlers to buy land in the territory with a $30 down payment, without the requirement of paying taxes for ten years after that.

Mexico encouraged Anglo Americans to settle the sparsely-populated Texas territory, both to increase ranching and commerce and to defend against American Indians and aggressive European powers. On March 24, 1825, the Mexican Congress passed colonization laws that stipulated that settlers practice Christianity and take loyalty oaths to the Mexican and state constitutions in order to become citizens.

In 1825, Haden Edwards received a land grant in east Texas for 800 settlers. A dispute for leadership soon broke out in Edwards' colony. He and his allies formed an alliance with the Cherokees and declared the independent republic of Fredonia. Mexican troops restored order, but the incident led Mexico to severely restrict further immigration into Texas from the United States and Europe, a bitter pill for the majority of colonists who had remained peaceable.

Settlers weren't ready to embrace their new Mexican identity upon moving into the country. Largely, they didn't see themselves as Mexican nationals and, in fact, referred to themselves as "Texians." Additionally, many of Austin's settlers came from the American south who brought enslaved African Americans with them, despite Mexico's laws prohibiting slavery. Because of the lack of allegiance to the nation, Mexican officials feared they would lose control of the state. They began encouraging more migration from Mexicans into the area.

Issued by President Vincente R. Guerrero on September 15, 1829, this decree abolished slavery throughout the Republic of Mexico. The news of the decree alarmed Anglo settlers in Texas, who petitioned Guerrero to exempt Texas from the law. The decree was never put into operation, but it made many Anglo settlers worry that their interests were not protected, planting the seeds of revolution.

Decree abolishing slavery in Mexico in 1829. Image courtesy of Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University.

On September 25, 1829, the first issue of the Texas Gazette was published in San Felipe de Austin. Published until 1832, Texas' first newspaper kept settlers informed of news by providing English translations of Mexican government laws and decrees.

Image courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Anglo settlers who arrived in Texas in the 1830s brought with them the skills for farming, but many were enticed by cattle ranching instead. In 1837, Charles Morgan established the first steamship line in Texas to transport Texas cattle from the Gulf of Mexico to markets in New Orleans and the West Indies.

Fearing the possibility of losing control of Texas, Mexico banned further immigration from the United States on April 6, 1830. They encouraged immigration from Mexico and European countries, placed more restrictions on slavery, and increased military presence in the region. This initiative angered Texans, who pushed for statehood and self-rule.

On April 6, 1830, the Mexican government passed several new laws that were very unpopular with the Anglo American settlers. These laws increased the presence of the Mexican military, implemented new taxes, forbade the settlers from bringing more slaves into Texas, and banned new immigration from the United States. The grievances that would lead to the Texas Revolution had begun to accumulate.

Image courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The Mexican army established a garrison at Anahuac to collect tariffs, end smuggling, and enforce the ban on immigration from the United States. Tensions rose to a boil when the fort's commander took in several runaway slaves. The unrest culminated at nearby Velasco when a group of settlers tried to take a cannon from a Mexican fort. At least ten Texans and five Mexican soldiers died in the fighting.

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led a successful revolt against President Bustamante. Texans were initially okay with this development because of Santa Anna's support for the Constitution of 1824, which was very similar to the U.S. Constitution. However, Santa Anna nullified the 1824 Constitution in favor of a more centralized government and was no longer supportive of Texas self-rule.

At the Convention of 1833, 56 Texas delegates drafted a resolution requesting that Mexico roll back many of the changes in Mexican law that took place in 1830. Texans wanted Mexico to allow immigration from the U.S., provide more protection from native peoples, exempt Texans from anti-slavery laws, improve the mail service, and separate Texas from Coahuila. Stephen F. Austin, along with Dr. James B. Miller, presented the proposals to Santa Anna. Austin was imprisoned in Mexico City on suspicion of inciting insurrection. Eventually, the Mexican government repealed the Law of 1830, but would not grant statehood to Texas. Amidst the conflict, thousands upon thousands of Americans were immigrating to Texas.

"War is declared." So wrote Stephen F. Austin after the Battle of Gonzales, when Mexican authorities tried to seize the town's cannon and were met with the now-famous battle cry, "Come and take it!" After Gonzales, the unrest in Texas spiraled out of control. Santa Anna's determination to quell the rebellion would end with the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836 and Texas' independence.

Image courtesy of Daniel Mayer, Creative Commons

Tension grew between Texas and Mexico. Texans, with a growing influx of American settlers, pushed for separate statehood, resulting in many minor skirmishes with Mexico. The first notable battle of the Texas Revolution occurred when Texans at Gonzales refused to return a small cannon lent to them by Mexican authorities. On October 2, Colonel John H. Moore and his company famously rolled out the cannon under a flag that read, “Come and Take It.” The short fight that resulted sparked the beginning of the Revolution. Mexicans retreated, but the battle had just begun.

The provisional Texas government passed a resolution officially creating a corps of over 50 rangers. These Rangers engaged in many skirmishes with American Indians and often joined with the Texian Army in fighting against Mexican troops in what became the opening battles of the Texas Revolution.

A large force of mostly Comanches attacked a private fort built by Silas and James Parker near the upper Navasota River. In the attack Silas and two women were killed. His daughter Cynthia Ann (9), son John (6), and three others were taken by the Comanche. In time Cynthia Ann Parker was fully adopted by the Comanche, eventually becoming a wife of Chief Peta Nocona and the mother of Chief Quanah Parker.

"Cynthia Ann Parker" by William Bridgers, 1861.
Image courtesy DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Written in 1836, the Constitution of the Republic of Texas protected slavery in the new nation. The General Provisions of the Constitution forbade any slave owner from freeing enslaved people without the consent of Congress and forbade Congress from making any law that restricted the slave trade or emancipated the enslaved. This solidified the importance of slavery in Texas from its founding.

Draft of the Republic of Texas Constitution, 1836. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin

The Republic of Texas was born on March 2, 1836, when 58 delegates at Washington-on-the-Brazos signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. The first Texas Congress met at Columbia in the fall of 1836 to set the border with Mexico at the Rio Grande, a decision based on an aggressive interpretation of the Louisiana Purchase. The river remained under the control of Mexico, however, as the Mexican government did not recognize Texas' independence.

Image courtesy of Svalbertian, Creative Commons

On March 1, 59 delegates held the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos. There they drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence and adopted it on March 2. During the Convention, delegates also drafted the Texas Constitution, outlining their plan for the new Republic. This took place only a month after Santa Anna entered Texas with his army of 6,000 men. Mexico’s army vastly outnumbered the Texas rebels.

The Gonzales Ranging Company answered William B. Travis' impassioned letter asking for reinforcements to defend the Alamo. Thirty-two Rangers reached the fort on March 1. On March 6, all 32 Rangers died. This single troop loss accounted for 20% of all Alamo battle losses. These Rangers are now known in history as the "Immortal 32."

Merely declaring independence was a long way from winning the revolution. On March 6, 1836, Santa Anna led an attack on the Alamo. Under the command of William B. Travis and James Bowie, Texas rebels fought a fierce battle against the Mexican army. Casualties were high on both sides, but Santa Anna’s army ultimately triumphed. The defenders of the Alamo were killed in the attack, including famed frontiersman and former U.S. Congressman David Crockett. Those who did survive were captured and executed by Santa Anna’s troops. News of the defeat spread to Gonzales, where Sam Houston had formed an army. Feeling unprepared for the advancing army, Houston ordered Gonzales be evacuated and burned. The month-long flight, where evacuees headed east with news of Santa Anna’s advance, is known as “The Runaway Scrape.” In Goliad, Colonel James Fannin had been ordered to abandon his position to join Texas forces with General Houston however, he remained at the fort at Goliad. They fought the Mexican Army at the Battle of Coleto, but faced the same fate as the soldiers at the Alamo. They were defeated, and the Santa Anna gave the order to have Fannin's captured army executed.

Independence seemed out of reach after the Alamo and Goliad. General Houston drew criticism for not having yet attacked Santa Anna's advancing army. Ordered to stop his retreat by ad interim President David G. Burnet, Houston returned west, receiving word that Santa Anna's army was encamped on the west side of the Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River, inside the present-day city limits of Houston. At 3:30 p.m. on April 21, outnumbered and facing impossible odds, Houston ordered the attack on Mexican army. With shouts of "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!", the ragtag militia descended upon the Mexican army. It is widely believed Santa Anna and his soldiers were indulging in an afternoon siesta and therefore were not ready to face the attack, which lasted approximately 18 minutes. Nine Texans were killed, and 630 Mexicans lost their lives. Santa Anna was captured after the battle. And so began the Republic of Texas.

In September of 1836, the citizens of the new Republic of Texas quickly elected Sam Houston as their first president, and Mirabeau B. Lamar as vice president. Houston appointed Stephen F. Austin to be Secretary of State. Austin died in office on December 27, 1836, at the age of 43.

Greenberry Logan was a free person of color who arrived in Texas in 1831. He fought and was injured at the Siege of Bexar (December 1835). Despite his military service, the Texas Constitution sought to remove all free persons of color unless they obtained permission from Congress to continue living in Texas. Logan and his wife Caroline submitted their petition to remain in March 1837, asking that they “might be allowed the privilege of spending the remainder of [their] days in quiet and peace.” Congress honored their request.

Greenberry Logan’s petition to remain in Texas, March 13, 1837. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin.

The Texas Legislature passed an act authorizing Rangers to employ the services of "friendly" American Indian tribes as scouts and spies. Flacco, a Lipan Apache chief, served under Ranger John (Jack) Coffee Hays in 1841 and 1842. Hays later credited Flacco with saving his life in more than one battle with the Comanches.

The second president of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, took over a bankrupt and lawless country. Driven by a vision of future greatness, Lamar ruthlessly drove the Cherokee from Texas, waged war with the Comanche, and undertook a disastrous expedition to open a trade route to Santa Fe. He also founded a new capital in Austin and laid the foundation that would one day create schools, colleges, and world-famous universities.

Image courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Under the second president of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, the capital was relocated to Austin. Many in Congress believed that Houston was too far from the original Texas settlements, so the commission surveyed land north of San Antonio between the Trinity and Colorado Rivers. Lamar set up a commission to begin researching potential locations for the new capital. They ultimately chose the village of Waterloo and changed the name to Austin to honor the legacy of Stephen F. Austin.

Land was cheap— $.50 an acre compared to $1.25 in the U.S.— but settlement was difficult in the rugged and dangerous Republic of Texas. As a result, land sales attracted more speculators than actual settlers. To encourage settlement, the Texas Congress passed a homestead law. President Sam Houston opposed the bill because of rampant fraud and illegal claims on land titles, and kept the General Land Office closed throughout his term.

Image courtesy of Texas General Land Office

The flag you know today as the official State flag of Texas was adopted in January of 1839 as the official flag of the Republic of Texas.

Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar ordered the expulsion or extermination of all American Indian tribes. In the Battle of the Neches, near present-day Tyler, Cherokees were defeated in their attempt to retain land granted to them by a previous state treaty. Cherokee Chief Bowles died clutching a sword given to him by his close friend, Sam Houston.

Image courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

In the 1840s, during the Republic of Texas era, individual ranchers organized cattle drives to New Orleans. They also established the Shawnee Trail to Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, where they could place the cattle on rail cars to be transported to the big markets in New York and Philadelphia.

President Lamar ordered the Rangers to attack Comanche villages in his campaign to drive American Indians out of Texas. War chiefs agreed to peace negotiations with the Rangers at Council House in San Antonio. At the talks, the Comanches entered with an injured hostage and demanded more money for the remaining hostages. Soon bullets and arrows flew. Six Texans and many Comanche war chiefs, women, and children died. The stage was set for the Battle of Plum Creek.

John (Jack) Coffee Hays led a company of Rangers toward Plum Creek. Word had spread of raiding Comanches seeking retribution for the Council House massacre. The Comanches reached Kelly Springs where their war chief, wearing a stovepipe hat and carrying a lady's parasol taken from a Linnville warehouse, was killed immediately. Fierce fighting continued along the San Marcos River with 150 Comanches killed.

Zylpha “Zelia” Husk emigrated to Texas by 1838 from Alabama and worked as a laundress in Houston. In 1840, Texas passed an Act Concerning Free Persons of Color that ordered all free Black people living in Texas to leave within two years unless granted an exemption by Congress. Husk petitioned the Republic for permanent residency in 1841. Fifty different white residents from Harris County testified that “we have known Zelp[ha] Husk for at least two or three years as a free woman of color, … she has conducted herself well and earned her living by honest industry.”

Zylpha Husk’s petition to remain in the Republic of Texas, December 16, 1841. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin.

When Texas sought recognition from Great Britain as a sovereign nation, they signed a treaty to suppress the transatlantic slave trade. They mutually agreed that the Royal Navy and Texas Navy could detain and search each other’s ships for enslaved Africans or equipment typically found on a slave-trading vessel. This included shackles, hatches with open gratings, larger quantities of water and food than what the crew needed, and spare planking for laying down a slave deck. If ships were found with any of these things, their crews could be found guilty of illegally participating in the African slave trade.

Treaty Between Great Britain and Texas to Suppress the Slave Trade, 1842. Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin

On March 28, 1843, a number of Indian tribes including the Caddos, Delawares, Wacos, Tawakonis, Lipan Apaches, and Tonkawas attended the first council between the Tribes and Texas officials on Tehuacana Creek just south of present-day Waco.

Minutes of Indian Council at Tehuacana Creek, March 28, 1843, Texas Indian Papers, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

In 1836, the Republic of Texas voted in favor of annexation by the United States, but the U.S. wasn't interested because of concerns over the Republic's pro-slavery stance and an impending war with Mexico. By 1843, with the threat of British involvement in the Texas issue, U.S. President John Tyler proposed annexation. Texas drew up a state constitution in October 1845 and was admitted as the 28th U.S. state by the end of the year.

Texas' annexation to the United States was blocked over concern about slavery and debt. James K. Polk was elected President of the United States in 1844 on a promise to annex Texas (slave state) and the Oregon Territory (free state). The final obstacle to annexation was removed when Texas was allowed to keep its public lands to pay off its debt. Texas became the 28th U.S. state on December 29, 1845.

Image courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Head chiefs for the Comanche including Buffalo Hump, Santa Anna, and others signed a treaty with John O. Meusebach, who acted on behalf of German settlers. The treaty allowed settlers to travel into Comancheria and for the Comanche to go to the white settlements. More than three million acres of land opened up to settlement as a result.

1972/141, Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Almost ten years after winning independence from Mexico, and after a long and controversial diplomatic struggle, Texas was annexed to the United States under the administration of President James Polk.

The annexation of Texas bolstered westward expansion of the United States. Settlers moved to Texas in droves. President Polk defined the border between Texas and Mexico at the Rio Grande, but Mexico did not agree. Diplomatic solutions failed. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to position troops along the north bank of the Rio Grande to protect the Texas boundary. The Mexican government saw this as an invasion and thus an act of war, resulting in the Battle of Palo Alto in Brownsville on May 8, 1846—the first major battle of the U.S.-Mexican War. War was officially declared by U.S. Congress on May 13.

On February 2, 1848, the U.S.-Mexican War was brought to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The treaty established boundaries between the United States and Mexico, with Mexico officially recognizing Texas as a part of the United States. Additionally, the treaty included the acquisition of Mexico's northern territory—which included California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, as well as parts of Wyoming and Colorado—for $15 million. The United States added more than 25% of its present day size, and Mexico lost over half its land as a result of the treaty.

"Four newly raised ranging companies, have all been organized, and taken their several stations on our frontier. We know they are true men and they know exactly what they are about. With many of them, Indian and Mexican fighting has been their trade for years. That they may be permanently retained in the service on our frontier is extremely desirable."

- Victoria Advocate newspaper

When the California gold rush began in 1849, Texas ranchers organized cattle drives to provide food for the "Forty-Niners." The drives left from San Antonio and Fredericksburg and took a perilous six-month journey through El Paso to San Diego and Los Angeles. The California cattle drives ended after the market there went bust in 1857.

On December 10, 1850, representatives from the U.S. government and the southern Comanche, Lipan Apache, Caddo, Quapaw, and various Wichita bands met for treaty negotiations at the Spring Creek Council Grounds. The tribal representatives agreed to stay west of the Colorado River and north of the Llano River, to abide by U.S. laws, and to turn over fugitive enslaved people and individuals being held as prisoners. The agent for the U.S. agreed to regulate traders in American Indian territory, establish at least one trade house, and send blacksmiths and teachers to live with the tribes.

This stone is one of two placed at the meeting site near Fort Martin Scott in Fredericksburg to commemorate the signing of the treaty. However, the treaty was not ratified by the U.S. government and neither side honored its provisions.

Treaty Stone, 1850.
Courtesy Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

As the United States grew, so did the need for a more reliable transportation system. Travel was difficult in antebellum Texas, worsened by the expansive and unforgiving terrain in the west. Businesses also needed a way to ship their goods through the expanding area. This prompted the construction of the first railroad in Texas, which opened in 1853. Known as the "Harrisburg Railroad," the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado Railway ran about 20 miles from Harrisburg to Stafford's Point.

On October 29, 1853, Alabama Chief Antone, the tribal subchiefs, and prominent citizens of Polk County presented a petition to the Texas legislature requesting land for a reservation. In part to thank the tribes for their support of the Texas Revolution in 1836, the petition was approved. The State of Texas purchased 1,110.7 acres of land for the Alabama Indian reservation. About 500 tribe members settled on this land during the winter of
1854–55. In 1855 the Texas legislature appropriated funds to purchase 640 acres for the Coushattas.

J. De Cordova's Map of the State of Texas Compiled from the records of the General Land Office of the State, New York: J. H. Cotton, 1857, Map #93984, Rees-Jones Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Upper and Lower Brazos Reservation was created in northern Texas. About 2,000 Caddo, Keechi, Waco, Delaware, Tonkawa, and Penateka Comanche, lived on the reservation. Five years later, attacks by white settlers and encroachments on the reservation resulted in the diverse tribes being forcibly removed to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.

J. De Cordova's Map of the State of Texas Compiled from the records of the General Land Office of the State, New York: J. H. Cotton, 1857, Map #93984, Rees-Jones Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

Modern communication is something we all take for granted, but 19th-century Texans weren't so lucky. In 1854, the Texas and Red River Telegraph Company established service in Marshall, connecting to parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. By 1866, over 1500 miles of wire connected Texas.

As the number of settlers to Texas increased, so did the number of attacks as the Americans Indians were driven off their tribal lands. Texas Governor Hardin Runnels appropriated $70,000 to fund a force of 100 Rangers led by the legendary Senior Captain John "RIP" Ford. The Rangers spent the next several years fighting pitched battles with American Indian tribes as well as Mexican soldiers.

In the 1860s, the center of Texas cattle ranching shifted from South Texas to the frontier northwest of Fort Worth. Here settlers from Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, and Arkansas established new ranches in the rough brush country. These settlers, many of whom opposed secession, faced vigilante violence during the Civil War, but eventually expanded the cattle business into a true industry.

The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 prompted the secession of Southern, slave-holding states. The majority of Texans feared the election of a Republican would threaten slavery, which they believed was a vital part of the economy of the young state. Not all Texans bought into the idea of secession, most notably Sam Houston, the Unionist governor of the state. Although Houston himself was a slave-owner and opposed abolition, he actively worked to keep the state from seceding. However, the State Legislature voted in favor of an Ordinance of Secession on February 23, 1861. Governor Houston was evicted from office when he refused to take an oath to the Confederacy. Houston was replaced by Lieutenant Governor Edward Clark. This would mark the beginning of a long, bloody battle between the North and South. The Union would prove victorious four years later.

By a vote of 166 to 8, the Secession Convention of Texas voted to withdraw from the Union. Independence was declared on March 2, and on March 5, Texas joined the Confederate States of America. Governor Sam Houston refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy. When the Convention removed him from office on March 16, Houston's political career was over. The statesman retired to Huntsville where he died two years later.

All able-bodied men were required to report for service to the Confederate Army. This left many Texas colonies and forts with no defense from continual Comanche and Kiowa raids. The Texas Legislature passed an act authorizing the formation of the Frontier Regiment. These Rangers patrolled 18 forts located along a 500-mile line from the Red River to the Rio Grande. By 1863, all Frontier Regiment Rangers were drafted into the Confederate Army.

Early in the Civil War, Texas ranchers supplied the Confederate army with beef. Federal troops seized control of the Mississippi River and New Orleans in 1863, cutting Texas off from its southern markets. With most men involved in the war, cattle were left to roam. By 1865, there were thousands of unbranded "maverick" cattle throughout the state.

Large-scale cattle raids by Comanche became common with attacks in Cooke, Denton, Montague, Parker, and Wise counties. In December, some 300 Comanches attacked settlements in Montague and Cooke counties and escaped after driving off soldiers from the Frontier Regiment.

Saddle pad, 1870s
Image courtesy Heritage Society, Houston, Gift of Mrs. Herman P. Pressler

U.S. Army Col. Kit Carson led 350 California and New Mexico volunteer cavalry against Comanche and Kiowa camps near the abandoned "Adobe Walls" trading post in the Texas Panhandle. After a battle of several hours, Carson and his troops narrowly escaped, outnumbered by about 1,400 Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache warriors.

The Freedman's Bureau was a federal agency created to assist African Americans in the South with their transition to freedom following the Civil War. It was established by Congress in March 1865 as a branch of the United States Army and operated in Texas from late September 1865 until July 1870. The agency assisted newly freed African Americans with legal matters, education, and employment. The Bureau was also tasked with curbing the violence inflicted upon African Americans, especially by the KKK, a newly founded hate group.

Illustration of The Freedmen's Bureau distributing rations

On June 19, 1865, federal authority was established in Texas when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston. Granger proclaimed the end of slavery for 250,000 African Americans as well as the end of the Confederacy. "Juneteenth," celebrating that declaration of emancipation, was declared an official holiday in the state of Texas in 1980.

The economic devastation of the South after the Civil War meant Texas ranchers had to look elsewhere for profitable markets. In the North and East, cattle that were worth just $4 a head in Texas could be sold for $40. The challenge was getting them there. Cow folk and their cattle traveled the famed Chisholm Trail that crossed the Red River and headed into Kansas in order to reach the rail heads that could take the cattle to market.

The Army Reorganization Act authorized Congress to form the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantry units. The soldiers signed up for five years and received three meals a day, a uniform, an education and $13.00 a month pay. These African American troops become known as "Buffalo Soldiers" because of their bravery in battles against Native Americans. The term eventually became a reference for all African American soldiers.

Buffalo Soldiers: The Unknown Army

Cathay Williams was a cook for the Union Army. When the Civil War ended, Cathay needed to support herself. She signed up with the 25th Infantry Buffalo Soldiers as William Cathay. When she was hospitalized, the doctor discovered her secret. On October 14, 1868, "William Cathay" was declared unfit for duty and honorably discharged. In 1891, Cathay applied for a military pension, but was denied because women weren't eligible to be soldiers.

885 men of the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers regiment took up stations at Fort Stockton and Fort Davis. When not engaged in skirmishes with the Apache and Comanche Indians, the soldiers guarded civilian and government stagecoaches traveling along the San Antonio to El Paso road.

Fort Lancaster 9th Cavalry Company K soldiers were moving their horses to pasture. 400 Kickapoo Indians advanced toward the fort. The Buffalo Soldiers scurried to fire at the invaders while herding their valuable horses back toward the fort's corral. Bullets and arrows flew throughout the night. By the time the battle ended the next morning, Company K had lost 38 cavalry horses and two soldiers to the Kickapoo.

Pennsylvania-born Mifflin Kenedy began sheep ranching in Texas after the Mexican-American War of 1846. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Kenedy made his move into cattle ranching with the purchase of Laureles Ranch near Corpus Christi. Kenedy fenced his ranch with smooth wire in 1869, marking the beginning of enclosed ranching in Texas. In 1907, Laureles was incorporated into the mighty King Ranch.

After the Civil War, the United States entered the era of Reconstruction, during which former Confederate States had to meet certain conditions for readmission into the Union. This included recognizing the U.S. constitutional amendments that ended slavery and rewriting their state constitutions. Nine African Americans were delegates to the 1868 Constitutional Convention. One of these delegates, George T. Ruby was elected to the Texas Senate a year later, becoming the first African American to serve in the legislature. Texas was readmitted to the United States on March 30, 1870.

Hyrum Wilson and several others between 1869 and 1872 owned and operated a pottery company on land granted to them by their former enslaver, John Wilson. Years of experience in John Wilson’s pottery shop provided the newly freed men the knowledge and skills needed to establish and operate their own pottery company. The enterprise’s success provided a livelihood for the potters that differed from sharecropping and tenant farming, both of which tied African Americans to landowners in a manner much like slavery.

George T. Ruby (left) and Matthew Gaines (right). 1/151-1. Courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission

When the Twelfth Provisional Legislature began in February 1870, it included Texas’s first two African American legislators. Elected in 1869 to serve in the Texas Senate were George T. Ruby, a former Freedmen’s Bureau agent originally from New York, and Matthew Gaines, a Baptist preacher. Together, these men pushed for resolutions to protect African American voters and supported bills for public education and prison reform.

George T. Ruby (left) and Matthew Gaines (right). Image courtesy Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin.

The original four infantry units of Buffalo Soldiers were reorganized into two regiments. The original 38th and 41st regiments became the 24th regiment, and the 39th and 40th were combined to become the 25th regiment. From that point on, the Buffalo Soldiers troops were comprised of the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments and the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments.

A new technique for tanning bison hides became commercially available. In response, commercial hunters began systematically targeting bison for the first time. Once numbering in the tens of millions, the bison population plummeted. By 1878, the American Bison were all but extinct. This was a terrible blow to the American Indians whose livelihood depended on the bison and to whom the bison is a sacred animal.

Pile of buffalo hides obtained from hunting expeditions in western Kansas, April 4, 1874.
Image courtesy Kansas Historical Society

Following the end of the Civil War, the cattle industry began to rebound. Cattle were turned loose in south Texas and their populations rapidly increased. With cattle numbers on the rise again, ranchers drove their herds toward the new markets in the northern U.S. The cattle industry in Texas was back and booming.

During Reconstruction, southern states were required to nullify acts of secession, abolish slavery, and ratify the 13th Amendment in order to be readmitted to the Union. Texas balked on the slavery issue, which prompted Congress to require that the Texas Legislature also pass the 14th and 15th Amendments before being considered for readmission. When Texas finally met all conditions, President Ulysses S. Grant readmitted Texas to the United States.

Sergeant Emmanuel Stance of the 9th Cavalry left Fort McKavett to rescue two children captured in an Apache raid. Stance and his men fought off the Apaches multiple times. Both children and over a dozen stolen horses were recovered. For his valor, Stance was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and became the first African American soldier to win the country's highest civilian medal in the post-Civil War period.

Under the command of General William T. Sherman, the 10th Cavalry conducted an inspection tour of Texas frontier to determine the safety of white settlers against Indian threats. They traveled over 34,000 miles, mapping significant geographical features as they went. The information they gathered was used to develop highly detailed maps of the unsettled territory.

Kiowas and Comanche attacked a freight wagon train on the Salt Creek Prairie of Young County and killed the wagon master and seven teamsters. In response U.S. Army Gen. Sherman ordered operations to arrest any Comanche and Kiowa found away from their reservation. Chiefs Satank, Satanta, and Big Tree were arrested and put on trial. They were the first Native American leaders to be tried for raids in a U.S. Court.

Photograph 518901, "White Bear (Sa-tan-ta), a Kiowa chief full-length, seated, holding bow and arrows" William S. Soule Photographs of Arapaho, Cheyenna, Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Indians, 1868 - 1875 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793 - 1999 National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

In 1871, Ransom and Sarah Williams purchased 45 acres in southern Travis County, despite the discriminatory labor practices that kept most African Americans from earning enough money to purchase land. The Williams family supported themselves by raising horses and farming. Objects left behind at the farmstead show that the family was successful enough to have money to spend on toys, costume jewelry, manufactured dish sets imported from England, and mass-produced patent medicines and extracts.

Transfer-printed whiteware saucer owned by the Williams family (reconstructed), c. 1875–1897. Image courtesy Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin.

While on an expedition to the Llano Estacado, US Cavalry companies and Tonkawa scouts attacked a Comanche village on the North Fork of the Red River. About 13 women and children and their horse herd of some 800 animals were captured. Three soldiers were killed and seven wounded. The Comanche suffered 50 killed and seven wounded. The prisoners were sent to Fort Sill in Indian Territory.

Johnson, Chief of Tonkawa Scouts, United States Army, 1870–1875.
Image courtesy DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

As the United States recovered from the Civil War, the nation's industrial capacity developed at a revolutionary pace. The overheated economy crashed in the Panic of 1873, causing the value of cattle to plummet. The resulting depression caused many cattle ranchers to go bankrupt and temporarily sidelined the industry.

Six companies of the 4th Cavalry, along with 24 Black-Seminole scouts led by Lt. John Bullis, crossed the Rio Grande and attacked a village of Lipan and Kickapoo near Remolino, Mexico. The survivors were deported to the Mescalero Reservation in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico.

A Black Seminole regiment, c. 1885. Image courtesy Archives of the Big Bend, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas.

Black troops in the U.S. Army were stationed throughout Texas, the Southwest, and the Great Plains. They were given the name "Buffalo Soldiers" by Native Americans. Four regiments served in Texas: the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the 24th and 25th Infantry. The Buffalo Soldiers participated in many frontier campaigns and were responsible for a variety of military tasks, including building roads and escorting mail parties through the frontier.

Beginning in 1868, a series of patents was issued to several inventors for strong, mass-produced fencing made from interlocking strands of wire, outfitted with sharp barbs that discouraged even the toughest cattle from muscling through it. In 1876, two salesman demonstrated barbed wire in the Alamo Plaza in San Antonio. Within a few years, the simple, revolutionary invention had ended the open range.

By the winter of 1873‒1874, the Southern Plains Indians were in crisis. The reduction of the buffalo herds combined with increasing numbers of settlers and military patrols had put them in an unsustainable position. Led by Isa-tai and Quanah Parker, 250 warriors on June 27th attacked a small outpost of buffalo hunters at Adobe Walls in the Texas Panhandle. This would start the Red River (or Buffalo) War.

Red River War Kiowa Prisoners, Fort Marion, Florida, c.1875. Kiowas.
Image courtesy Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Alex Sweet, editor of the nationally-circulated humor magazine Texas Siftings, wrote in 1882: "The Rangers have done more to suppress lawlessness, to capture criminals, and to prevent Mexican and Indian raids on the frontier, than any other agency employed by either the State or national government."

The U.S. Army began a campaign to remove all Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, and Arapaho from the southwest plains and relocate them to reservations in Indian Territory. Led by Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, the Indian tribes fought one last battle for their native lands. The U.S. Army, including all regiments of the Buffalo Soldiers, engaged the Indians in over 20 battles from 1874 to 1875 in the Texas panhandle around the Red River.

The cattle drives faced the constant threat of attack by American Indians. In a series of battles known as the Red River War, the U.S. Army defeated a large force of Kiowa, Cheyenne, and Comanche at Palo Duro Canyon, by capturing and killing their horses. Without their ability to make war, the Indians were forced to relocate to reservations in Oklahoma, opening up the Staked Plains to cattle ranching.

The Red River War officially ended in June 1875 when Quanah Parker and his band of Quahadi Comanche entered Fort Sill and surrendered. They were the last large band in Texas. The United States had now defeated the unified Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Kiowa and forcibly confined them to reservations.

Photograph 530911, "Quanah Parker, a Kwahadi Comanche chief full-length, standing in front of tent" Photographs of American Military Activities, ca. 1918 - ca. 1981 Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985 National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

Created in 1876 as a result of legislation in Texas that mandated higher education opportunities for African Americans, Prairie View A&M became the first state supported institution of higher learning for African Americans in Texas. The school’s original curriculum was the training of teachers, but in 1887 it expanded to include agriculture, nursing, arts and sciences, and mechanical arts, and by 1932, the college initiated graduate programs in agricultural economics, rural education, agricultural education, and rural sociology.

Birds-eye view of Prairie View State Normal College, ca. 1900. Image courtesy of Prairie View A&M University, Special Collections/Archives Department, Prairie View, TX

Since Texas gained independence from Mexico in 1836, the Texas Constitution has undergone five revisions. The Constitution of 1876 was the sixth revision of the document and established the foundation for the law still in effect in Texas today. The 1875 constitution, in part a reaction to Reconstruction, shortened terms and lowered salaries of elected officials, decentralized control of public education, limited powers of both the legislature and governor, and provided biennial legislative sessions. The new constitution also created the University of Texas and confirmed the creation of Texas A&M, setting aside one million acres of land for the Permanent University Fund.

Henry O. Flipper was the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.


16,700-Year-Old Tools Found in Texas Change Known History of North America - History

Tobacco is a plant that grows natively in North and South America. It is in the same family as the potato, pepper and the poisonous nightshade, a very deadly plant.

The seed of a tobacco plant is very small. A 1 ounce sample contains about 300,000 seeds!

It is believed that Tobacco began growing in the Americas about 6,000 B.C.!

As early as 1 B.C., American Indians began using tobacco in many different ways, such as in religious and medicinal practices.


The New World Discovered

On October 15, 1492, Christopher Columbus was offered dried tobacco leaves as a gift from the American Indians that he encountered.

Soon after, sailors brought tobacco back to Europe, and the plant was being grown all over Europe.

The major reason for tobacco's growing popularity in Europe was its supposed healing properties. Europeans believed that tobacco could cure almost anything, from bad breath to cancer!

In 1571, A Spanish doctor named Nicolas Monardes wrote a book about the history of medicinal plants of the new world. In this he claimed that tobacco could cure 36 health problems.

In 1588, A Virginian named Thomas Harriet promoted smoking tobacco as a viable way to get one's daily dose of tobacco. Unfortunately, he died of nose cancer (because it was popular then to breathe the smoke out through the nose).

During the 1600's, tobacco was so popular that it was frequently used as money! Tobacco was literally "as good as gold!"

This was also a time when some of the dangerous effects of smoking tobacco were being realized by some individuals. In 1610 Sir Francis Bacon noted that trying to quit the bad habit was really hard!

In 1632, 12 years after the Mayflower arrived on Plymouth Rock, it was illegal to smoke publicly in Massachusetts! This had more to do with the moral beliefs of the day, than health concerns about smoking tobacco.


Tobacco: A Growth Industry

In 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, tobacco helped finance the revolution by serving as collateral for loans the Americans borrowed from France!

Over the years, more and more scientists begin to understand the chemicals in tobacco, as well as the dangerous health effects smoking produces.

In 1826, the pure form of nicotine is finally discovered. Soon after, scientists conclude that nicotine is a dangerous poison.

In 1836, New Englander Samuel Green stated that tobacco is an insecticide, a poison, and can kill a man.

In 1847, the famous Phillip Morris is established, selling hand rolled Turkish cigarettes. Soon after in 1849, J.E. Liggett and Brother is established in St. Louis, Mo. (The company that has settled out of the big lawsuits recently).

Cigarettes became popular around this time when soldiers brought it back to England from the Russian and Turkish soldiers.

Cigarettes in the U.S. were mainly made from scraps left over after the production of other tobacco products, especially chewing tobacco. Chewing tobacco became quite popular at this time with the "cowboys" of the American west.

In 1875, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (better known for its Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil) was established to produce chewing tobacco.

It wasn't until the 1900's that the cigarette became the major tobacco product made and sold. Still, in 1901 3.5 billion cigarettes were sold, while 6 billion cigars were sold.

In 1902, the British Phillip Morris sets up a New York headquarters to market its cigarettes, including a now famous Marlboro brand.

Along with the popularity of cigarettes, however, was a small but growing anti-tobacco campaign, with some states proposing a total ban on tobacco.


War & Cigarettes: A Deadly Combo

The use of cigarette exploded during World War I (1914-1918), where cigarettes were called the "soldier's smoke".

By 1923, Camel controls 45% of the U.S. market! In 1924, Phillip Morris begins to market Marlboro as a woman's cigarette that is a "Mild as May"!

To battle this, American Tobacco Company, maker of the Lucky Strike brand, begins to market its cigarette to women and gains 38% of the market. Smoking rates among female teenagers soon triple during the years between 1925-1935!

In 1939, American Tobacco Company introduces a new brand, Pall Mall, which allows American to become the largest tobacco company in the U.S.!

During World War II (1939-1945), cigarette sales are at an all time high. Cigarettes were included in a soldier's C-Rations (like food!). Tobacco companies sent millions of cigarettes to the soldiers for free, and when these soldiers came home, the companies had a steady stream of loyal customers.

During the 1950's, more and more evidence was surfacing that smoking was linked to lung cancer. Although the tobacco industry denied such health hazards, they promoted new products which were "safer", such as those with lower tar and filtered cigarettes.

In 1952 P. Lorillard markets its Kent brand with the "micronite" filter, which contained asbestos! This was fortunately discontinued in 1956.

In 1953, Dr. Ernst L. Wynders finds that putting cigarette tar on the backs of mice causes tumors!

In 1964, the Surgeon General's report on "Smoking and Health" came out. This report assisted in allowing the government to regulate the advertisement and sales of cigarettes. The 1960's in general was a time when much of the health hazards of smoking were reported.

In 1965, television cigarette ads are taken off the air in Great Britain.

In 1966, those health warnings on cigarette packs begin popping up.

In 1968, Bravo, a non-tobacco cigarette brand was marketed. Made primarily of lettuce, it failed miserably!

Because of the negative press about tobacco, the major tobacco companies begin to diversify their products. Phillip Morris begins to buy into the Miller Brewing Company, makers of Miller Beer, Miller Lite, and Red Dog Beer. RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company drops the "Tobacco Company" in its name, and becomes RJ Reynolds Industries. It also begins to buy into other products, such as aluminum. American Tobacco Company also drops "Tobacco" from its name, becoming American Brands, Inc.

In 1971, television ads for cigarettes are finally taken off the air in the U.S. Cigarettes, however, are still the most heavily advertised product second to automobiles!

In 1977, the first national Great American Smokeout takes place.

During the 1980's there were many lawsuits filed against the tobacco industry because of the harmful effects of its products. Smoking becomes politically incorrect, with more public places forbidding smoking.

In 1982, the Surgeon General reports that second hand smoke may cause lung cancer. Smoking in public areas are soon restricted, especially at the workplace.

In 1985, lung cancer became the #1 killer of women, beating out breast cancer!

Phillip Morris continues to diversify into other products, buying into General Foods Corporation and Kraft Inc in 1985. R Reynolds, also diversifies, buying Nabisco (of Oreo fame) and becoming RJR/Nabisco.

In 1987, Congress bands smoking on all domestic flights lasting less than 2 hours. In 1990, Smoking is banned on all domestic flights, except to Alaska and Hawaii.

In 1990, Ben & Jerry's (of ice cream fame) boycotts RJR/Nabisco, and drops Oreos from its ice cream products.

During the 80's and 90's, the tobacco industry starts marketing heavily in areas outside the U.S., especially developing countries in Asia. Marlboro is considered the word's No. 1 most valuable brand of any product with a value over $30 billion! Over this period, there is a battle between Coca Cola and Marlboro as the No. 1 brand in the world!

In recent, years, there is growing evidence that the tobacco industry has known all along that cigarettes are harmful, but continued to market and sell them. There is also evidence that they knew that nicotine was addictive and exploited this hidden knowledge to get millions of people hooked on this dangerous habit!


Political Advancement

With the implementation of national Reconstruction, African Americans became more involved in state political processes, and some black men, including G.T. Ruby and Matthew Gaines, served in the Texas Legislature.

Starting with the election of nine African American delegates to a state constitutional convention in 1868, African American men began a brief period of political engagement. George T. Ruby, a former Freedmen&rsquos Bureau agent originally from New York, was a particularly prominent black voice in Texas politics, serving in the Texas Legislature from 1870 until 1874. Matthew Gaines, formerly enslaved in Fredericksburg, Texas, was a Baptist minister who served as the Senator from the Sixteenth District in the Texas Legislature during Reconstruction. Both Gaines and Ruby advocated for the rights of freedpeople during their tenures in office, and both were forced to relinquish their seats after Texas Democrats (the party then ruled by former slaveowners) regained political power.


Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Humans’ Arrival in the Americas

SERRA DA CAPIVARA NATIONAL PARK, Brazil — Niede Guidon still remembers her astonishment when she glimpsed the paintings.

Preserved amid the bromeliad-encrusted plateaus that tower over the thorn forests of northeast Brazil, the ancient rock art depicts fierce battles among tribesmen, orgiastic scenes of prehistoric revelry and hunters pursuing their game, spears in hand.

“These were stunning compositions, people and animals together, not just figures alone,” said Dr. Guidon, 81, remembering what first lured her and other archaeologists in the 1970s to this remote site where jaguars still prowl.

Hidden in the rock shelters where prehistoric humans once lived, the paintings number in the thousands. Some are thought to be more than 9,000 years old and perhaps even far more ancient. Painted in red ocher, they rank among the most revealing testaments anywhere in the Americas to what life was like millenniums before the European conquest began a mere five centuries ago.

But it is what excavators found when they started digging in the shadows of the rock art that is contributing to a pivotal re-evaluation of human history in the hemisphere.

Researchers here say they have unearthed stone tools proving that humans reached what is now northeast Brazil as early as 22,000 years ago. Their discovery adds to the growing body of research upending a prevailing belief of 20th-century archaeology in the United States known as the Clovis model, which holds that people first arrived in the Americas from Asia about 13,000 years ago.

“If they’re right, and there’s a great possibility that they are, that will change everything we know about the settlement of the Americas,” said Walter Neves, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of São Paulo whose own analysis of an 11,000-year-old skull in Brazil implies that some ancient Americans resembled aboriginal Australians more than they did Asians.

Up and down the Americas, scholars say that the peopling of lands empty of humankind may have been far more complex than long believed. The radiocarbon dating of spear points found in the 1920s near Clovis, N.M., placed the arrival of big-game hunters across the Bering Strait about 13,000 years ago, long forming the basis of when humans were believed to have arrived in the Americas.

Researchers at Serra da Capivara National Park unearthed stone tools last year that they say prove that humans reached what is now northeast Brazil as early as 22,000 years ago. Their discovery adds to the growing body of research upending a prevailing belief of 20th-century archaeology in the United States known as the Clovis model, which holds that people first arrived in the Americas from Asia about 13,000 years ago.

Credit. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Researchers at Serra da Capivara National Park unearthed stone tools last year that they say prove that humans reached what is now northeast Brazil as early as 22,000 years ago. Their discovery adds to the growing body of research upending a prevailing belief of 20th-century archaeology in the United States known as the Clovis model, which holds that people first arrived in the Americas from Asia about 13,000 years ago.

Credit. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Hidden in the rock shelters near where the tools were found, paintings number in the thousands. Some are thought to be more than 9,000 years old and perhaps even far more ancient. Painted in red ochre, they rank among the most revealing testaments anywhere in the Americas to what life was like millenniums before the European conquest began a mere five centuries ago.

Credit. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Niede Guidon, the Brazilian archaeologist who pioneered the excavations, said she believed that humans had reached these plateaus around 100,000 years ago, and might have come not overland from Asia but by boat from Africa.

Credit. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

The museum at Serra da Capivara National Park displays a skull estimated to be 9,920 years old. Up and down the Americas, scholars say that the peopling of lands empty of humankind may have been far more complex than long believed. The radiocarbon dating of spear points found in the 1920s near Clovis, N.M., placed the arrival of big-game hunters across the Bering Strait about 13,000 years ago, long forming the basis of when humans were believed to have arrived in the Americas.

Credit. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

But it is in South America, thousands of miles from the New Mexico site where the Clovis spear points were discovered, where archaeologists are putting forward some of the most profound challenges to the Clovis-first theory.

Credit. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

And here in Brazil’s caatinga, a semi-arid region of mesas and canyons, European and Brazilian archaeologists building on decades of earlier excavations said last year that they had found artifacts at a rock shelter showing that humans had arrived in South America almost 10,000 years before the Clovis hunters began appearing in North America.

“The Clovis paradigm is finally buried,” said Eric Boëda, the French archaeologist leading the excavations here.

Credit. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

More recently, numerous findings have challenged that narrative. In Texas, archaeologists said in 2011 that they had found projectile points showing that hunter-gatherers had reached another site, known as Buttermilk Creek, as early as 15,500 years ago. Similarly, analysis of human DNA found at an Oregon cave determined that humans were there 14,000 years ago.

But it is in South America, thousands of miles from the New Mexico site where the Clovis spear points were discovered, where archaeologists are putting forward some of the most profound challenges to the Clovis-first theory.

Paleontologists in Uruguay published findings in November suggesting that humans hunted giant sloths there about 30,000 years ago. All the way in southern Chile, Tom D. Dillehay, an anthropologist at Vanderbilt University, has shown that humans lived at a coastal site called Monte Verde as early as 14,800 years ago.

And here in Brazil’s caatinga, a semi-arid region of mesas and canyons, European and Brazilian archaeologists building on decades of earlier excavations said last year that they had found artifacts at a rock shelter showing that humans had arrived in South America almost 10,000 years before Clovis hunters began appearing in North America.

“The Clovis paradigm is finally buried,” said Eric Boëda, the French archaeologist leading the excavations here.

Exposing the tension over competing claims about where and when humans first arrived in the Americas, some scholars in the dwindling Clovis-first camp in the United States quickly rejected the findings.

Gary Haynes, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, argued that the stones found here were not tools made by humans, but instead could have become chipped and broken naturally, by rockfall. Stuart Fiedel, an archaeologist with the Louis Berger Group, an environmental consulting company, said that monkeys might have made the tools instead of humans.

“Monkeys, including large extinct forms, have been in South America for 35 million years,” Dr. Fiedel said. He added that the Clovis model was recently bolstered by new DNA analysis ancestrally connecting indigenous peoples in Central and South America to a boy from the Clovis culture whose 12,700-year-old remains were found in 1968 at a site in Montana.

Such dismissive positions have invited equally sharp responses from scholars like Dr. Dillehay, the American archaeologist who discovered Monte Verde. “Fiedel does not know what he is talking about,” he said, explaining that similarities existed between the stone tools found here and at the site across South America in Chile. “To say monkeys produced the tools is stupid.”

Having their findings disputed is nothing new for the archaeologists working at Serra da Capivara. Dr. Guidon, the Brazilian archaeologist who pioneered the excavations, asserted more than two decades ago that her team had found evidence in the form of charcoal from hearth fires that humans had lived here about 48,000 years ago.

While scholars in the United States generally viewed Dr. Guidon’s work with skepticism, she pressed on, obtaining the permission of Brazilian authorities to preserve the archaeological sites near the town of São Raimundo Nonato in a national park that now gets thousands of visitors a year despite its remote location in Piauí, one of Brazil’s poorest states.

Dr. Guidon remains defiant about her findings. At her home on the grounds of a museum she founded to focus on the discoveries in Serra da Capivara, she said she believed that humans had reached these plateaus even earlier, around 100,000 years ago, and might have come not overland from Asia but by boat from Africa.

Professor Boëda, who succeeded Dr. Guidon in leading the excavations, said that such early dates may have been possible but that more research was needed. His team is using thermoluminescence, a technique that measures the exposure of sediments to sunlight, to determine their age.

At the same time, discoveries elsewhere in Brazil are adding to the mystery of how the Americas were settled.

In what may be another blow to the Clovis model of humans’ coming from northeast Asia, molecular geneticists showed last year that the Botocudo indigenous people living in southeastern Brazil in the late 1800s shared gene sequences commonly found among Pacific Islanders from Polynesia.

How could Polynesians have made it to Brazil? Or aboriginal Australians? Or, if the archaeologists here are correct, how could a population arrive in this hinterland long before Clovis hunters began appearing in the Americas? The array of new discoveries has scholars on a quest for answers.

Reflecting how researchers are increasingly accepting older dates of human migration to the Americas, Michael R. Waters, a geoarchaeologist at Texas A&M University’s Center for the Study of the First Americans, said that a “single migration” into the Americas about 15,000 years ago may have given rise to the Clovis people. But he added that if the results obtained here in Serra da Capivara are accurate, they will raise even more questions about how the Americas were settled.

“If so, then whoever lived there never passed on their genetic material to living populations,” said Dr. Waters, explaining how the genetic history of indigenous peoples links them to the Clovis child found in Montana. “We must think long and hard about these early sites and how they fit into the picture of the peopling of the Americas.”


The A-10 is about to get 3D surround sound

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:56:51

The U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft is officially about to get some surround sound.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, on Oct. 23, 2019, awarded Terma North America Inc. a $60 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract to retrofit 328 3D audio systems for the close-air support aircraft’s cockpit, according to a Defense Department announcement. The company is a subsidiary of Terma A/S, a Danish defense and aerospace company.

Pilots have multiple audio signals coming at them, making it difficult to discern certain radio calls and warnings. The 3D audio system will give pilots the ability to distinguish between signals and discern where they’re coming from.

Last year, the service said it had planned to award a sole-source contract to Terma to integrate the enhancement. The upgrade would “drastically improve the spatial, battlespace and situational awareness of the A-10C pilots,” according to a request for information (RFI) published at the time.

An A-10 Warthog prepares to take off from Al Asad Air Base to provide close air support to ground troops in Iraq.

(Photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

The 3D audio technology has previously been used in the Danish F-16 Fighting Falcon Missile Warner System upgrade.

The A-10, which entered service in 1976 and has deployed to the Middle East, Europe and the Pacific, has also played an outsized role in Afghanistan and the air campaign that began in 2014 against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, helping provide close-air support for Iraqi and U.S. partner forces on the ground.

The latest news comes after the Air Force made another major investment into the aircraft, demonstrating its willingness to keep the A-10 around longer and boost its survivability in a high-threat environment.

In August 2019, officials announced that Boeing Co. was awarded a 9 million IDIQ contract to create up to 112 new A-10 wing assemblies and spare wing kits for aircraft that are slated to receive the upgrade. The program is known as the “A-10-Thunderbolt II Advanced-Wing Continuation Kit,” or “ATTACK.”

An A-10 Warthog takes off from Al Asad Air Base to provide close air support to ground troops in Iraq.

(Photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

The Air Force estimates 109 A-10s still need to be re-winged following a previous billion “Enhanced Wing Assembly” contract, which began in 2011 and completed this year.

The 3D audio work will be performed in the U.S. and Denmark, the Defense Department said.

The Air Force will use fiscal 2018 and 2019 funds in the amount of .3 million toward the effort the work is scheduled to be completed by February 2024, the announcement states.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

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MIGHTY HISTORY

Ocelots in Texas

The ocelot inhabits dense chaparral thickets, where it preys on small and medium size vertebrates.

Somewhat bigger than a large housecat, an ocelot can grow as long as 4.5 feet and weigh as much as 35 pounds. Its “op-art” pattern consists of chainlike streaks of dark markings. Widely distributed, the cat ranges from Texas to South America. In Texas, it inhabits dense chaparral thickets, where it preys on small and medium size vertebrates, including rodents, rabbits, birds, snakes, lizards, and young deer. Denning in caves, hollow trees, and thickets, Texan ocelots breed in late summer, bearing litters of two to three cubs in fall and winter.

While the species enjoys wide distribution, the subspecies that inhabits Texas and adjacent northeastern Mexico, Leopardus pardalis albescens, is federally endangered. Less than 1,000 of the cats are thought to survive, roaming between Texas and Mexico via wildlife corridors. Protection of these vital corridors is an important part of the Conservancy’s work at its Tamaulipan Thornscrub conservation sites: Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve and Mesquite Brushlands Preserve.

All ocelot populations—subspecies included—are generally reduced or declining, mostly due to habitat destruction, poaching for fur and anti-predator measures. Restrictions on trade and changes in socially acceptable fashion have largely mitigated hunting pressures, while thornscrub conservation is protecting and restoring ocelot habitat and migratory corridors.