C trading horses to S. Cheyenne, probably, post-1840; Lakota? probably not. They would have been too far north. Remember, C's had declined to participate in Thomas Fitzpatrick's Ft Laramie peace conference because it was too close to Crow and Lakota horse thieves.
Speaking of which, another point I was getting at was whether C actually *bred* as many horses as has been alleged. Remember (again) that there were a number of decrees in Mexican New Mexico against the purchase of *branded* horses from C's. Of course, C did not brand their horses. Therefore, the inference is that (some) C's were dealing in stolen goods, in that case horses, just as in 1860-65, the Quahadadachokos, aka Quahadadetsakanu, aka Numukiowa, [later] under Patsokoniki 'Otter Belt', were stealing Confederate Texican cattle and selling them to Marcus Goldbaum of Albuquerque, who was selling them to Federal troops at Forts Bascom and Union. They kept this up even after the end of the Recent Unpleasantness, selling the cattle to Hispanic New Mexican ranchers, thus leading to the Red River War. [And, in 1872, Oliver Loving (of the Goodnight-Loving trail) raided up the Pecos River in NM, stealing them back.]
See, isn't real history a lot more fun than the made-up stuff?
Last Edit: Mar 19, 2013 20:18:37 GMT -5 by tkavanagh
tkavanaugh ... if you're attempting to get me interested in your arguments that the situation was complex and trading patterns were multi-polar ... you are succeeding :-) I will read your book soon.
But let's look quickly at some other arguments. We know that the Comanche pushed the Lipan Apache's off the plains and back into the mountains of N. Mexico. The Apache's were fierce and did not give up their territory easily. So there is NO way the Comanches could have succeeded without fighting tooth and nail with the Lipans - very hard fighting. This series of events tells me that something about the Comanche fighting system took a quantum leap upwards. And since this coinced with the adoption of horses in a major lifestyle change for the Comanche - there is at least circumstantial evidence that horsemanship was involved in the transformation. In addition, if I beleive Wikipedia then there were roughly 30,000-40,000 Comanche's at the height of their "empire" and possibly 90,000-120,000 horses under their control. Again, that explosion in the numbers of the people argues that they make a rapid transformation in their lifestyle. So what could have changed ... they still had competition from tribes on all sides. Surely the answer is that the Comanches found a new way to defeat their enemies soundly and push them off the best lands for the buffalo. So this circumstantial evidence does argue for some sort of quantum leap in horsemanship by the Commanches.
At the time of the "Comanche expansion," various Plains Apaches (I'm not sure, but I don't think the "Lipan" ethnonym had emerged yet) were experimenting with settled Pueblo-esque living, as in El Cuartelejo. It was a precarious experiment, as the climate in western Kansas was not particularly suitable for horti-agriculture. Moreover, a mobile force -- either pedestrian or horse-mounted --- has certain advantages over a stationary one. It would not take much to force those proto-horti-agriculturalists to pack up and leave.
Now, as for Comanche population numbers ...
As you probably know by now, if someone gives me a "fact" about Comanches, I will ask, "what are the sources?", "did that person know what he was talking about?"
For the results of an investigation of said high Comanche population reports, please see Playing a Numbers Game: Counting the Comanches in History and Anthropology: An Historiographic and Ethnographic Review, an article I wrote years ago and posted to my old, nay ancient, home page at Indiana.
I often suggest that people *not* read it in linear order, but do it chapters 1, 2, 8, 3-4-6-7.
Chapter 1 lays out the "problem" I was dealing with: the problem of so many different ethnonyms. I suggest that the solution is politico-economic resource base (resource domain) innovation, exploitation, and exhaustion.
Chapter 2 is a reconstruction of Comanche political culture, normative and processual. In Raymond Firth's terms of social structure and social organization: The normative is the cultural ideal of what *should* happen; the processual is the "on-the-ground organization of people-on-groups is mediated by “the magnitude of the situation (as in men and materials), the alternatives open for choice and decision, and the time dimension.”
Each middle chapter deals with a specific time period and the various resource domains utilized by the different Comanches politico-economic groups during it. Each chapter ends with a summary of those domains.
Chapter 8 is a summary of those chapter summaries.
Chapter 2 has my thoughts on the processual effects of the introduction of the horse.
Last Edit: Mar 21, 2013 9:07:15 GMT -5 by tkavanagh
tkavanagh - I will take a look at the chapters in your book that are online. and also your ref. to the numbers of Comanche. After thinking about it - I'm really not sure how anyone could possibly come up with more than a projection of those numbers. This is something that you have clearly thought about for a long time - you can dispute the figures on Wikipedia. org. :-)
Sorry about the mis-spelling of your name. I inadvertently lumped you with "cavanaugh's" coming from Europe. Ireland maybe??
Commanche expansion ... one other possible approach would be to scour the records of the colonial Spanish era in Mexico. Surely the commanders of the Conquistadors would have had written records of Indian attacks, and would be (painfully) aware of the difference between Apaches and Comanches. So if Comanche attacks did escalate, and occurred deeper into Mexico, it may be recorded. However, it would be the most daunting task to actually unearth those old records (who would even have them now?), translate them, and piece together the story. Nevertheless, the records from the Spanish may be one of the few recorded documentations of interactions with the Comanches. It's just a thought. Probably an impossible one :-)
BTW - I'm open to all your counterarguments about "perceptions" of the Comanches. But I'm not yet convinced that they were not exceptional horsemen. I'm not saying that other tribes didn't have excellent warriors who fought on horsback. Custer's own men were on record as saying that the Lakota nation was the "finest light cavalry in the world". But I think, or suspect, that the Comanche may have acquired a "commitment to excellence" in horsemanship and mounted warfare that applied across their whole tribe. One way of exploring this would be to look for accounts of clashes between the Comanche and northern tribes. The opinions of the Lakota on "Comanche horsemanship" might be a very good place to start. Unfortunately, the best info is lost to time (but possibly not completely).
I'm gonna sign out from this discussion until you have time to read the text of my book and the Counting the Comanches paper. That way I don't have to repeat myself any more than I have to.
The acquisition of the horse and its effects on socio-cultural [incuding military] organization was a gradual, processual, trajectory. If the majority of horses came after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 (says I, Director of the Hopi Tricentennial, 1980-81), then it would have taken some years to acquire enough to risk them in war (Rivera noted, in 1726 or so [if indeed he was referring to Numunuu] that many were still pedestrian, using dogs for baggage transport). As late as 1749 (San Saba), Comanche horse-tactics included leather-armored horsemen.
Last Edit: Mar 22, 2013 19:02:10 GMT -5 by tkavanagh
I read the "Empire of the Summer Moon" few months ago and I wonder about one question. Gwynne wrote that: "No tribe other than Comanches ever learned to breed horses" *Gwynne, p. 32. I wonder if that is true, because I read elsewhere that excellent horse breeders were the Nez Perce, and Nancy McGown Minor argues that "Lipans (...) bred horses, althouh probably not to the extent practiced by other tribes such as the Comanches" (The Light Gray People, p. 67).
Gwynne is full of pukukwitap. Not only is he wrong about C being the "only" (vide Nez perce, et al), I sometimes wonder about that basic "factoid": how much did C actually breed horses themselves, or is this a myth intended to explain how they got so many [as the myth that they ate horses is intended to explain what they did with them all? (selling them is never considered)].
Hey Tkavanagh, In Your opinion is the Nelson Lee narrative a bogus one? As I recall His story has been descredited at some point, just not real clear on the arguments. He appears to give so many names and details that I would assume a scholar like You would be able to answer that with some clarity. Regarding eating horses and myth, I came across a narrative from when the Meusebach expedition of january/march 1847 where on their way back from the Penateka camps on the San Saba. One of the preussian officers, that later returned to Germany, wrote about a group of about a hundred Comanches following the ekspedition back to Fredericksburg. On the way they camped together and the Comanches hunted wild horses, for the ekspedition members to eat. I get the impression that they traded far more horses and cattle, than they ate. Having said that I guess they would eat what was available in areas they travelled through..