Dating back to the 1500s, the Comanche were a part of the Shoshone nation and occupied a portion of eastern Wyoming near the Platte River. When Spaniards arrived in the region with horses, the Comanche split from the Shoshone and headed South, with 10,000 members.Continue Reading
They initially started for the central plains and finally settled in the Arkansas River area that extends into central Texas. An influx of Shoshone members and abundant resources enabled the tribe to prosper and double in size, although they began kidnapping women and children from Mexican villages and rival tribes to fund their growth.
Despite its size, the Comanche never organized itself as one tribe, and instead branched into a dozen bands that were often at war with each other. They soon took to horse breeding, which became a lucrative venture, but continued to expand their culture of thievery and terror by stealing cattle and waging war on Mexican settlers and other tribes, most notably the Apache. Their mastery of horses enabled them to become expert hunters and feared warriors, and by the mid-1800s, the Comanche were the undisputed masters of the Midwest, occupying most of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Unfortunately, epidemics such as small pox and cholera decimated the tribe in the 1870s and its population dwindled to 7,000. Government efforts to relocate the tribe eventually succeeded, and as of 2015, there are about 10,000 Comanche occupying portions of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and California.Learn more about US History