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Indian Wars Of Texas


Following the end of the Civil War, an increasing number of settlers began to move westward. Farmers, ranchers and miners settle across the Great Plans, even in light of resistance from Native Americans. The climate, soil, railroads and land laws (such as the Homestead Act) were factors that made settling on the Plains attractive. This massive westward expansion culminated in the slaughter of huge numbers of the buffaloes that had roamed the Plains. As the buffaloes began to decrease in number, the Native American way of life became more and more threatened. Increasing conflict arose after the federal government attempted to relocate Native Americans from their traditional homelands to reservations.

Conflict between white settlers and Native Americans were certainly nothing new. What was new was the emergence of the transcontinental railroad, which served as a catalyst for most of the new conflict that emerged following the end of the Civil War. Prior to completion of the railroad, Americans had only been able to venture westward by wagon or horseback. As a result of the railroad; however, it suddenly became possible for thousands to migrate westward must faster, for less expensive and in much greater comfort. As the number of settlers from the East moving west increased, conflict with Native Americans increased as well.

Significant massacres occurred at Sand Creek in 1864 and again at Wounded Knee in 1890. Both sides of the conflict suffered from severe atrocities. At the heart of it all was the battle for the land in the west. Native Americans fought intensely to hold onto their ancestral lands while American settlers were fighting to claim it for homesteads, farms and ranches. Throughout the West, battles raged and were won and lost on both sides. The United States Army; however, had several factors in their favor, including technology that was not available to the native tribes, such as repeating rifles. The troops were also able to remain better supplies than the native tribes because of the industry and the railroad system from the East.

Continuing immigration to the United States allowed the population of the United States to swell, quickly outnumbering the rapidly diminishing population of the Native Americans, who succumbed to famine as the herds of buffalo disappeared and European diseases for which they had no immunity. By the close of the 19th century the Native American tribes that remained were forced to be relocated to reservations.