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Barrier to European Expansion (CEC)



Over the course of half a century, the Comanches, who called themselves Numunu, reorganized the human geography of the Southern Plains in ways that would have long term implications for the history of the continent.  The Spanish presence, long viewed as the engine driving the history of the Southwest, in fact played a reactionary role to the emergence of a true native empire that had ambitions, capabilities, and strategies of its own.  The Comanches would not be passive participants in an inevitable course of history.  Instead, they sought to be its master.


Elsewhere, the French and Indian War (1754-1763) effectively eliminated the French as a force on the continent of North America, but in the end straddled the Spanish with a complicated, unilateral Indian policy as well as the territory of Louisiana.  Traders remained, but the French habit of giving abundant diplomatic gifts to maintain favorable relations with Indians now became a financial burden to Spanish officials.  Now British traders clustered to the east bank of the Mississippi to fill the Indian trade vacuum.


The Comanches, now at their height, had accomplished something no other Indian nation had:  they had created a barrier to European expansion.