The Spanish-Comanche War
The war between the Spanish and Comanches erupted in the middle of the 1750s when Indian raiders began to plunder ranches and settlements in New Mexico. Their raids spread to Texas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Nuevo León prompting Spanish authorities to search for an appropriate response. Suspicions of Comanche culpability in the attack on the San Sabá complex only inflamed relations. One Comanche war leader, Tabivo Naritgant (“Dangerous Man” in Comanche) proved so nettlesome that a Spanish expedition hunted him down and killed him near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico. His name, and his distinctive green-horned headdress passed to his son, who soon came to be known as Cuerno Verde.
He, too, fell to Spanish frontier troops. In 1779, Governor Juan Bautista de Anza campaigned into Comancheria until intercepting the Comanche and his band in present-day southern Colorado on their way home from raiding south of the Rio Grande.
Other Comanche leaders took his place, and the war continued to flare until the 1780s with Spain effectively losing control of the hinterland around Santa Fe and San Antonio de Béxar. Only a small pox epidemic which ravaged the natives forced them to accept a peace treaty with the Spanish—a peace which remained in place for nearly half a century.