During an excavation in the 1950s, archaeologists discovered the bones of a prehistoric woman in Midland County, Texas, and dubbed her "Midland Minnie." Some believed her age to be between twenty thousand and thirty-seven thousand years, making her remains the oldest ever found in the Western Hemisphere. While the accuracy of these dates remains disputed, the find, along with countiess others, demonstrates the wealth of human history that is buried beneath Texas soil. By the time the Europeans arrived in Texas in 1528, Native Texans included the mound-building Caddos of East Texas; the Karankawas and Atakapas who fished the Texas coast; the town-dwelling Jumanos along the Rio Grande; the hunting-gathering Coahuiltecans in South Texas; and the corn-growing Wichitas in the Panhandle. All of these native peoples had developed structures, traditions, governments, religions, and economies enabling them to take advantage of the land's many resources. When the Europeans arrived, they brought horses, metal tools and weapons, new diseases, and new ideas, all of which began to reshape the lives of Texas Indians.
Over time, Texas became home to horse-mounted, buffalo-hunting Apaches, Comanches, and Kiowas and a refuge for Puebloan Tiguas, Alabama-Coushattas, Kickapoos, and many others. These groups traded, shared ideas, fought, and made peace with one another as well as with peoples outside of Texas. This book tells the story of all of these groups, their societies and cultures, and how they changed over the years. Author David La Vere offers a complete chronological and cultural history of Texas Indians from twelve thousand years ago to the present day. He presents a unique view of their cultural history before and after European arrival, examining Indian interactions - both peaceful and violent - with Europeans, Mexicans, Texans, and Americans. This book is the first full examination of the history of Texas Indians in more than forty years.show more