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The Comanches were rulers of the Great Plains in the 1700s and became known as the Lords of the Southern Plains. Renowned for their horsemanship, they defended their land from all intruders. The introduction of the horse to Comanche people enable them to travel widely, striking terror into the hearts of their farthest enemy. It also enabled them to provide the things necessary for their families -- food, shelter and clothing.
Spaniards and Europeans were their first outside contact, but that changed by the 1830s when white men pushed westward towards a new frontier.
From the time white men pushed westward towards a new frontier in the 1830s, many events occurred that altered the way of life for this great tribe. The Treaty of Medicine Lodge, the Battle of Adobe Walls, the Jerome Agreement and the Oklahoma land openings were but a few of these events.
The Treaty of Medicine Lodge was signed in 1867 in Kansas with the Comanche, Kiowa, Apache, Cheyenne and Arapaho. The tribes were promised protection from the hunters who were killing off the buffalo. In return they were to be provided schools, churches and annuities. The tribes, in turn, were to permit railroads to be built through their lands, cease raiding and agree to live on a reservation to be set up for them. In addition, 38.5 million acres (60,000 square miles) were given up for a reservation that contained just over three million acres (4,800 square miles). Reservation life began for the Comanches in 1869.
The Battle of Adobe Walls took place in the panhandle of Texas in 1874. Comanches, Kiowas and Cheyennes attacked the hunters who were using the abandoned fort in their quest to kill the buffalo for their hides. Although the hunters were greatly outnumbered, the Indians were defeated because of the protection offered by the fort itself and the long range buffalo rifles used by the hunters. The battle was disastrous for the Indians. By 1880 both the buffalo and a way of life for the Comanches were gone.