War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War

War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War

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by Brian DeLay
     
 

In the early 1830s, after decades of relative peace, northern Mexicans and the Indians whom they called “the barbarians” descended into a terrifying cycle of violence. For the next fifteen years, owing in part to changes unleashed by American expansion, Indian warriors launched devastating attacks across ten Mexican states. Raids and counter-raids

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Overview

In the early 1830s, after decades of relative peace, northern Mexicans and the Indians whom they called “the barbarians” descended into a terrifying cycle of violence. For the next fifteen years, owing in part to changes unleashed by American expansion, Indian warriors launched devastating attacks across ten Mexican states. Raids and counter-raids claimed thousands of lives, ruined much of northern Mexico’s economy, depopulated its countryside, and left man-made “deserts” in place of thriving settlements. Just as important, this vast interethnic war informed and emboldened U.S. arguments in favor of seizing Mexican territory while leaving northern Mexicans too divided, exhausted, and distracted to resist the American invasion and subsequent occupation.

         

Exploring Mexican, American, and Indian sources ranging from diplomatic correspondence and congressional debates to captivity narratives and plains Indians’ pictorial calendars, War of a Thousand Deserts recovers the surprising and previously unrecognized ways in which economic, cultural, and political developments within native communities affected nineteenth-century nation-states. In the process this ambitious book offers a rich and often harrowing new narrative of the era when the United States seized half of Mexico’s national territory.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300158373
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/24/2009
Series:
The Lamar Series in Western History
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
662,354
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Brian DeLay is assistant professor of history, University of California, Berkeley.

More from this Author

Table of Contents

A Note on Names xi

Introduction. A Little Door xiii

Prologue. Easy Stories 1

Part 1 Neighbors

1 Danger and Community 35

2 Buffalo-Hide Quiver 61

3 Plunder and Partners 86

4 The Politics of Vengeance 114

Part 2 Nations

5 Indians Don't Unmake Presidents 141

6 Barbarians and Dearer Enemies 165

7 An Eminently National War? 194

8 How to Make a Desert Smile 226

Part 3 Convergence

9 A Trophy of a New Kind in War 253

10 Polk's Blessing 274

Epilogue. Article 11 297

Appendix. Data on Comanche-Mexican Violence, 1831-48 311

Introduction to the Data 313

Table and Figures 317

Data 320

Notes 341

Bibliography 425

Acknowledgments 457

Index 461

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