1. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Active Member

    Jun 4, 2020
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    Was reading on the history behind Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Oldmanofthemountain, Nov 30, 2021.

    I was recently doing some reading about the Native American conflicts on the Mexican American border, the inspiration behind Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. During the early 19th century, the Apaches and Comanches mercilessly raided much of northern and central Mexico. They were mostly unimpeded, as the Comanches and Apaches outmatched the skeletal Mexican army. In their attacks, they killed thousands of peasants, abducted hundreds, left thousands of survivors homeless, and stolen ten thousands of livestock.

    The Apaches and Comanches were even bold enough to assault capital cities like Chihuahua in broad daylight. It got to the point that the Comanche-Apache raids left much of the border regions depopulated. As the Mexican army was in shambles, the government turned to bounty hunters/mercenaries to contest the depredations.

    The bounty hunters/mercenaries were a motley bunch, mostly consisted of Anglo-Americans, displaced Woodland Native Americans from the East Coast, local tribes hostile to the Apaches, and a few escaped slaves. Essentially, the Mexican government commissioned them to kill and scalp any Apaches they could get their hands on. Including women and children, whom had bounties of $50 and $25 US silver dollar per scalp respectively.

    As you might expect, the Apaches didn't respond well to this attempt genocide. They escalated their raids to the point of wiping out entire small towns and table turned would be scalp hunters left and right. Many scalp hunters decided that it was safer to prey upon peaceful Native American bands and Mexican peasants (ironically the very people they were hired to protect in the first place) and pass them off as Apache scalps, rather then going after the Apaches themselves.

    With the crippling costs and incessant cheating/backstabbing, the Mexican government abandoned the scalp hunting program. Though due to decentralization and lack of communication, some states were slower to drop the scalp hunters then others. Comanche and Apache raids still continued on until the 1870s (for the Comaches) and 1890s (for the Apaches). The Comanche raids into Mexico were only ended by the Americans forcing them into reservations. In the later 19th century, the Apaches (especially Geremonio) virtually fought a two-front war against the Americans in the North and the Mexicans to the South, until pressure from both countries overwhelmed them.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021

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