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Warfare and Expansion: An Ethnohistoric Perspective on the Numic Spread


The purpose of this paper is to document population movements by Numic peoples during the ethnohistoric period. That they appear to have been expanding at the time of historic contact all along their perimeter may reflect a continuation of a general expansion through the Great Basin which may have begun in antiquity (within the last millennia [cf. Lamb 1958]). Further, it appears that Numic populations of the ethnohistoric period (at least on their perimeter) were militarily aggressive and inclined to exploit their non-Numic neighbors. The fact that the Numic groups did not generally fight among themselves but were at war with virtually all their neighbors supports this contention. This territorial expansion appears to have predated the acquisition of the horse although horses were a very important factor in some of the expansions of Numic populations, especially the Comanche.

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