King Ranch in Texas

Diamond Washington 7th period

The Cattle Kingdom

The first herd of cattle brought to America arrived on ships of Spanish explorers in the 1500s.In the late 1700s there were two Spanish missions near Goliad that together contained 25,000 head of cattle.Raising cattle first began on the open range, public land that could be used by anyone.Then Caqueros, or cowhands, hereded and drove cattle into pens they called corrales.The South Texas ranching industry flourished in the late 1700s amd early 1800s, especially between the Nueces and the Colorado Rivers.

Early Ranchers Use the Open Range

Richard King, was a native New Yorker, came to Texas with Mifflin Kenedy during the Mexican-American War.In 1853 King bought the Santa Gertrudis, an old Spansh land grant of 15.500 acres in the southern Gulf Coast area.Eventually this holding would become the famous King Ranch south of the Nueces River. Later on several changes made trail driving profitable just after the Civil War. The expansion of the railroads after the Civil War played a major role in Texas 's cattle industry.When the railroads expanded outwards the rancher would drive, or move, the catte in large herds to the railroad towns.Joseph G. McCoy persuaded Texas drovers to turn their cattle drives farther West. In the end trail driving came to an end shortly after 1885.

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