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UCSB Historian Explores How Comanche Shaped U.S. History

During the high tide of imperial struggles in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, an indigenous empire built by the Comanche Indians rose to dominate the fiercely contested lands of the American Southwest, the southern Great Plains and northern Mexico.

In a talk titled “The Imperial Comanches: How the Rise and Fall of an Indigenous Empire Shaped the Course of American History,” UCSB historian Pekka Hämäläinen will examine how this powerful empire eclipsed its various European rivals in military prowess, political prestige, economic power, commercial reach and cultural influence.

Sponsored by the UCSB History Associates, Hämäläinen’s talk will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library Conference Room, 2201 Laguna St. in Santa Barbara. A reception follows the talk, which is co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library.

The cost is $10 for UCSB History Associates and Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library members, and $15 for all others. Registration is recommended, and can be arranged by calling the UCSB Office of Community Relations at 805.893.4388.

Hämäläinen, an associate professor of history, is the author of The Comanche Empire, which uncovers the lost story of the Comanches. His discussion about Comanche history will challenge the concept of indigenous peoples as victims of European expansion and offer a new model for the history of colonial expansion, colonial frontiers, and the Native-European relations in North America and elsewhere.


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