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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: History
  • Essay length: 1133 words

Why were the Buffalo so important to the native Americans?

Extracts from this essay...


In this project you will discover the importance of the buffalo to the Native Americans and how the buffalo was wiped out with the Native Americans. The buffalo provided the Native Americans with everything they needed to survive and in return the people worshiped the buffalo as if it was a god. To European settlers travelling across America's Great Plains in the early 1800s, the prairie wind was a constant companion: a gentle whisper echoing across the vast sea of grass that carpeted the centre of the North American continent. Sometimes, however, the rumbling of thunder could be heard in the distance, even though no storm clouds could be seen. Then the ground would begin to tremble and suddenly the astonished people would be surrounded by a herd of bulky animals that stretched further than the eye could see. The majestic welcoming committee made it clear that the settlers had, at last, arrived in the buffalo nation: a land where millions and millions of American Bison stayed.


For thousands of years the huge bison herds were able to replace the loss of the few animals taken by Native Americans. The earlies settlers were trappers and traders, people who made their living selling meat and hides. By the 1870s, they were shipping hundreds of thousands of buffalo hides towards the east each year: more than 1.5 million were packed aboard trains and wagons in the winter of 1872-73 alone. "Buffalo" Bill Cody killed thousands of buffalo. The commercial killers, however, weren't the only ones shooting the buffalo. Train companies offered tourists the chance to shoot buffalo from the windows of their coaches, stopping only when they ran out of ammo or the gun's barrel became too hot. There were even buffalo killing contests. In one, a Kansan set a record by killing 120 Buffalos in just 40 minutes. "Buffalo" Bill Cody, hired to kill the animals, killed more than 4,000 buffalos in just two years. Some U.S. government officials even promoted the killing of the bison herds as a way to defeat their Native American enemies, who were resisting the takeover of their lands by white people.


But it was that arrival white people in the 1800s, and their conflict with the Native American residents of the prairies, that spelled the end for the buffalo. But flesh and skin weren't the only good things: tribes learned to use virtually every part of the animal, from horns to tail hairs. The Buffalo.(the facts) The early Buffalo were enormous animals, weighing up to 5,000 pounds and horns that were more than six feet across. Over time, however, the North American stock evolved into trimmer beasts. The buffalo is 14 ribs instead of the 13 found in cattle. It has shaggy fur is dark brown in colour. It grows especially long on the head, neck, and shoulders and usually forms a beard on the chin. On rare occasions a white bison is born; these unusual type were especially honoured, and even worshipped, by Native American. Both buffalo sexes bear short, upcurved horns, those of the cow being smaller. Bison are large, powerful animals. A adult buffalo stands about 2 m (6 1/2 feet) at the shoulder and weighs more than 900 kg (1,980 pounds). The female is about 1.5 m (5 feet) tall and weighs about 320 kg (700 pounds).

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