Last Days of the Buffalo

Last Days of the Buffalo (HMVUL)

Location: Julesburg, CO 80737 Sedgwick County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 57.976', W 102° 15.095'

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For thousands of years, these grasslands have supported tens of millions of buffalo, from the giant species of ancient times to the smaller version of today. As North America's largest land animal, buffalo dominated life on the Great Plains. In 1851, Cheyenne chief Yellow Wolf reported to an Indian agent the staggering news that from the foothills of the mountains to the forks of the Platte, the great herds had largely vanished. In fact, starvation stalked the Cheyenne villages. Twenty years later, not one buffalo could be found on Colorado's eastern plains. Why? The answer is complex, but mostly the herds vanished through human intervention: too many buffalo killed for their hides, too much habitat altered or destroyed.

A Fragile Balance
Native peoples successfully met the challenge of living on the dry plains of eastern Colorado. Mounted on swift ponies, Cheyennes, Arapahos, Kiowas, Comanches, Plains Apaches, and Shoshones moved across the land, hunting the great herds of buffalo. Brought to the plains by the Spanish in the sixteenth century; horses allowed the tribes unprecedented access to the wealth of the plains, but the resultant prosperity came with a price. Horses required grass—lots of it. with ten animals for each person, Indians were forced to constantly move to greener pastures, a serious problem when winter storms struck. Still, this rhythm of life proved successful until railroads, towns, ranches, and farms forever changed the relationship between native peoples and their high plains home.

Series This marker is part of the Colorado: History Colorado series
Marker Number223
Year Placed1999
Placed ByColorado Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 9:14am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13T E 731276 N 4538650
Decimal Degrees40.96626667, -102.25158333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 57.976', W 102° 15.095'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 57' 58.56" N, 102° 15' 5.70" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)308, 970
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 20000-20752 Co Rd 28, Julesburg CO 80737, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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