The surprise dawn attack became a normal tactic of US armed forces and death squads in the US war of aggression and extermination against Indigenous Peoples of the Western Continent. [Painting by Robert Lindneaux, depicting the surprise attack by US troops under Colonel John Chivington on 29 November 1864 on Sand Creek (present-day jurisdiction of US state of Colorado), at the start of the Sand Creek Massacre.]

By: Marc Immanuel

Published on: 24 March 2017
Last updated on: 16 May 2018

Territory under present-day jurisdiction of US state of Texas

US colonialist war of aggression, extermination, destruction, ethnic cleansing,
for conquest of the territory which has become known to the world as “Texas”

The word holocaust is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as:
“destruction or slaughter on a mass scale”.


In the early 1820s, US colonialist leader and land entrepreneur Stephen F. Austin (known as the “Father of Texas”, from whose name the present capital of the US state of Texas, Austin, is named) initiated the US colonization of the Mexican state of Tejas (US, Texas). Simultaneously, he initiated the Texas Holocaust (1823-1875) against Indigenous Peoples of the region.

Austin had connections with the US Government and was associated with US Freemasonry and the US ruling class. Austin paved the way for the formal US annexation of Texas in 1845 and final US conquest of Texas from Mexico following the US-Mexican War (1846-1848).


According to genocide scholar Ben Kierman: When Stephen Austin first visited the territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US state of Texas — in 1821 — the human population of this collective territory was comprised of several Indigenous tribes consisting of a total of about 20,000 people, plus a small minority European-origin population consisting of about 3,500 people. (source 2, pgs 334-335; map on pg 335)

As an empresario (Spanish, land “enterpreneur”, land agent), with initial permission from the Mexican authorities (who conceded in the hope that this would prevent a US annexation of Texas), Austin founded an initial US colony (which became called the “Austin Colony”).

Austin had no difficulty finding US colonists. At 12.5 cents per acre (apx. .004 km2 or 4/10th of a hectare) — paid to Austin, as a fee for his services — purchase of land was one-tenth the cost of land in US-occupied territory.

Austin advertised for US settlers to come to his colony. Every man would receive 640 acres (apx. 2.6 km2) for himself, 320 acres (apx. 1.3 km2) for his wife, 160 acres (apx. 0.6 km2) for each child, and 80 acres (apx. 0.3 km2) for each slave. After an 1823 contract between Austin and the State of Mexico, US families who raised farm animals and farmed could receive 4,605 acres (apx. 18.6 km2) each. (source 5, pg 167)

The first US settlers arrived in late 1821. In a seven-year period from late 1821 to August 1828, Austin imported about 8,000 migrants from US-occupied territory into his colony (about 75% being European-origin US settlers and about 25% being African-origin persons held as slaves). In partnership with his secretary, US businessman-politician Samuel M. Williams,  he also opened up the western portion of the territory of the Mexican state of Texas to mass US colonization. (sources 4, 5)

For businessmen Austin and Williams, this was big business. During the 1820s-30s, Austin accumulated more than 200,000 acres (more than 800 km2) and Williams more than 58,000 acres (230 km2) of ‘private territorial property’ in “Texas territory”.

According to a US 1860 census: By 1860, the US colonial population of the US state of Texas had risen to over half a million people (with more than 180,000 people, or 30% of the population, enslaved).


Indigenous People of Eastern “Texas” for at Least 2,000 Years
(Exterminated After the “Father of Texas” Arrived)

Stephen Austin initiated US colonialism in the territory called “Texas” in the ancestral homeland of the Auia People.

The Auia  (the Auia People) [their endonym (what they called their ethnic group) (source)] — who became designated by European-origin colonists as the Karankawa (the Karankawa People) — were a group of now-extinct tribes who lived along the “Gulf of Mexico” in the eastern portion of the territory under the present-day jurisdiction of the US state of Texas.

Archaeologists have determined that the Auia People inhabited the region for at least 2,000 years — until their existence as a distinct ethnic group was extinguished in the US genocide in the territory between 1823 and about 1860. (source 3)

The Auia were made up of five main tribes, related by language and culture — known as the Carancahuases (the Karankawa proper), Cocos, Cohanes (Kohanes), Copanes (Kopanes), and Guapites (approximate English transliterations of Spanish references to the tribes). They did not have a complex political organization. (source3)

During much of the 18th century, the Auia were at war with Spanish colonialist invaders who occupied their ancestral homeland. Following the Mexican War of Independence (1810-1821) against the Spanish Empire, an independent State of Mexico was formed in the early 1820s. The ancestral homeland of the Auia then became regarded as part of the territory of the Mexican state of “Tejas” (which became referred to as “Texas” among the English-speaking US settlers).

Austin proceeded with his colonization big business plan in the ancestral homeland of the Auia People despite the stated will of the Auia that he not do so.



In 1823, the killing of two US settlers by some Aiua tribesmen became a pretext for the initiation of a US colonialist genocidal war of conquest against the Indigenous Peoples of the territory of Texas. A group of US colonial militiamen attacked an Auia village camp near “Skull Creek”, killing approximately 20 tribal members. The militiamen plundered the village and scalped the bodies of the dead (taking their scalps). (source1, pg 128)

That year, Austin authorized the formation of a US colonial Texas militia and granted wide powers to the militia commander to “make war against the Karankawas [Auia]… according to his discretion”. (source 1, pg 130) Austin planned the extermination and forced removal of the Auia People so that he would be able to implement his mass US colonization plan.

Austin’s war led into the full-blown US colonialist war of conquest in the territory, known as the Texas-Indigenous Wars (1823-1875). This was a US war of genocide,  having the support of the US Federal Government. Thousands of Indigenous men, women, and children died (from mass killing and from malnutrition and disease as a result of inflicted conditions). Some tribes became extinct during this physical genocide [UN/ICC genocide criteria (a)-(b)-(c)].


(Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas’, 1825)

The policy of the “Father of Texas” toward the Indigenous Peoples of the territory was, officially, ethnic cleansing, implemented by physical genocide (then called ”extermination”) in combination with forced relocation.

Austin wrote in his journal: “…There will be no way of subduing them [the Auia] but extermination.” This was an attitude shared by most of the US colonists of Austin’s colony. (source1, pg 127)

In September 1825, Austin instructed the militia under his command to “pursue and kill all those ‘Indians’ [Indigenous (Native) people] wherever they are found [east of the ‘Guadelupe River’]…” (source1, pg 131)

.                                                                A FEW OF MANY GENOCIDAL MASSACRES IN THE TEXAS GENOCIDE

.                                                                                       The Coco Massacre at Colorado River, 1826
.                                                                         (called by Texas settlers, “The Dressing Point Massacre”)

In 1826, under Austin’s genocidal orders, and under the command of Captain Aylett C. Buckner,  a Texas colonist militia force trapped a large Coco band [of the Auia People (a.k.a. Karankawa People (exonym)] near the mouth of the river known as the “Colorado River” (Spanish colonialist naming since about 1720), in territory under present-day local jurisdiction of Matagorda County.

The people were driven into the water, and the Texas militia indiscriminately shot and killed men, women, and children as they tried to cross the river and climb the steep bank on the other side.

An eyewitness said the river was literally red with blood. [source2 (pg 337)]

Info resources: “… Massacres”, ”Dressing Point Massacre”, Wikipedia
More sources:
Source 1: ”From Dominance to Disappearance: The Indians of Texas and the Near Southwest, 1786-1859”,
book, by Foster Todd Smith, University of Nebraska Press, 2005, Chapter 5 (“Destruction”), pg 131
Source 2: ”Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur”,
book, by Ben Kiernan, Yale University Press, 2007, “Genocide in the United States”, section: ”Extermination in Texas”, pg 337

The Extinction of the Auia People by 1860

In a treaty on 13 May 1827,  the Auia People — with their only legal options being (1) extermination or (2) forced relocation — agreed to give up all of their ancestral lands to US and Mexican colonists and retreat west of the river known as the “Guadelupe River” (Spanish colonialist naming since 1727), in return for the cessation of all hostilities.

Killings of remnants of Auia by attacks on Auia camps continued into the 1830’s. By 1835, after a 10-year genocidal campaign against them, most of the Auia People had either died or been forced off their ancestral homelands. (source1, pg 132)

The last known massacre against a remnant of the Auia took place in 1852 in territory presently known as “Hynes Bay” (US naming). Approximately 30 Texas militiamen led by John Hynes attacked an Auia village campsite without warning in what has become known as the Hynes Bay Massacre. (A reliable official account of the massacre death toll does not exist.  Some estimates are that approximately 50 men, women, and children died in that massacre.)

By 1860, the Auia People as a distinct ethnic group were considered extinct. Some members of the ethnic group may have survived by migrating south to Mexico-occupied territory, joining other tribes in US-occupied territory, or mixing into African-origin populations after the US abolition of slavery (1865). (source3)

The Comanche Massacre at Colorado River, 1840
[a.k.a. The Colorado River Massacre (of 1840)]

21 October 1840

Just as dawn broke, a force of about 100 Texas Volunteer Ranger militiamen led by Colonel John H. Moore launched a surprise genocidal  attack on a Comanche village camp.

As the Comanches came out of their tepees, many were gunned down at point-blank range. As men, women, and children tried to swim across the river, Moore ordered his troops to shoot them in the back. At least 140 men, women, and children were killed.

“The bodies of [Indigenous] men, women, and children were to be seen on every hand wounded, dying, and dead.”

— Colonel John H. Moore

After the massacre, the militia burned everything in the camp, including tepees and food.  Starvation faced the survivors left behind. The militia took away 35 people (mostly small children).

US militia death toll: 0

Main source: “The Conquest of Texas”, by Gary C. Anderson
(professor of history, University of Oklahoma in Norman)

The Brazos River Massacre

April 1848

“A hunting party of 26 friendly Wichita and Caddo Indigenous people was massacred by Texas Rangers under Captain Samuel Highsmith, in a valley south of Brazos River. 25 men and boys were killed, and only one child managed to escape.” (“… Massacres”)

The Pease River Massacre

18 December 1860

Texas Rangers under Captain Lawrence Sullivan (“Sull”) Ross attacked a Comanche village in Foard County, Texas, killing indiscriminately a ‘considerable number’ of Indigenous people. ” (“…Massacres”; ”Battle of Pease River”, Wikipedia)

In an interview, Hiram B. Rogers, a Ranger who joined the Ross command in October 1860, said, “I was in the Pease River fight, but I am not very proud of it. That was not a battle at all, but just a killing of ‘squaws’ [slang derogatory term referring to Indigenous women].” (source)


During 1835-1948, the Texas militia also turned its war of conquest against the occupying State of Mexico, with the support of the US Federal Government. In 1836, US colonial authorities formally declared the independence of the state of Texas from Mexico. Stephen Austin was appointed first Texas Secretary of State (before dying of pneumonia two months later at the age of 43). (source4)

In 1845, by the decision of the US Congress, the state of Texas was formally annexed into the United States as the 28th US state. The resistance of the State of Mexico to US claims upon territory initially under Mexican jurisdiction led to a US invasion for the conquest of Mexican-claimed territory, known as  US-Mexican War (1846-1848).

That war produced a total death toll of nearly 40,000 people (from both sides and all causes). It resulted in the defeat of the Mexican Army and the full US conquest of the desired territory (including the territory which has become known throughout the world as “Texas“).

At the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on 2 February 1848, the State of Mexico ceded to the United States the northern portion of the territory under its jurisdiction (including territory under present-day jurisdiction of the US states of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

More information on that subject, at:
How the USA Conquered Much of US-Claimed Territory from the State of Mexico

The Result of the Texas Holocaust 

By 1875, the Indigenous population of the collective territory under present-day occupation of the US state of Texas — which about  three decades earlier was still populated with many independent Indigenous tribes collectively consisting of many thousands of  Indigenous persons — had been reduced to near zero. [source8 (2nd section, 8th paragraph)].


1. “From Dominance to Disappearance: The Indians of Texas and the Near Southwest, 1786-1859“,
book, by Foster Todd Smith (historian, author),
University of Nebraska Press, 2005, Chapter 5 (“Destruction”)
2. “Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur“,
book, by Ben Kierman (30-year genocide scholar, author),
Yale University Press, 2007, “Genocide in the United States”, section: ”Extermination in Texas”
3. “The Extinct Karankawa Indians of Texas”,
Imagining the Bounds of History, blog article (historic)
by Shannon Selin (historian, author), 2013-2017
4. “Stephen F. Austin, the Founder of Anglo-American Texas“,
Imagining the Bounds of History, blog article (historic)
by Shannon Selin (historian, author), 2013-2017
5. “Age of Empresarios: Chapter 7.1:  Moses Austin Paves the Way”,
a workbook based on a Texas history school textbook, pgs 164-179
6. “Texas-Indian Wars“, Wikipedia, volunteer-written encycl., article (historic)
7. “Cowboys and Indians: How Texas Historic Markers Harm Indigenous People”,
AlterNet, article (historic), Lala Stone (journalist), 22 September 2014
8. “History Not Taught is History Forgot: Columbus’ Legacy of Genocide”,
excerpt of book (historic), excerpted from book “Indians are Us…“,
by Ward Churchill, Common Courage Press, 1994



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