Great Plains Forts introduces readers to the fortifications that have impacted the lives of Indigenous peoples, fur trappers and traders, travelers, and military personnel on the Great Plains and prairies from precontact times to the present. Using stories to introduce patterns in fortification construction and use, Jay H. Buckley and Jeffery D. Nokes explore the eras of fort-building on the Great Plains from Canada to Texas. Stories about fortifications and fortified cities built by Indigenous peoples reveal the lesser-known history of precontact violence on the plains.
Great Plains Forts includes stories of Spanish presidios and French and British outposts in their respective borderlands. Forts played a crucial role in the international fur trade and served as emporiums along the overland trails and along riverway corridors as Euro-Americans traveled into the American West. Soldiers and families resided in these military outposts, and this military presence in turn affected Indigenous Plains peoples. The appendix includes a reference guide organized by state and province, enabling readers to search easily for specific forts.
Jay H. Buckley is an associate professor of history and director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University. He is the author of William Clark: Indian Diplomat and coauthor (with Jeffery D. Nokes) of Explorers of the American West: Mapping the World through Primary Documents. Jeffery D. Nokes is a professor of history at Brigham Young University. He is the author of Building Students’ Historical Literacies: Learning to Read and Reason with Historical Texts and Evidence.
“The Great Plains are a deep reservoir of American stories. Jay Buckley and Jeffery Nokes have given us a guide to pursuing some of the most revealing ones as told through the dozens of fortifications that have freckled the midcontinental landscape for centuries, from those of Indigenous peoples through others built for commerce and conquest.”—Elliott West, author of Continental Reckoning: The American West in the Age of Expansion
“If looking for a brief summary of forts and posts of the plains and prairie regions, this is your book. Jay Buckley and Jeffery Nokes skillfully weave a narrative history from First Nations fortifications in precontact times to Spanish, Mexican, French, English, and American complexes in both Canada and areas that became part of the United States. An appendix, province by province and state by state, gives summaries of the chronology and purpose of each establishment. No other volume accomplishes so much!”—William R. Swagerty, former director of the John Muir Center at the University of the Pacific
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Indigenous Fortifications 2. Fur Factories and Trading Posts 3. Overland Trail Emporiums 4. Military Outposts 5. Canadian Prairies Posts Site Guide Suggested Reading Index