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Explorations of the Red River

Palo Duro.jpg

Palo Duro Canyon, the source of the spring-fed

Red River of the South.

While the people native to the Red River Valley knew the river and its environs well, they did not necessarily "explore" in a European sense; they knew it based on the locations of their food sources, cultural centers, trading partners, and enemies, not because they sought treasure.

Today, we call treasure "resources," but it's very much still a colonial concept of hoping to become rich based on exploitation. To find bounty that can be turned into portable cash, European-based colonizers had to first understand where these might be. The French, Spanish, and Americans used their expeditions to document the people, animals, and landscape; their actions introduced the Red River of the South to the historical period. The impressions they returned with became the "explorations" that became journals, sketches, and maps. Following are some of these expeditions.

And check out the gallery below for some ingenious uses of the petrified forest that once dotted the western reaches of the Red River Valley!

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