dians of New Mexico, who had acquired and hoarded gunsrnone at a time, revolted in 1680. Pueblo attacks in the next 16rnyears killed hundreds of whites and pushed white settlementrnout of Santa Fe, all the way back to El Paso. In the 1750’s, Comanchernraiders, using guns supplied by the French, forcedrnSpain to abandon north Texas.rnWhen guns were not going into Spanish territory, the Spanishrnrealized that selling guns to Indians could be in Spain’s interest.rnFor example, Spanish Florida supplied firearms to thernIndians of the Gulf Plain, to be used to harass British settlers inrnGeorgia and Alabama.rnAt first, the English colonists followed a policy similar to thatrnof the Spanish. Officially, arms trading with the Indians wasrnprohibited. In 1641, the Crown ordered that no person shouldrngive the Indians “any weapons of war, either guns or gunpowder,rnnor sword, nor any other Munition, which might come tornbe used against ourselves.” Despite the Crown’s orders, however,rnmany merchants in the colonies found trade with the Indiansrnadvantageous.rnSoon enough, the British began trading guns with tribes inrnIllinois and the rest of what would become the Northwest Territory.rnAs trouble with the American colonists worsened, thernBritish saw the advantage of arming the Indians to attack thernencroaching American farmers and backwoodsmen. Whenrnthe British cut off the arms trade in the Great Lakes region inrn1763, the Indians were outraged. Chief Pontiac—acting onrnthe advice of a prophet who preached that guns should be rejectedrnas evil instruments of the whites—organized the Ottawarnand nine other tribes into a confederacy that annihilated numerousrnEnglish frontier posts in the West. But the AmericanrnIndians were incapable of carrying out sustained warfare, andrnwhen English reinforcements arrived, the Indians retreated tornIllinois.rnFor the new people who would be called “Americans,” lifernitself would have been impossible without firearms. HistorianrnDaniel Boorstin notes, “Shooting small game with a bowrnor a gun and throwing a tomahawk became lifesaving skillsrnwhen Indians attacked.” As Lee Kennett and James La VernernAnderson explained in The Gun in America, because frontiersmenrnhad to hunt their food and defend themselves against Indians,rn”civil and military uses of firearms dovetailed as they hadrnnot generally done in Europe.” Survival meant not only fightingrnIndians, but also hunting for food. The European emigrantsrnwho settled America abandoned aristocratic anti-poachingrnrules. Game animals in the American wilderness were arnpublic bounty, not a private possession.rnThe special demands of the American gun market led to majorrninnovations in firearms production. Because of the lack ofrnbig game, civilian rifle output and design had been stunted inrnBritain since the 16th century; America took the lead in makingrnrifles for its people. The .45 caliber Kentucky rifle was introducedrnfor hunting game and killing Indians; it also servedrnwell in the wars with Britain.rnPistols gained popularity as backup sidearms in case a riflernjammed or more rapid fire was needed. The practice of carryingrntvvo guns persisted even after flinflocks were replaced byrnmore reliable guns: Most Western gunfighters sported a pair ofrnrevolvers.rnThe introduction of the revolver in the 1840’s changed thernface of warfare. Almost all earlier guns needed to be reloadedrnafter every shot; the few guns that could hold three or morernrounds (such as the “pepperbox”) were eccentric and unreliable.rnWith the mass production of Col. Samuel Colt’s revolvingrnhandguns, the whites gained massive firepower superiorityrnover the Indians.rnThe first major application of Colt technology was in Texas;rnthere, Indians on horseback could launch arrows more quicklyrnthan settlers could fire and reload single-shot rifles. Moreover,rna rifle was heavy and difficult to discharge from horseback.rnWith Colt revolvers, Texans could exceed the Indians’ rate ofrnfire and shoot while mounted. The leap in technology fromrnsingle-shot guns to the revolver was of far greater significancernthan subsequent refinements of multi-shot weapons. Accordingrnto historian Carl Russell, the introduction of the revolverrn”marked the turning point in Indian warfare in the Far West byrngiving the white man superiority.”rn”The gun had a greater influence in changing the primitivernways of the Indians than any other object brought to Americarnby the white man,” Russell writes. The spread of French gunsrninto the Louisiana Territory changed relations among thernmany tribes. The French trade shifted the balance of power torntribes that could get guns, and set all fribes on a feverish armstradingrnrace.rnEven after the French were gone, the race continued. Forrnexample, British traders from the Hudson Bay Company tradedrnguns for beaver with the Kutchin, who in turn used the gunsrnfor defense against the Eskimos. Tribes that lived near the encroachingrnEnglish faced “the choice of buying guns to defendrnthemselves, or else being killed or enslaved,” explains CharlesrnM. Hudson in Indians, Animals, and the Fur Trade.rnGuns were used for more than war. For the Plains Indians,rnthe combination of guns and horses (brought to the NewrnWorld by the Spanish) engendered a new era of material prosperity.rnHunting and survival became much easier, and thernstandard of living skyrocketed.rnNevertheless, the firearm remained a symbol of white superiority.rnMost tribes did not know how to make gunpowder. AlthoughrnIndians became adept at firing guns, they still could notrnmanufacture or repair them. A malfunctioning rifle was apt tornbe coerced with fire, water, and brute force. Weapons were alsorndesfroyed through neglect and lack of maintenance. Moreover,rnthe gun trade itself drew the Indians into an economicallyrndependent relationship with the whites.rnAs Indian cultures faced extermination, prophets arose. Byrnreturning to the old ways, the prophets said, to the ways beforernthe gun and whites and the technology that could never bernmastered, the tribes could restore harmony with the spirits.rnThe spiritual rejection of firearms and other white technologies,rnfirst preached by a Delaware in 1764, was taken up byrnPontiac in his efforts to unite all eastern tribes to push thernwhites into the sea. Haifa century later, as the whites were conqueringrnthe upper Midwest, the mystic Tenskwatawa imploredrnthe tribes of the Northwest Territory to reject firearms, alcohol,rnand other evils introduced by the Europeans. His half-brother,rnTecumseh, organized tribes from Alabama to North Carolinarnto Canada in a grand alliance to stop white expansion. Tecumsehrndisdained firearms because the explosions frightened therndeer. Practicality intervened, though, and the prophecy wasrnelaborated to allow guns for fighting the whites but not forrnhunting.rnThe frontier war against the Indians meant that, for over tworncenturies, many Americans were armed and ready to kill at arnmoment’s notice. Wliile the savage war between whites andrn)UNE 1999/21rnrnrn