what were the roots of the American cattle boom of the post-Civil War years?
Longhorn cattle were introduced into the area that became the state of Texas by the Spanish who crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico.
Cattle have been raised in Texas from the time the Spanish attempted to establish missions and domesticate the Indians, beginning in the mid-18th century.
Because of the large areas of land suitable for open-range pasture, the number of cattle raised in Texas expanded as cattle drives supplied meat to the California goldfields and to military forts and Indian reservations in the southwestern territories during the 1850's.
After the Civil War, cattle drives resumed and expanded the territory through which they passed. Well-known trails such as the Chisholm and Goodnight-Loving trails supplied hundreds of thousands of head of cattle to markets or railheads, which arrived in Texas in the 1870's.