Archaeologists trace Comanche origins to the western Great Basin in what is now the far northwest U.S. The nomadic Comanche migrated and eventually arrived on the Great Plains, where in their heyday, they were known as the "Lords of the Plains," renowned for their horsemanship and shrewd trading prowess. Eventually the Comanche dominated trade on the southern plains and participated in a trade network that connected the Mississippi River Valley with the Rockies and Texas with the Missouri River. Their close relationship with the Kiowas is thought to have begun sometime around 1800.
Pressure from white settlement of the plains increased after the end of the Civil War. Treaty councils, ongoing reduction of the lands they controlled and increased military pressure eventually brought economic collapse and forced the Comanche onto a reservation, and by then their population had fallen to about 1,600. The reservation system led to drastic changes in their culture and the ensuing 1901 allotment devastated the tribe. By the time of the Indian New Deal, also known as the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, half of the Comanche were landless. Over the next few decades the Comanche worked to recover, sharing a joint constitution and business committee with the Plains Apaches and Kiowa from 1936-1963.
The Plains soldier tradition runs strong in the Comanche. Some worked as scouts at Fort Sill, others served in American military, and in World War II Comanche code Talkers were renowned for using their native language to relay military orders and information, a code the Germans were unable to break. Numerous events honor veterans, and the Comanche have a variety of dance associations that today preserve their heritage and identity along with the Comanche Language and Cultural Preservation Committee, Comanche Nation Historic Preservation Office, and the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center.