The Texas Longhorn became the foundation of the American cattle industry by claiming first rights in the untamed, newly discovered Americas a little over 500 years ago. In 1493, Christopher Columbus brought Spanish cattle to Santa Domingo, and within two hundred years their descendants would be grazing the ranges of Mexico.
In 1690, the first herd of cattle, only about 200 head, were driven northward from Mexico to a mission near the Sabine River – a land that would become known as Texas. The early missions and ranchers would not survive all of the elements, but the Texas Longhorn would.
By the time of the Civil War, nearly 300 years after setting foot in America, millions of longhorns ranged between the mesquite-dotted sandy banks of the Rio Bravo to the sand beds of the Sabine. Most of the Longhorns were unbranded, survivors of Indian raids, scattered by stampedes and weather, escaped from missions or abandoned after ranch failures.
The survivors of the Civil War returned home to Texas to find abandoned ranches, unplowed farm fields and herds of wild cattle, which would soon become gold in their pockets. In the next quarter century, 10 million head were trailed north to fatten on lush midwestern grasses or shipped directly by rail to the beef-hungry East.
Longhorns, groomed by Mother Nature, carried the ideal characteristics of resistance. They were tremendous for long drives. They could go incredible distances without water, rustle their own food, fend for themselves, swim rivers, survive the desert sun and winter snow.
At the turn of the century, sundown came for the Texas Longhorn. It took less than 40 years, fenced land, plows and an overwhelming demand in the marketplace to drive the longhorn closer to extinction than that of the buffalo.
In 1927, to ensure their preservation, a herd with the help of the Federal Government was established at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. From this point forward more breeders started raising private stock, recognizing the value of the Texas Longhorns. Out of this grew the need for establishing breed standards and a direct line of communication between longhorn producers.
In 1964, the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA) was formed. The purpose of the association was to recognize the Texas Longhorn and its link with American history, to promote awareness of the Texas Longhorn, to recognize present breeders, to encourage others to develop and maintain herds and most importantly protect and preserve this magnificent breed of cattle.
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to learn more about the TLBAA and the history of our breed.