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The Salt Wars and the Guadalupe Mountains

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90 miles east of El Paso on US 62/180 are extensive surface salt deposits in a desert bolson (a depression with no natural drainage) at the foot of the Guadalupe Mountains. White men first used those flats in mid 1600s, and the Indians likely used them, too. Salt served an important function in meat preservation, in addition to its value as a seasoning. Perhaps more crucial to the men who dug precious metals from the ground , salt was necessary for smelting silver. Silver mines in northern Mexico consumed tremendous quantities, and to meet this need at least two well-traveled salt trails jutted up from Mexico and fanned out though the region.

Flash forward to the 1860s, when corrupt El Paso politicians formed a "salt ring" and began charging fees for salt removal, the injustice of which led to the infamous salt wars of the 1860s and 1870s. The fighting ended in San Elizario with the surrender of a squad of Texas Rangers. Political assassinations and a congressional investigation followed, leading to numerous indictments and the resurrection of Fort Bliss.

Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 6th January 2020 7:51 pm