We sometimes forget how vacant Texas was in the early 1800’s.
Here is a link to census info about early Texas. In 1792 there were 2,992 people in Texas, mostly in San Antonio and along the Rio Grande.
But this number leaves out the Native Americans. The Texas Handbook states that the population of Texas in 1821 was 3,500 white settlers and 20,000 Indians. So, the entire population of Texas (which included New Mexico and parts of Oklahoma), would not fill a modern football stadium.
Early settlers must have felt the land was vacant–the Comanche were hard to find except when they were raiding. The Comanche were nomadic, their populations was sparse, they did not raise crops, and they had the vast plains on which to live. The Comanche had little room for feelings of land ownership. It would have been like a sailor claiming 20 acres of ocean as his own.
The Spanish and Anglo settlers brought concepts of land ownership to Texas, when land ownership concepts did not previously exist. In most cases, the settlers would not have felt they were stealing “owned” land. The inevitable conquest of agrarian civilization over hunter/gatherer existence occurred in prehistory in much of the world, but we don’t give the morality of the prehistory agrarian-based conquest a second thought.
In Texas, the agrarian conquest occurred in recorded history. It was inevitable, but there is room for feelings of loss and shame that are as old as the Garden of Eden. The morality of the “taking” of Native American hunting grounds is a little less questionable when we realize how different things were in the past.