The Battle Over Salt
True West|December 2020
The San Elizario salt flats were the prize in a Texas feud.
MARK BOARDMAN
People fought over a lot of things in the West. Precious metals. Grazing lands. Water. Even salt. Yep, that white mineral was the subject of a long-term feud southeast of El Paso near the town of San Elizario.

It started just after the Civil War. Local Hispanics—on both sides of the border— claimed traditional community rights to the salt deposits, which were used to preserve meat and more. But in 1866, the Texas Constitution allowed individuals to claim mineral rights to the area. Many of them were Anglos. The struggle was on. And it had racial/ethnic and national overtones.

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