The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987

Angora Goats in Texas: Agricultural Innovation
on the Edwards Plateau, 1858-9oo
DOUGLAS E. BARNETT*
DOMESTICATED LIVESTOCK HAVE BEEN SYNONYMOUS WITH THE EURO-
pean occupation of Texas since Spanish explorers and settlers
brought cattle, horses, sheep, and goats into the region in the seven-
teenth century. Anglo-American colonization in the early nineteenth
century led to the introduction of improved breeds then becoming
popular in the United States, and, in 1836, independence from Mexico
opened wide the doors to American and European immigrants willing
to experiment with new and different animals in settling the Lone Star
State. While the Civil War slowed these activities, the end of the war saw
a veritable explosion in stock raising as large and profitable open-range
industries developed. Among the most successful efforts of livestock
raisers in nineteenth-century Texas was the introduction of Angora
goats.
A descendant of the Persian wild goat (Capra hircus aegagrus), the An-
gora goat takes its name from the Ankara province of Turkey, where it
has been prized for centuries for its long, silky white hair, known as
mohair. Today, mohair is valued primarily as a specialty fiber used in
clothing, draperies, furniture upholstery, and carpets, and most of the
world supply is raised in three countries: South Africa, the United
States, and Turkey, with each country producing about 47 percent, 28
percent, and 16 percent of the world clip, respectively, according to
1986 estimates. Ninety-seven percent of American mohair is produced
in Texas, where production centers on the rugged, semi-arid Edwards
*Douglas E. Barnett works for the Texas State Historical Association as associate editor for
research on the Handbook of Texas. He is a doctoral candidate in the geography department at
the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently doing field research for his dissertation,
"Ranching as Dwelling, Place and Placemaking on the Upper Medina River." He would like to
thank Robin W. Doughty, associate professor of geography at the University of Texas at Austin,
and the staff of the Barker Texas History Center for their assistance in the preparation of this
article.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/. Accessed August 21, 2014.