A complex mosaic of post oak and blackjack oak forests interspersed with prairies, the Cross Timbers covers a north-south belt of southern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma, and North Central Texas. Home to Native Americans over several thousand years, the Cross Timbers became a barrier to westward expansion in the nineteenth century, until roads and railroads opened it up to farmers and ranchers, coal miners, and modern city developers, all of whom changed its character in far-reaching ways.This landmark book fully describes the natural environment of the Cross Timbers and the role that people have played in transforming the region. Richard Francaviglia opens with a natural history that discusses the region's geography and geology, vegetation, and climate. He then traces the interaction of people and the landscape, from the earliest Native American inhabitants and European explorers to the developers and residents of today's ever-expanding cities and suburbs. Many historical and contemporary maps and photographs illustrate the text.