The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 114
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
taking, it would, indeed, be small. But such is not the case, for the
project of a Karankawan mission was an index of plans affecting an
entire geographical region, and the story of its foundation reveals
the motives underlying these plans and the conditions attending
their execution. It is but fair to state that the circumstances of
the preparation of the sketch have made necessarily brief the treat-
ment of these broader considerations, and have determined its em-
phasis upon the Spanish relations with the coast tribes and the
inner history of the mission.
1. The Karankawan Tribes About Matagorda Bay.
When 'at the close of the seventeeth century the French and the
Spaniards first attempted to occupy the Gulf coast in the neighbor-
hood of Matagorda Bay, that region was the home of a group of
native tribes now called Karankawan from their best known divi-
sion. The principal tribes of this group, using the most common
Spanish forms of the names, were the Cujanes, Carancaguases,
Guapites (or Coapites), Cocos, and Copanes. They were closely
interrelated, and all apparently spoke dialects of the same language,
which was different from that of their neighbors farther inland.'
Though the Carancaguas tribe has finally given its name to the
group, it was not always the one best known to the Europeans or
regarded by them as the leading one, for in the middle of the 18th
century four of the tribes, at least, including the Carancaguas,
were frequently considered collectively under the name Cvjanes.2
As these Indians did not occupy fixed localities, and as they
mingled freely with each other, it is difficult to assign definite
territorial limits to the different tribes; and yet in a general way
1The relation above asserted between these four tribes has not hitherto
been established by ethnologists, nor do the scope and purpose of this
article justify inserting here the evidence to prove it. Such evidence is
not lacking, however, and will be published, it is hoped, in another place.
The only essay in print on the Karankawan Indians is that by Dr.
Gatschet, The Karankawa Indians, in Archlogical and Ethnological
Papers of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Vol. I, No. 2, 1891.)
Recent work in the Mexican and the Texas archives has made accessible a
great deal of material unused by him.
'Captain -Manuel Ramirez de la Piszina, of Bahia del Espiritu Santo,
calls them "the four nations, who, under the name of Coxanes, have been
reduced. They are the Cojanes, Guapittes, Carancaguases, and Copanes"
(Letter to the viceroy, Dec. 26, 1751). This is only one of several in-
stances of this usage of the word Cujanes that might be cited.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907, periodical, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/134/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.