Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991 Page: 14
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Map produced in 1691 of a Caddo Village located along the Red River. The archaeological deposits from this village have been located in northern Bowie
County, Texas. (Reproduced from the J.P. Bryan Collection, Barker Texas History Center, The University of Texas at Austin.)
and food and enter what is today Texas.
At this point in the expedition, the
Spaniards' most immediate need was to
find food to feed their army of several
hundred men. They had realized that the
easiest way to obtain sufficient food was to
take it from the Indians-often at great
devastation to the natives and their towns.
Large villages were often the best supplied,
and from their previous experience they
knew that during the summer large stores of
corn would be available. What the Spaniards
did not realize, however, was that not
all Texas Indians grew corn. Generally as
one moves from east to west through the
state, the indigenous peoples relied more
on naturally occurring plants and animals
for their sustenance. This was a lesson yet
to be learned by the Spaniards.
On July 20, 1542, the expedition approached
the province ofNaguatex, a major
settlement of Caddo Indians living along
the Red River in Texas. Indians attacked
Moscoso and his men, and they battled.
The Spaniards ultimately prevailed, as they
did in all battles with the Indians because
of their chain-mail armor, crossbows, metal
swords and axes (halberds), and horses. In
particular the horses enabled the soldiers to
have greater mobility and overall tactical
advantage. The Indians, who had none of
these things, were only equipped with stonetipped
arrows that were no match for
Spanish armor. The Spaniards inflicted
heavy casualities and great cruelty upon
At the conclusion of the battle near
Naguatex, Moscoso had one Indian brought
back alive. We quote from the Elvas narrative
to understand the fate of the captive.
"...asked by the Governor who they were
that had come to give battle, [the captured
Indian] said the [chief] of Naguatex, the
one of Maye, and another of a province
called Hacanac, lord of great territories and
numerous vassals. The Governor.. ordered
his right arm to be cut off, and his nose, sent
him to the [chief], with word that [Moscoso]
would march the next day into his territory
to destroy it, and that if he wished to
dispute his entrance to await him."
On the following day they entered the
province of Naguatex. The identification
of this Indian village has consumed considerable
debate. Some suggest a location
near Shreveport, while others place it in
southwestern Arkansas directly east of
Texarkana. We argue, however, that careful
reading of the narratives and a comparison
with the archaeological record and
pertinent geographical features require that
we place Naguatex on the Texas side of the
Dr. Frank Schambach of the Arkansas
Archaeological Survey has noted the
similarity of the description of Naguatex
to an old map of a Caddo village on the Red
River north of Texarkana. This map was
made by a Spanish expedition in 1691.
14 HERITAGE * FALL 1991
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991, periodical, Autumn 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45425/m1/14/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.