Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology




The De Soto chronicles introduce us to the Caddo Indian peoples of East Texas in what we can arbitrarily call “historic times.” The Gentleman of Elvas had this to say when the Spaniards reached the Caddo province of Naguatex on the Red River in the Great Bend area of southwestern Arkansas in August of 1542.

The cacique [of Naguatex], on beholding the damage that his land was receiving [from the Spanish forces], sent six of his principal men and three Indians with them as guides who knew the language of the region ahead where the governor [Luis de Moscoso] was about to go. He immediately left Naguatex and after marching three days reached a town of four or five houses, belonging to the cacique of that miserable province, called Nisohone. It was a poorly populated region and had little maize. Two days later, the guides who were guiding the governor, if they had to go toward the west, guided then toward the east, and sometimes they went through dense forests, wandering off the road. The governor ordered them hanged from a tree, and an Indian women, who had been captured at Nisohone, guided them, and he went back to look for the road.

Despite the “miserable” condition of the lands traversed by the Spaniards in Caddo country, the Caddo were successful agriculturists, with a Mississippian societal flavor, as well as bison hunters when they were first described in 1542 by the Spanish expedition.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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