Spanish Attack on Coahuiltecan Group

In 1665, an expedition made up of Spanish and Indian participants attacked a party of mounted south Texas Indians on the Nueces River, near the present-day town of Cotulla.

A long history of raids and brutalities by the Spanish preceded this attack. From the late 1500s onward, Spanish had raided encampments of Indians of the north, capturing slaves to bring back for labor in the mines. As more Spanish settlers moved to the north, settling in ranchos along the Rio Grande and in villas near the missions, Indian raiders (predominantly Lipan Apache and other Plains groups) stepped up attacks, killing settlers and stealing thousands of cattle and horses.

The more typical picture of local indigenous groups plodding from place to place in search of food does not allow for the fact that numerous local groups in south Texas, collectively referred to here as Coahuiltecans, had access to horses and were engaged in trade with other groups from points far afield. These relationships also hastened the spread of their perhaps most lethal enemy—disease.

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Illustration of the Spanish flag