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The Karankawa Indians

The Karankawa Indians were a nomadic people who lived along the east coast of Texas, between Galveston Island and Corpus Christi. After they were shipwrecked in 1528 on what is thought to be Galveston Island, Cabeza de Vaca and his men were given food and shelter by a band of Karankawas.

The Karankawas took Cabeza de Vaca and his men to their village and gave them food and a hut to live in. According to Cabeza de Vaca, they "acted in every way hospitably, we felt reassured and somewhat lost our anxiety of the sacrificial knife."

At first, the expedition feared that the Karankawas were cannibals. Later, Cabeza de Vaca found out differently when the Karankawas became disgusted and very angry when told that a group of Spanish troops had eaten each other.

The Karankawas lived in portable wickiup huts in large villages of perhaps several hundred people. Depending on the availability of food, they lived in different parts of Texas at different times of the year.

By the year 1850, the Karankawas had all disappeared. Spanish slave traders, disease, harsh treatment, and war with the French all contributed to the total destruction of their culture.   [more]
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