Thomas N. Campbell

CAVA INDIANS. The Cava (Caba, Cagua, Caouache, Lava) Indians lived on the coastal plain north of Matagorda Bay and between the Guadalupe and Colorado rivers in the late seventeenth century and during the first half of the eighteenth century. When encountered by Europeans they were usually occupying settlements jointly with other groups, especially Cantona, Emet, Sana, Toho, and Tohaha Indians. Between 1740 and 1750 some of the Cavas entered San Antonio de Valero Mission at San Antonio. The linguistic and cultural affiliations of the Cava Indians are still debatable. Most writers have said that the Cavas were probably Tonkawan; however, others have suggested either a Karankawan or a Coahuiltecan affiliation. Attempts to link the Cava Indians with various groups encountered by the La Salle party, such as Kabaye and Kouyam Indians, are not very convincing.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). William W. Newcomb, The Indians of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961). A. F. Sjoberg, "The Culture of the Tonkawa, A Texas Indian," Texas Journal of Science 5 (September 1953). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1968).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas N. Campbell, "Cava Indians," accessed March 18, 2018,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.