Thomas N. Campbell

CHAGUANTAPAM INDIANS. Some confusion surrounds the name Chaguantapam, which was recorded in 1690 by Damián Massanet for one of the Indian groups living north of Matagorda Bay on the upper courses of the Lavaca and Navidad rivers, apparently in what is now Lavaca County. Massanet noted that other Indian groups lived in this same area, but he gave a name for only one of them, the Muruam. He said that these Indian groups all lived by hunting bison and collecting wild plant foods. The name Chaguantapam, given by Massanet, was misread by a Spanish copyist as Chaguastapa, which in turn was misread as Chagustapa by J. R. Swanton, who listed Chaguantapam and Chagustapa as names for two separate Indian groups. The erroneous name Chagustapa should be stricken from the record. Swanton thought that the Chaguantapam spoke the Coahuilteco language, but they lived farther to the east than any Indian groups firmly identifiable as Coahuilteco speakers. It has been suggested that Chaguantapam may be a variant of the name Siaguan, but this does not appear likely, for in the same year, 1690, Massanet saw Chaguan (Siaguan) Indians on the Nueces River some 175 miles west of the area in which he encountered the Chaguantapams. H. E. Bolton stated that Chaguantapam Indians were present at San Antonio de Valero Mission in San Antonio, but there is no clear record of this. In the Valero registers the name Chaguantapam occurs only once, in a baptismal entry of 1737, and this was corrected by insertion of the name Mallei (Mayeye). If there were Chaguantapam individuals at Valero, they were never recorded as being baptized, married, or buried there.

Lino Gómez Canedo, ed., Primeras exploraciones y poblamiento de Texas, 1686–1694 (Monterrey: Publicaciones del Instituto Technológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, 1968). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940).

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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, "CHAGUANTAPAM INDIANS," accessed May 24, 2019,

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

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