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Thomas N. Campbell

MALAGUITA INDIANS. The Malaguita (Malaguite, Malagueco, Maraquita, Marahuiayo, Marhita, and other variants) are known primarily from the eighteenth century. During this period they seem to have ranged widely on both sides of the lower Rio Grande in southern Texas and northern Tamaulipas. This range must have included at least the lower part of present-day Padre Island, since one of its Spanish names was La Isla de los Malaguitas. During the first half of the eighteenth century the Malaguitas participated in Indian raids on Spanish settlements of northeastern Nuevo León. In the second half of the same century Malaguita families entered missions distributed over a large area in Texas and northeastern Mexico: Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, San Francisco de la Espada, and San Juan Capistrano at San Antonio; Nuestra Señora del Refugio at present Refugio, Texas; San Agustín de Laredo and San José de Camargo at Camargo, northern Tamaulipas; and San Bernardo and San Juan Bautista near modern Guerrero, northeastern Coahuila. It is evident that the Malaguitas lost their identity through dispersion and absorption into local mission Indian populations in both Texas and Mexico. Swanton listed the Malaguita Indians as probable Coahuiltecan-speakers, but some doubt remains about their linguistic status. Attempts to equate the Malaguita with the Maliacone Indians recorded by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in the 1530s are not very convincing, although it must be admitted that the two groups seem to have lived in the same general area. Occasionally it is stated that the Malaguitas were Apache, but all the available evidence is to the contrary.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Guide to Materials for the History of the United States in the Principal Archives of Mexico (Washington: Carnegie Institution, 1913). Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Jack Autrey Dabbs, trans., The Texas Missions in 1785 (Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic Historical Society 3.6 [January 1940]). Joseph Antonio Fernández de Jáuregui Urrutia, Description of Nuevo León, Mexico (1735–1740), ed. Malcolm D. McLean and Eugenio del Hoyo (Monterrey: Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores, 1964). 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). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

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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, "MALAGUITA INDIANS," accessed July 24, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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