While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Thomas N. Campbell

MARIAME INDIANS. The Mariame (Marian, Mariane, Mariave) Indians were those with whom Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca lived for a while between 1528 and 1534. Their precise location cannot be determined, but it is generally held that the Mariames lived near but not on the Texas coast, somewhere in the vicinity of Matagorda Bay. Certain features of Mariame culture were briefly described by Cabeza de Vaca. The Mariames have long been equated with the Muruam Indians, who lived at the San Antonio de Valero Mission during the eighteenth century but were first recorded in 1707 as living in the vicinity of present Eagle Pass. When one considers the fact that the Mariames were reported some 175 years before the Muruam Indians became known and also that the two groups lived in widely separated areas, the identification of Mariame with Muruam becomes questionable. Herbert E. Bolton once suggested that the Mariame Indians may have been the same as the Mahuame Indians, but the same criticism applies. The Mahuames, who were first recorded in 1674, lived in northeastern Coahuila. It is of interest to note that no one has suggested identification of the Mariames with the Mariguan Indians of southern Tamaulipas. The Mariguans did not live much farther from the Mariames than the Muruams and Mahuames of northeastern Coahuila. The question of Mariame identity is still open.

Adolph F. Bandelier, ed., The Journey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528–1536 (New York: Barnes, 1905). 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).

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: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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, "MARIAME INDIANS," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bmm18.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...