Thomas N. Campbell

PATZAU INDIANS. The Indian name Patzau evidently contained sounds that were difficult to render in the alphabet used by Spaniards, for over seventy variants of the name appear in primary and secondary documents, although some are clearly the product of modern errors. Confusion can be avoided by careful analysis of the documentary contexts of each name variant. Lack of such analysis has resulted in the interpretation of four Patzau name variants as the names of four separate ethnic groups (Pachaquen, Pachaug, Psaupsau, and Pausay). Only in 1690 and 1691 were Patzau Indians recorded as seen in native encampments, and in those years they were sharing the encampments with remnants of at least fifteen additional Indian groups. The encampments were located on the Frio and Nueces rivers, southwest of the site of modern San Antonio, and it is said that all of these Indians spoke the same language, the language now known as Coahuilteco. Prior to 1690 the Patzaus may have lived farther to the west, for in 1684, when he was in the western part of the Edwards Plateau, Juan Domínguez de Mendoza named Pucha (Patzau) as one of the Indian groups who were being harassed by Apaches and seeking protection from Spaniards. After 1700 some of the Patzaus entered three missions of northeastern Coahuila (San Bernardo, San Francisco Solano, and San Juan Bautista), but more of them entered San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio, in whose surviving registers fifty-six Patzau individuals are recorded for a period of forty-five years (1720–65). During this time the various missionaries who served at Valero recorded the name Patzau in thirty different ways. Nothing is specifically recorded about Patzau culture, but in 1708 a missionary at San Bernardo (Coahuila) referred to Patzau Indians as still living north of the Rio Grande, and he further noted that Indian groups of that area lived in small, grass-covered huts and brought in painted deer and bison hides for trade with Spaniards.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Thomas N. Campbell, Ethnohistoric Notes on Indian Groups Associated with Three Spanish Missions at Guerrero, Coahuila (Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1979). 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). Richard Santos, "A Preliminary Survey of the San Fernando Archives," Texas Libraries 28 (Winter 1966–67). 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, "PATZAU INDIANS," accessed June 17, 2019,

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

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