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SAMPANAL INDIANS. The Sampanal Indians were first recorded in 1670, under the distorted name Satzpanal, as one of many Indian groups from the north who had been raiding Spanish settlements near Monterrey and Saltillo. In 1688 they were reported near the site of modern Kinney County and identified as one of the Indian groups who followed Jean Jarry, a man who had deserted La Salle's Fort St. Louis on the Texas coast. In 1690–91 the Sampanals were twice seen farther to the east, in the valley of the Frio River, evidently in or near the area of future Frio County. This area they shared with fifteen other Indian groups because it afforded better protection from aggressive Apache groups of the Edwards Plateau area to the north. The Sampanal Indians may not have been very numerous in 1690–91, for there is no record of them later entering Spanish missions. They probably lost their ethnic identity through absorption by some larger Indian group. Damián Massanet's observations on Indian languages of Texas indicate that the Sampanals and their associates spoke the language now known as Coahuilteco. No other specific information is recorded about Sampanal culture.


Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Lino Gómez Canedo, ed., Primeras exploraciones y poblamiento de Texas, 1686–1694 (Monterrey: Publicaciones del Instituto Technológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, 1968). William B. Griffen, Culture Change and Shifting Populations in Central Northern Mexico (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1969). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959).

Thomas N. Campbell


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

Thomas N. Campbell, "SAMPANAL INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 24, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.