The Friendly Texas Caddos
The word "Texas" is said to mean "friend". That definition originated from Spanish explorers who encountered a Caddo settlement in which the people or the place was named "Tejas". They found these east Texas Indians to be friendly, helpful or even life-saving. The true origin and meaning of the word may never be known.
The Caddos of east Texas and west Louisiana were perhaps the most culturally developed and complex of the many civilizations that existed in the region before European contact. They were successful agriculturists, who lived in productive communities. They were part of the larger mound-builder culture that thrived for thousands of years throughout the greater network of Gulf Coast tributaries. They traded technologies and goods between the eastern and western tribes.
While searching for the Mississippi River, French explorer Robert Cavalier Sieur de la Salle toured Caddo communities before he died in east Texas in 1686. A group within the realm of the Caddo is recorded by early Spanish visitors as the Tejas. The Spanish may have considered the Tejas to be their allies. Spanish missions were established around 1690, including the Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, near the prominent mound sites and corn fields east of present-day Crockett, Texas.
Tejas became the name of the Spanish province, later the republic, and then the state of Texas. For more information, see the website of the Friends of Caddoan Mounds and King's Road.
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