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Spanish college official meets Indian lady

April
30
1768

On this day in 1768, Gaspar José de Solís wrote in his diary of a striking encounter with a Tejas Indian woman in what is now Houston County. Fray Solís was inspecting missions for the College of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas. His diary presents a valuable contemporary account of the missions, country, and Indians of Texas. The woman, Santa Adiva, held high status in her village. There, Solís writes, the inhabitants were nearly naked, "much painted with vermillion and other colors," and wearing beads and feathers. Solís states that the Indians were "great thieves and drunkards because whiskey and wine are furnished to them by the French." Santa Adiva, whose name was said to mean "great lady" or "principal lady" and who was accorded queen-like status, lived in a large, multi-room house, to which other Indians brought gifts. Solís reports that she had five husbands and many servants.

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