Cava Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 1, 1995

The Cava (Caba, Cagua, Caouache, Lava) Indians lived on the coastal plain north of Matagorda Bay and between the Guadalupe and Colorado rivers in the late seventeenth century and during the first half of the eighteenth century. When encountered by Europeans they were usually occupying settlements jointly with other groups, especially Cantona, Emet, Sana, Toho, and Tohaha Indians. Between 1740 and 1750 some of the Cavas entered San Antonio de Valero Mission at San Antonio. The linguistic and cultural affiliations of the Cava Indians are still debatable. Most writers have said that the Cavas were probably Tonkawan; however, others have suggested either a Karankawan or a Coahuiltecan affiliation. Attempts to link the Cava Indians with various groups encountered by the La Salle party, such as Kabaye and Kouyam Indians, are not very convincing.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). William W. Newcomb, The Indians of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961). A. F. Sjoberg, "The Culture of the Tonkawa, A Texas Indian," Texas Journal of Science 5 (September 1953). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1968).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Tribes (Other)

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

Thomas N. Campbell, “Cava Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995