Coapite Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 1, 1995

The Coapite (Coapiste, Guapica, Guapite) Indians were Karankawans who, when first reported by this name in the eighteenth century, lived on the Texas coast near Matagorda Bay, where they were closely associated with the Cujanes and Karankawas proper. In 1722 Espíritu Santo de Zuñiga Mission was established for these Indians near Matagorda Bay, but hostilities between Spaniards and Indians soon led to its removal. In 1754 the Spanish again attempted to missionize the Coapites and their Karankawan associates by establishing Nuestra Señora del Rosario Mission near the site of future Goliad. The Coapites were periodically in and out of this mission until as late as 1831. During this period a few Coapite Indians entered Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña Mission at San Antonio. Some of the Coapites also entered Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission when it was founded in 1793 and were reported as being there until 1828. After this, remnants of the Coapite Indians seem to have merged with the group known to the Anglo American settlers as Karankawas, who disappeared in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Herbert E. Bolton, "The Founding of Mission Rosario: A Chapter in the History of the Gulf Coast," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 10 (October 1906). H. E. Bolton, "Records of the Mission of Nuestra Señora del Refugio," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 14 (October 1910). Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). William E. Dunn, "The Founding of Nuestra Señora del Refugio, the Last Spanish Mission in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 25 (January 1922). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). William H. Oberste, History of Refugio Mission (Refugio, Texas: Refugio Timely Remarks, 1942).
  • 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, “Coapite Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995