Coco Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: June 23, 2020

The Coco (Caaucozi, Caocasi, Cascossi, Coke, Quaqui, Quoaque) Indians were Karankawans who lived near the Gulf Coast between the Lavaca and Brazos rivers. They were most frequently linked with the lower Colorado River in the area now covered by Colorado, Wharton, and Matagorda counties. Most writers have identified the Coaque (Caoque) of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca with the Coco of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but this cannot be established beyond question. A. S. Gatschet equated the Biskatronge with the Coco without giving any apparent reason for doing so. The Coco Indians first became known through documents of the La Salle expedition, which recorded them under the name Quoaque. Coco was the most commonly used Spanish designation for these people; the Anglo Americans referred to the Coco as Coke. In the latter half of the eighteenth century the Coco were represented at various Spanish missions-San Antonio de Valero at San Antonio, San lldefonso and Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria on the San Gabriel River near the site of future Rockdale, Nuestra Señora del Rosario near the site of modern Goliad, and Nuestra Señora del Refugio near the site that became Refugio. Some of the Coco remained in their ancestral area along the lower Colorado River, where they were encountered by Anglo American colonists in the early nineteenth century. Later these Coco merged with remnants of other Karankawan groups and became known as Karankawas. The Karankawa Indians became extinct by 1858.

Herbert E. Bolton, "The Founding of the Missions on the San Gabriel River, 1745–1749," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 17 (April 1914). Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Albert S. Gatschet, The Karankawa Indians, the Coast People of Texas (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, 1891). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). John Gilmary Shea, Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley (New York: Redfield, 1852).

  • 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, “Coco Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 23, 2020