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Han Indians

Thomas N. Campbell General Entry

The Han Indians are known only from the narrative of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who encountered them in the vicinity of Galveston Bay in 1528. Since other Europeans did not visit this section of the Texas coast until some 150 years later, it is difficult to link the Hans with later coastal Indian groups. Some writers have argued that the Hans were Karankawans, but most consider them Atakapans, probably ancestors of the Akokisas who lived in this area during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Linguistic evidence supports this identification. In both Akokisa and Atakapa hañ is the word for "house."

Adolph F. Bandelier, ed., The Journey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528–1536 (New York: Barnes, 1905). Albert S. Gatschet and J. R. Swanton, A Dictionary of the Atakapa Language (Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 108, Washington: GPO, 1932). 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). John R. Swanton, The Indians of the Southeastern United States (Washington: GPO, 1946).


  • 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, “Han Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995