Limita Indians

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: September 1, 1995

The Limita (Lemita) Indians ranged over the area of eastern New Mexico and adjoining portions of western Texas, largely south of the Canadian River, during the late seventeenth century. One of many Plains Apache groups, they seem to have been an early Lipan band. While the origin of their name remains a mystery, it has been speculated that it could have been derived from the name of the band's chief. The Limitas were either closely associated with the Trementina Indians or perhaps were the same people. In contemporary documents, both names were sometimes equated with Cipayne, the name from which Lipan probably evolved, and with Faraon, Spanish for "pharoah." Spanish documents mention the Limitas as a warlike group often hostile to the New Mexico pueblos and towns; their reputation as thieves was notorious among Spanish military leaders like Juan de Ulibarri, who traveled among them. In 1715 the Limitas were among the Apache bands who staged a raid on the pueblos of Taos and Pecurís, taking livestock and carrying several women and children into captivity. A retaliatory expedition led by Capt. Juan Paez Hurtado ended in failure when the Spaniards and their Indian auxiliaries found that their intended quarry had scattered and momentarily abandoned their rancheritas on the upper Canadian. It was suspected that residents of Pecos Pueblo, who carried on a brisk trade with these Apache bands, had informed them of the Spaniards' movements. After the Comanches had invaded the Llano Estacado, the Limitas are thought to have been among the bands that fled toward the southwest and subsequently merged with the Mescalero Apaches.

José M. Espinosa, Crusaders of the Rio Grande: The Story of Don Diego de Vargas and the Reconquest and Refounding of New Mexico (Chicago: Institute of Jesuit History, 1942). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). Albert H. Schroeder, A Study of the Apache Indians: The Mescalero Apaches, Part III, Vol. 1 (New York: Garland, 1974). Alfred B. Thomas, After Coronado: Spanish Exploration Northeast of New Mexico, 1696–1717 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1935).


  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Tribes (Other)

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

H. Allen Anderson, “Limita Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 26, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995