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Pajalat Indians

Thomas N. Campbell General Entry

The Pajalat (Cajalate, Pajalac, Pajalache, Pajalatam, Pallalat, Paxolot, and numerous other variants) Indians are known only from the eighteenth century. Their aboriginal range seems to have been the area immediately south of San Antonio, between the Frio and the San Antonio rivers. Many Pajalats moved to San Antonio and entered Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña and San Francisco de la Espada missions when they were established there in 1731. A Pajalat chief was the first governor of the Indian settlement associated with Concepción Mission. These Indians seem to have left at least a temporary mark on local geography at San Antonio. The acequía or main irrigation canal at Concepción was known as the Pajalache or Concepción ditch, and as late as 1820 an eminence in the vicinity of San Antonio was known as Los Pajalaches Hill. The Pajalats are not to be confused with the Pachalaques, who were also at Concepción. The separateness of Pajalat and Pachalaque Indians is supported by mission records, which list individuals of both groups on the same page and include one reference to the marriage of a Pajalat to a Pachalaque. A few Pajalat Indians from San Antonio seem to have found their way to Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission after it was moved to the site of present Refugio in 1791. The record clearly shows that the Pajalats spoke a Coahuiltecan dialect.

Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Jack Autrey Dabbs, trans., The Texas Missions in 1785 (Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic Historical Society 3.6 [January 1940]). Marion A. Habig, The Alamo Chain of Missions (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1968; rev. ed. 1976). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). Richard Santos, "A Preliminary Survey of the San Fernando Archives," Texas Libraries 28 (Winter 1966–67). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940). Virginia H. Taylor, trans. and ed., The Letters of Antonio Martínez, Last Spanish Governor of Texas, 1817–1822 (Austin: Texas State Library, 1957). Carl I. Wheat, Mapping the Transmissippi West, 1540–1861 (San Francisco: Institute of Historical Cartography, 1957–63).


  • 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, “Pajalat Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 13, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995