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TANPACUAZE INDIANS. The Tanpacuaze (Tampaquash, Tompacua) Indians may have been a group of Pakawas who moved down the Rio Grande from the Eagle Pass area in the middle eighteenth century. Tompacua is recorded as the Comecrudo name for the Pakawa Indians along the lower Rio Grande. As the Spaniards sometimes also referred to the Pakawas as Pintos, further confusion has arisen. Whatever its origin, the name Tanpacuaze is firmly entrenched in historical records as one of many small Coahuiltecan bands in northeastern Mexico and southern Texas. Tompacuas, a former small settlement in Hidalgo County, is evidently linked with the Tanpacuaze. Under the name Tampaquash, they figured in Indian raids on the Brownsville area as late as 1855. The argument of A. S. Gatschet that the Tanpacuazes were Karankawas who fled to Mexico in the middle of the nineteenth century does not appear to be valid, for the Tanpacuazes were mentioned as living near the Rio Grande as early as 1780. So far as is now known, there is no connection between the Tanpacuaze and the Tompacua Indians of Florida.


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). Dorman H. Winfrey and James M. Day, eds., Texas Indian Papers (4 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1959–61; rpt., 5 vols., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1966).

Thomas N. Campbell


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

Thomas N. Campbell, "TANPACUAZE INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.