At the Edge of an Empire
The Spanish Frontier
French Louisiana
The Caddo
From Mission to Capital
The Caddo
The Caddo Indians have a long history in the Red River Valley region of what is now Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. In fact, archaeologists have found that the Caddo cultural tradition began in this region more than 1000 years ago. The first written description of the Caddo Indians was by the Hernando de Soto expedition in the 1500s. The Spanish writer remarked on the high quality of Caddo pottery. The Caddos were a powerful group, and dealt with the Europeans as equals. In the early 1700s, they invited both the Spanish and French into their land, and traded with them.
A Caddo village around 1870 Caddo pot
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Louisiana Caddo
The various divisions of Caddo came to be known collectively as “the Caddo.” The name derives from the most prominent of this group, the Kadohadacho, or “Sharp Chiefs.” The Adaes and Natchitoches are names of other Caddo groups. Adaes is the Caddoan word for “place along a stream” and Natchitoches is the Caddoan word for “place of the pawpaw” (a wild fruit). Many Caddo groups designated themselves with a place name. The location, “na” often precedes tribal names. The name of another Caddo group, the Nacogdoches, means “place of the persimmon.” Historically, there were two main divisions of Caddoan-speaking peoples in the area—western and eastern. The Adaes appear to have been tied more to the western Hasinai peoples, while the Natchitoches were connected more to the eastern Kadohadacho peoples along the Red River.
Suggested Reading
Carter, Cecile Elkins 1995 Caddo Indians. Where We Come From. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Perttula, Timothy K. 1992 "The Caddo Nation": Archaeological and Ethnohistoric Perspectives. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Smith, F. Todd 1995 The Caddo Indians: Tribes at the Convergence of Empires, 1542-1854. Texas A & M University Press, College Station.