A surviving explorer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, provided one of the first impressions of the original peoples of Texas.
The “Inhabitants of Texas and Northern Mexico,” as de Vaca described them, were mostly naked and heavily tattooed. Among them were the Jumanos, the principal intermediaries among all of the cultures that fringed the southern Great Plains. These itinerate traders traversed this expanse and connected the Caddo villages in present-day East Texas with farmers in the Pueblo settlements of the Rio Grande and the Patarabueyes at La Junta de los Rios in the Big Bend Region. Word of the arrival and passage of the strange white men must have spread rapidly along these trade networks.