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Texas, Tejas, Taysha

Bald CypressCredit: Getty Images

The popular story to the naming of TEXAS is that it came from the indigenous Caddo tribe, who in 1689 welcomed the Spanish missionary, Franciscan Damián Massanet as TAYSHA, meaning friend. There is another version, however, proposed by professor Jorge Garcia Ruiz. He explains that years before, in 1606, Spanish explorers had already named the territory TEJAS, when they came upon “El Reino de los Tejas” or Kingdom of the Tejas, where Bald Cypress trees grew on the river banks. These trees, Tejos or Tejas, are related to the Taxodium family of trees that grow in Spain.
One can say that the SH of Taysha was replaced by the X in Texas. But the X in Spanish was J, which sounds like HA (Tejas).Whichever theory you believe, the Bald Cypress and the Caddo Tribes are both part of the landscape and history of the area.
The Caddo trace their descent through the maternal line. They were the most advanced Native American culture in Texas. They lived in tall, grass-covered houses in large settlements with highly structured social, religious and political systems, and were known for their cultivation of corn (maize), beans, squash and other crops, and their beautiful ceramics. Caddos became leading traders as Europeans moved into their areas. By the early 1840s, the Caddos moved west from East Texas, to the Brazos River area to try to escape the relentless pressure of American expansion. Today Caddos reside in Caddo County near Binger, Oklahoma.

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