The Quems were a group of American Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 that were recorded as having settled along both banks of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 in what is now Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 (United States) and Coahuila
Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico...

 (Mexico). A group of hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s, they are known to have settled around present-day Eagle Pass
Eagle Pass, Texas
Eagle Pass is a city in and the county seat of Maverick County The population was 27,183 as of the 2010 census.Eagle Pass borders the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, which is to the southwest and across the Rio Grande. The Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras Metropolitan Area is one of six...

 and Piedras Negras
Piedras Negras, Coahuila
-Natural Resources:This region generates a large amount of the national production of coal, one of the most economically important non-metallic minerals in the state.-Tourism:Piedras Negras' main tourist attractions are:...

. Damián Massanet
Damián Massanet
Damián Massanet was a Spanish Franciscan priest who co-founded the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, the first missionary college in New Spain.HI!!!!Not much is known of Massanet's early life, but he is believed to have been born in Majorca...

 also recorded them, in 1691, as one of six groups of Indians encountered along a stream called "Caramanchel"; this appears to correspond with today's Comanche Creek in the southwestern part of Zavala County
Zavala County, Texas
Zavala County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of 2000, the population was 11,600. Its county seat is Crystal City. Zavala is named for Lorenzo de Zavala, Mexican politician, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and first vice president of the Republic of...

. Massenet implied that all six groups spoke a language now known as Coahuilteco.

In 1689, Alonso De León
Alonso De León
Alonso de León wasexplorer and governor, who led several expeditions into the area that is now northeastern Mexico and southern Texas.-Early life:...

 was led by two Indian guides to the site of Fort St. Louis
Fort St. Louis
Fort St. Louis or Fort Saint Louis or Fort Ste. Louis may mean one of several French forts of the late 17th century, two of which were founded by explorer La Salle:...

, built by Sieur de la Salle along Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay
Matagorda Bay is a large estuary bay on the Texas coast, lying in Calhoun and Matagorda counties and located approximately northeast of Corpus Christi, southeast of San Antonio, southwest of Houston, and southeast of Austin. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda Peninsula and...

. One of the guides was a Quems, who claimed that he had visited the fort while it was still occupied by the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Massenet, in his account of this expedition, recorded that the Quems guide used a sign language then common in the area of southern Texas; he was also tattoo
A tattoo is made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. Tattoos on humans are a type of body modification, and tattoos on other animals are most commonly used for identification purposes...


When the San Phelipe de Valladares Mission was founded near modern-day Candela
The candela is the SI base unit of luminous intensity; that is, power emitted by a light source in a particular direction, weighted by the luminosity function . A common candle emits light with a luminous intensity of roughly one candela...

 in 1700, some Quems entered; they were recorded under the name Quexamos. Little else is known of the tribe, except that between 1726 and 1748 two families, constituting six people, were recorded as being in the San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

. Here they are identified by various names, such as Cems, Qems, Quimzo, and Quinze.
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