The Karankawa were fairly strange people with very tall men, all over 6 feet tall! They have a common culture and dialect, from four nomadic tribes of Native Americans along the Gulf Coast of Texas. They lived in that area for thousands of years. They left an indelible memory for anyone who encountered them; including Spanish explorers all the way back to the early 1500s.
This exceptionally tall people often startled the Europeans upon first sighting. They were imposing with their heavily muscled body, and all men were over 6-feet-tall. Some were reportedly very close to 7-feet in height. Typically tattooed all over their body, and often with painted faces, they also smeared shark liver oil all over the body to fight off mosquitoes. The Karankawa painted their faces and tattooed their entire body. They furthermore pierced the bottom lip, the nipples, ears in a few places, and sometimes the nose bridge, with small cane pieces. They wore sea shell jewelry, and had waist-length course black hair. Also, this unusual people practiced head-flattening, like the Ancient Egyptians and tribes in South America. They made a formidable sight, and were formidable fighters.
When the first Europeans arrived, the Karankawa were friendly, but over time they became evermore hateful toward them. The Karankawa became bitter over losing their land and food supply, the wild animals. They were fierce warriors, and excellent marksmen with their long bows.
The strange Karankawa were even more feared because they were cannibals. They had a dancing dinner ceremony in which they would tie the captor to a stake, slice off pieces of flesh while the victim was alive and cook the pieces in front of the victim; eating the victim’s body pieces.
By 1860, due to rampant battles with the Europeans, disease epidemics brought by them, the Karankawas became extinct.