Spanish explorers encountered the tribe in 1542 in east Texas. Around 1700, the tribe joined the Hasinai but kept their distinct identity and culture. In 1716, Spanish monks founded the San José Mission to serve the Nadaco and the Nasoni tribes. By 1787, they lived in villages along the Sabine River in the northern part of Panola County, Texas.
By Texas Independence in 1836, the tribe had moved to the forks of the Trinity River. During the winter of 1838-39 the Texans forced the Nadaco from their ancestral homelands into Indian Territory. Disliking the harsh conditions in Indian Territory, the tribe returned to Texas in 1843, settling along the Brazos River. After Texas became a state, the United States federal government signed a treaty with the Nadaco and neighboring tribes; however, their lands were soon overrun by European-American settlers.
In 1859, the Nadaco were again removed to Indian Territory to lands near the Wichita Agency. Their principal leader Lesh was killed in 1862, and many of the tribe fled to Kansas to avoid Civil War hostilities. Several Indian tribes allied with Confederate forces in Indian Territory, and there were skirmishes with Union troops. The Nadaco returned to the Territory in 1867. In 1862 the Wichita-Caddo Reservation was established, and the Nadaco joined the greater Caddo Nation there.
Anadarko, Oklahoma is named for the tribe. A joke that might have some historical veracity is when the town was founded, residents suggested that it would be appropriate to name the town after "a Nadarko." Another possibly is that the additional "A" was simply a clerical error.
- Sturtevant, 617
- Sturtevant, 630
- Sturtevant, 616
- May, Jon D. Anadarko. Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (retrieved 6 Sept 2009)
- Bolton, 48 and 50
- The Nadaco. Access Genealogy. (retrieved 6 Sept 2009)
- Riffel, Carolyn and Betty Bell. Anadarko. Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (retrieved 6 Sept 2009)
- Bolton, 51
- Bolton, Herbet E. The Hasinais: Southern Caddoans As Seen by the Earliest Europeans. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-8061-3441-3.
- Sturtevant, William C., general editor and Raymond D. Fogelson, volume editor. Handbook of North American Indians: Southeast. Volume 14. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2004. ISBN 0-16-072300-0.