ECUERACAPA (d. 1793)
Ecueracapa (Leather Cape) was the name the Spaniards of late-eighteenth-century New Mexico gave to the principal chief of the Kotsoteka Comanches. His Comanche name was apparently Koontyta'nikypa'a, or "Crane on a Stake," but he was also called Cota de Malla (or Maya), "Coat of Mail." This latter citation has led to continuing confusion between the New Mexican Ecueracapa and at least two Texas Comanches also called Cota de Malla.
Ecueracapa first came to the attention of the New Mexican Spaniards in late 1785 when, after peace had been concluded with the Texas Comanches, Governor Juan Bautista de Anza managed to open communication with the western Comanches. They sent word that Ecueracapa, the "captain most distinguished as much by his skill and valor in war as by his adroitness and intelligence in political matters," was empowered to enter into negotiations, which were conducted in early 1786. In June 1786 a formal agreement was signed at Pecos Pueblo marking the beginning of a Comanche–New Mexican peace that endured until 1821.
In the following years, Ecueracapa appears a number of times in the historical record. In May 1787 he forestalled retaliation against some Jupe Comanche youths who had stolen Spanish horses, and in early 1790 he was involved in an ill-planned joint Spanish-Comanche expedition against the Pawnees. In 1793 Ecueracapa was "grievously wounded" on a campaign against the Pawnees. He probably died sometime that fall.
Thomas W. Kavanagh Indiana University
Kavanagh, Tomas W. Comanche Political History: An Ethnohistorical Perspective, 1706–1875. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.