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The Wappo are a group of Native Americans who traditionally lived in Northern California in the areas of Napa Valleymarker, the south shore of Clear Lakemarker, Alexander Valley, and Russian River. When Mexicans arrived to colonize California, Wappo villages existed near the present-day towns of Yountvillemarker, St. Helenamarker and Calistogamarker. Those on the south shore of Clear Lake were completely absorbed and dispersed to the Spanish missions in California. The mission accounted for at least 550 Wappo baptisms.

The Wappo lived by hunting and gathering, and lived in small groups without centralized political authority, in homes built from branches, leaves and mud. Their woven baskets were so well-crafted that they were able to hold water.

The name Wappo is an Americanization of the Spanish term guapo, which means, among other things, "brave." They were known as brave for their stubborn resistance to Mexican domination, particularly their resistance to all military attempts from General Vallejo and his enlisted allies. In 1836 the warring parties signed a peace treaty.


Alfred L. Kroeber put the 1770 population of the Wappo at 1,000. Sherburne F. Cook (1976:174) raised this estimate to 1,650.

By the early 1850s, the surviving Wappo were reported to number between 188 and 800. However population dropped by 1880 to 50, and the 1910 Census returned only 73.

See also


  1. Cook, p.174
  2. 1500 California Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning by William Bright. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1998.
  3. Kroeber, p.883
  4. Cook, pp.239, 351, 357
  5. Cook, pp.239, 351


  • Cook, Sherburne F. The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1976. ISBN 0-520-03143-1.
  • Kroeber, Alfred L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.

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