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The Natchez Indians

The Natchez Indians: A History to 1735

James F. Barnett
Copyright Date: 2007
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    The Natchez Indians
    Book Description:

    The Natchez Indians: A History to 1735 is the story of the Natchez Indians as revealed through accounts of Spanish, English, and French explorers, missionaries, soldiers, and colonists, and in the archaeological record. Because of their strategic location on the Mississippi River, the Nat-chez Indians played a crucial part in the European struggle for control of the Lower Mississippi Valley. The book begins with the brief con-frontation between the Her-nando de Soto expedition and the powerful Quigualtam chiefdom, presumed ances-tors of the Natchez. In the late seventeenth century René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle\'s expedition met the Natchez and initiated sustained European encroachment, exposing the tribe to sickness and the dangers of the Indian slave trade.

    The Natchez Indians portrays the way that the Natchez coped with a rapidly changing world, became entangled with the political ambitions of two European superpowers, France and England, and eventually disappeared as a people. The author examines the shifting relationships among the tribe\'s settlement districts and the settlement districts\' relationships with neighboring tribes and with the Europeans. The establishment of a French fort and burgeoning agricultural colony in their midst signaled the beginning of the end for the Natchez people. Barnett has written the most complete and detailed history of the Natchez to date.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-309-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    (pp. IX-X)
    (pp. XI-XII)
    (pp. XIII-1)

    EARLY ON THE MORNING OF MARCH 11, 1700, a file of canoes manned by French Canadian soldiers and voyageurs snaked upstream against the Mississippi River’s current. The sunlight flickered through the trees on the bluffs above the east bank. Along the river’s west bank, the trees crowding the river were inundated in places by spring floodwaters. The expedition’s commander, Pierre LeMoyne d’Iberville, surveyed the stretch of river ahead and occasionally laid aside his paddle to consult a map. The thirty-nine-year-old French officer was ascending the great river to smoke the calumet—a ceremony he detested—with the native tribes he...

  6. Chapter One WARRIOR BOATMEN
    (pp. 3-20)

    IN APRIL 1542, Spanish soldiers encamped along the Mississippi River with Hernando de Soto first heard the name “Quigualtam.” According to Indians living near the mouth of the Arkansas River, Quigualtam was a powerful nation led by a chief of the same name who controlled the great river a short distance to the south. For reasons outlined in the story that follows, the Spaniards would never meet Chief Quigualtam, nor would they set eyes on his citadel, but they would soon come to fear and respect his power.¹

    The De Soto expedition had landed on the west coast of Florida...

  7. Chapter Two EUROPEAN RECONNAISSANCE, 1682–1715
    (pp. 21-62)

    BY THE END OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, the native peoples of the Lower Mississippi Valley (Figure 3) had become unknowing subjects of an overlapping patchwork of competing political, economic, and religious empires. Europe’s superpowers weren’t timid when they staked their claims to North America: France’s Louisiana colony encompassed the Mississippi River Valley from the Illinois country down to the Gulf of Mexico, and England’s vast Carolina Province cross-cut Louisiana as it stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific between 36 degrees and 31 degrees longitude. Superimposed upon these two opposing interests lay the spiritual jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church.¹...

  8. Chapter Three EUROPEAN OCCUPATION, 1715—1729
    (pp. 63-100)

    ANDRÉ PÉNICAUT HAPPENED TO BE at the Natchez trading post again in late 1715 when an incident on a lonely stretch of the Mississippi River sparked the confrontation known as “the first Natchez war.” According to Pénicaut, four voyageurs on their way from Mobile to the Illinois country stopped at the Natchez landing and hired four Natchez Indians to assist them in paddling. Some distance upriver, the Natchez allegedly waylaid their employers and helped themselves to the merchandise in their canoes. Bienville believed that the murders were in reprisal for Governor La Mothe’s refusal to smoke the Natchez calumet, which...

  9. Chapter Four THE REBELLION
    (pp. 101-131)

    IN THE FALL OF 1729, the plantations at the Natchez were brimming with row upon row of shoulder-high tobacco plants. Of particular interest to the concessionaires were the plants being grown from seeds stolen from the English in Virginia, which the Company of the Indies hoped would please discriminating French smokers.¹ The White Earth or Belle-Isle concession was the Natchez colony’s largest tobacco producer, with about 280 acres in cultivation.² The other big Natchez concession, St. Catherine, was enjoying a visit from one of its owners, Jean-Daniel Kolly, who had made the journey from New Orleans with his son to...

    (pp. 132-135)

    AFTER THE CHICKASAW WARS, few Natchez Indians remained in the Lower Mississippi Valley. In addition to the remnant of the tribe discussed above, which may have held on until the end of the eighteenth century in their old home place, a few Natchez families apparently remained with the Chickasaws into the 1740s. In 1764, a remnant of the Natchez tribe was located in the western edge of Chickasaw country, on the east bank of the Mississippi River above the mouth of the Arkansas River.¹

    The Natchez group with the Cherokees eventually formed its own village, called Notchee Town, located on...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 136-163)
    (pp. 164-174)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 175-185)