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The Road To
Chapter 3
Terms to Know
Northwest Ordinance
Hernando de Soto
Rene Robert Cavelier
Sieur de La Salle
Henry de Tonti
Pierre le Moyne
Sieur de’Iberville
Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne
Sieur d’Bienville
Winthrop Sargent
David Holmes
Fort Maurepas
Fort Rosalie
Natchez District
Natchez Trace
Early Mississippians
Native Americans reached this part of North America tens
of thousands of years ago.
They hunted wild animals, foraged for food, and raised
What does the fact that they farmed tell you?
The Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez were
descendants of those early Native Americans.
These were the largest tribes in the Mississippi region
when Europeans and Africans began to arrive.
Places like Yazoo and Biloxi are derived from Indian
tribe names.
First Europeans
The Spanish and the
French were the first to
explore Mississippi.
Hernando de Soto
discovered the
Mississippi River but
died while searching for
The French travelled the
river trading furs and
The French settled
Natchez, beside the
Mississippi River.
Later the British, Spanish
and Americans shared
this region with the
In 1798 the U.S. created
the Ms Territory to
encourage the orderly
settlement of this part of
the frontier
Early Native Americans
How did they get here?
See Handout
History of early Native Americans is
divided into four periods
Paleo Period
Ice Age Period ended
around 12,000 years ago
Siberian land bridge vs
French fishermen
Archeologists have
found few traces of
Paleo Indians in
Archaic Period
The climate became
warmer and drier
Large animals died out
Native Americans
became less nomadic
They hunted, fished and
gathered nuts and
No writing system
Used stone tools
Woodland Period
Developed highly organized societies in
the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys
Built burial mounds over tombs sometimes
shaping them like birds and animals
Learned how to farm and used copper and
stone tools suggesting a wide-ranging
trade system
Villages became larger and politically
Began using bow and arrow
Mississippian Period
Mississippian Period
Continued moundbuilding tradition however, instead of burial mounds, they
built religious buildings and the homes of the chiefs on top of their flat,
rectangular mounds
Existed between the 8th and 17th centuries
Found all throughout the southeastern U.S.
The second largest mound is located in Natchez
Many others are spread across the state
In some cases, like Natchez, mounds were built in stages and some were
multiple mounds. One was the base for a temple where elders’ bones were
Built villages surrounded by wooden fences.
Grew corn, squash, beans
Native American Societies
Most were very small societies (Choula, Pascagoula,
Tunica, and Biloxi)
The largest were the Chickasaw, Choctaw and Natchez
All Mississippi Native American languages were similar to
others in the southeast EXCEPT for the Biloxi
Most southeastern Native American tribes shared similar
religious beliefs.
Each village governed itself and sent representatives to
the tribal councils.
A strict chain of command was established and regulated
issues like seating at councils, titles, and even tattoos
Native American Societies
The Choctaw (18th Century) had a main chief and six lesser
chiefs. They also had the Mingo Oumu (War Chief) and the Tichou
Mingo (Spokesperson)
Within each village resided several clans (Groups of related
These clans punished crimes and protected members of the
If necessary, it sought revenge for the murder of other
The clan approved marriages which ALWAYS crossed clan
lines. (Marrying outside ones own clan is called Exogamy)
When a couple married they lived close to the wife’s family.
Native American Society (cont)
Any children were considered of the wife’s clan.
In this society the closest MALE relative of a child was considered
to be the mother’s brother; NOT his own father.
Men held the important political and religious positions in the
Occasionally, a man had more than one wife (Polygamy) and the
two wives were usually sisters.
They built close to rivers and streams because it was easier to
farm and irrigate.
Women did most of the farming, although the men cleared the
Crops included: Maize, Pumpkin, Beans, and Peas.
Native American Society (cont)
Women made pottery, gathered food, farmed, fished, and
tanned hides
Men constructed buildings, hunted deer and bear, and
fought other tribes.
Religion centered on the sun and sacred fires which
represented the sun on Earth.
They believed in spirits and gods associated with nature
and animals.
Native American Wide World of
Their sport was stickball. It was associated with religion
also. It was called Ishtohbohl and accompanied by
ceremonies and sometimes ritual sacrifice (Maya and
Ishtohbohl was always a contest between villages.
The object was to throw or carry a ball between two goal
posts. (Remind you of anything?
The ball could only be touched by rackets.
Virtually the only rule was that each team had to have the
same number of players.
They also played Chunky with a round stone.
Native American Rulers
The Natchez lived between Warren and Wilkinson.
Their ruler was known as the “Great Sun”.
Had both political and religious authority.
He rode around in a litter and had multiple wives.
When he died, some of his wives and other members of
the tribe were killed and buried with him.
This unquestioned authority of the Great Sun made a
deep impression on the French explorers who arrived in
the New World.
European Explorers
Periods of European
Four periods of European, overseas expansion
Initial period of expansion
Fifteenth through seventeenth centuries
Colonial trade rivalry – England, Spain, France
Seventeenth through early nineteenth century
New empires in Africa and Asia
Nineteenth century
Decolonization – mid-twentieth century
European Explorers
Christopher Columbus sailed
the ocean blue in 1492 and
sparked the European
exploration of the Americas.
Explorers were followed by
This story is full of excitement,
adventure, and triumph, As Well
As, despair, disappointment,
defeat, catastrophe, and death.
Spanish Explorers
The Spanish were the
first to visit Mississippi
between 1539-1542.
Hernando de Soto
explored the
southeastern part of
North America
He was after Gold and
Hernando de Soto
Expeditions included six hundred soldiers, many on horseback.
They brought hogs with them as a source for food.
The Spanish introduced both hogs and horses to North America
He landed near Tampa, Fl
He explored as far North as North Carolina
He then turned West and South
He held Indian Chiefs hostage to secure labor, supplies and
In 1540 near Mobile he was attacked but the natives did not know
how to fight cavalry and they were defeated
He then led his forces into Mississippi.
Hernando de Soto
In 1541, another attack by Native Americans forced the expedition further
In May, the weary soldiers reached the Mississippi River, built boats and
crossed it.
The exact site has not been determined. Possibly Memphis
He died in 1542. His men buried him and then tried to walk to Mexico.
That turned out to be too difficult so they returned to the Mississippi River and
built boats again.
They were often pursued by Native Americans and many died
The survivors reached the Gulf of Mexico and sailed along the coast to
Less than half survived the expedition.
Effects of de Soto
The Spanish did not return.
They found no Gold
They were constantly harassed by the natives
The most profound effect was unexpected...Disease spread to
Native Americans for which they had NO immunity.
The extensive trade routes spread the diseases quickly.
The population of the Native Americans dramatically decreased
because of the diseases.
It is estimated that the population of Native Americans
decreased by 50% in the century and a half after Columbus
The Columbian Exchange
“Massive movement and
interaction of biological
organisms after
People, plants,
animals, diseases
Between Europe,
Americas, Africa
Shapes world up to
French Explorers
The French were next to
explore Mississippi
They settled in Quebec in
They utilized the rivers and
lakes to explore
Searched for a water route to
the Pacific
Were most interested in fur
trading and proselytizing.
Louis Jolliet and Jaques
In 1673, sailed down the
Mississippi River.
Reached present-day
Rosedale before
realizing that the Ms.
River flowed to the Gulf
NOT the Pacific
They turned around once
they realized this
Rene Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle,
and Henry deIn 1682,
they came down
the Ms. River and
claimed the region for
They befriended the
Natchez Indians near
La Salle returned to the
region and tried to
establish a settlement at
the mouth of the Ms.
He died trying
Made several trips up and down the Ms.
River looking for La Salle, even leaving a
letter for him with the Native Americans at
the mouth of the Ms. River
Spain, England and France
established colonial
Settlements in Eastern North
Spanish were in Florida
English were along the East
Coast from New Hampshire to
French were in Canada
These Countries competed for
colonies and fought wars for
European Wars
These wars had three major consequences:
1. The territory of each country changed
2. The colonists in America sought allies among the
Native Americans and different tribes supported
different countries
3. Mississippi was ruled first by the French, then by the
English and finally by the Spanish.
The United States did not gain control of Mississippi
until 1798.
French Settlement
From their base in Quebec, the
French tried to control the
interior of North America
Wanted to dominate the fur
Wanted to confine the English
to the East Coast
In order to do that, they had
to control the Ohio and Ms.
River valleys
Sieur d’Iberville
In 1699, the French sent d’Iberville of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to establish a
Finding the Spanish firmly established in Pensacola, he continued west, looking for a
good site.
He reached Ship Island and then landed on the mainland on February 13, 1699.
By March he located the mouth of the Mississippi River
He travelled up river past Baton Rouge and met with the tribe Tonti left the La Salle
letter with 15 years earlier.
He sailed back to Ship Island and then built Fort Maurepas on the present site of
Ocean Springs.
This was the first European settlement in Mississippi.
He left 80 men, his brother Jean-Baptiste le Moyne and Sieur d’Bienville.
Iberville made several more trips to the Gulf Coast before
dying in 1706
On one of those trips he established Mobile.
He abandoned Fort Maurepas because of its poor water
supply, few trading partners, poor soil and no access to
the interior. Basically....It Sucked!
Bienville governed and defended the settlements while
Iberville was away and established the settlement of New
Orleans in 1718.
French Incursions
French Canadians traveled up and down the Ms River and
many were attacked along the way
Bienville sailed up-river and took several chiefs hostage
until the perpetrators had been captured and put to death.
He built Fort Rosalie in 1716, at the present site of
Natchez and Fort St. Pierre where the Yazoo River joined
the Ms. River at present-day Vicksburg
A small community developed around Fort Rosalie and
prospered until 1729.
The Massacre at Fort Rosalie
The local governor demanded that
the Natchez surrender a nearby
In response, they attacked the fort,
killed two hundred French, and freed
nearly 300 black slaves
The French retaliated with the help of
the Choctaw, destroying the Natchez
as a separate tribe.
Those that survived fled north to the
Native Americans and
The relationship between
Native Americans and
Europeans is a complex
Native Americans were
NOT united among
themselves and often at
war with one another.
Understanding Indian Politics
Meanwhile the French and British were almost always at
war with one another.
In America each side “bought” allies with trade goods,
especially guns and gunpowder.
The Choctaw sided with the French
The Natchez, Chickasaw and Creek sided with the British
The Chickasaw raided Choctaw lands, captured them and
took them to Charlestown, SC to be sold as slaves.
The Choctaw, in turn, attacked the Chickasaw near
Tupelo with French help, but were defeated.
Mid 18th Century
War again broke out between France and Great Britain
However, this time, the war started in America
Known as the French and Indian War here (1754-1763) was fought to see
who would control the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys
Most of the fighting took place north of Mississippi
Although the Choctaw fought a civil war between supporters of the French
and those of the British
The French supporters of the Choctaw won
France lost the greater war
France gave up all territory east of the Ms River at the Treaty of Paris, 1763.
A Formal
between two or
more nations.
British Mississippi
The British influenced Mississippi before 1763
British traders from Charleston had travelled among the Choctaw and
Chickasaw for decades, although the Choctaw preferred the French
After 1763, Mississippi was an official part of the province of West Florida
It was an unimportant and remote portion of the British Empire
The Capital was Pensacola
The colony of Georgia claimed the region
Britain encouraged settlement in West Florida and the Natchez area
Veterans of the war received land grants.
British Mississippi
By 1774, 3000 settlers had taken up residence in the Natchez
Relations soured between Great Britain and her colonies
July 4, 1776 the colonists declared independence from Britain
Not until 1778 did it affect the Natchez district
James Willing travelled down the Mississippi River and seized
territory in the Natchez district and then continued on to New
Spain declared war on Great Britain and captured Natchez in
September 1779
In 1783, The Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War
Spanish Mississippi
The district prospered under Spanish rule
The population tripled between 1785-1798 (2000 people-6,900
The Spanish Governor encouraged American immigration to the
district and even gave generous land grants and was tolerant of
Protestant religions
Originally, the land was wooded but once cleared it was quite
Tobacco and indigo were important but COTTON became the
best cash crop
In 1800 the district exported 3 million pounds (1/6th the total
exports of all the Americas that year)
Spanish Mississippi
Farmers in the district grew corn, feeding people and animals.
Hogs and cattle were also raised
The cattle drives of Texas had their origins in Mississippi
Spain controlled the district but the U.S. claimed it as its own
This issue was known as the Right of Deposit
Getting goods to market was a huge problem:
Traveling by road, if any existed in an area, was slow
So it became important to send goods down the rivers to
New Orleans for export
Pinckney’s Treaty
Also known as the
Treaty of San Lorenzo
Granted the right of
Americans to deposit
their goods in New
Spain surrendered its
hold over the Natchez
The U.S. took control
over the region in 1798.
The Mississippi
Mississippi Territory
When the U.S. began governing the territory Native Americans made up the largest
segment of the population
They had title to most of the land
It was mainly wooded and home to deer, turkey and bear
Many snakes, some deadly, could be found throughout the territory
Roads were little more than trails
There were no bridges
The Natchez Trace was the “Highway” to Nashville
“Stands” along the Trace served as stores and Motels for weary travelers
Natchez was a center of trade and commerce and a major port for sailors and goods
Territorial Government
The NorthWest Ordinance of 1787 established
the framework for the government of the
The Ordinance provided for the admission of
new states
The exception was that it did NOT allow for
slavery but the territories south of the Ohio
River did allow slavery.
The Admission Process
Had 3 Stages:
1. The President, with Congressional approval, appointed a territorial
governor, 3 judges and a secretary to the governor.
The Governor and Judges acted as a territorial legislature.
Once the population of adult, free, men reached 5,000 phase 2
2. The voters could now elect an assembly to pass laws and a
territorial representative to Congress. The governor and judges
3. Began when the territory had 60,000 people (excluding Indians)
Representatives were elected to write a state constitution. After
Congress approved it, a new state was admitted.
Mississippi’s First Government
Territorial Governor:
Winthrop Sargent
Secretary to the Governor:
John Steele
Territorial Judges:
Peter Bryan Bruin
Daniel Tilton
William McGuire
Early Problems
Sargent almost immediately became controversial
Disputes centered on the laws he imposed and the strict nature of his
The National political climate drove much of the controversy.
Federalists vs Republicans
Federalists led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
Republicans led by John Adams and Alexander Hamilton
Sargent was a federalist
His opponents in the state were Jeffersonians
There was also a huge rift between merchants in Natchez and their rural
Change in Government
After Jefferson won the
Presidency he appointed
a new Governor (W.C.C.
Claiborne) and moved
the Capital from Natchez
to the town of
Washington to appease
the farmers. It was highly
Ownership of the land in
the territory was a major
Most of the land was
owned by the Choctaw
and Chickasaw tribes
Pressure grew on the
U.S. to acquire the land.
Settlers held title to the land from all three previous ruling countries: France,
Spain and Britain
Others had purchased land grants from Georgia
Often these claims overlapped causing confusion
Many settlers were Squatters and had cleared and farmed the land, built
homes but did not own it.
The U.S. government had developed an orderly process to gain land
ownership with the Land Ordinance of 1785.
Land was divided into townships
Each township was 6 miles square with 36 sections. Each section was
640 acres
Section 16 was given to the people to rent
Definition: An allegiance to local interests.
The Natchez district dominated the politics of the territory.
Settlers East of the Pearle River resented the Natchez district
and its power
Whites in the East believed that the Natchez whites used
their wealth and slaves to run the territorial government for
their own benefit.
Conflicts arose between whites and then between
predominantly white districts and those with African
Americans and would continue throughout the history of the
Taking Shape
In 1804, the territory was extended to the Tennessee border after Georgia gave up
its claims.
The southern border was extended after the U.S. won the war of 1812 and Spain
was forced to give up its claims
Mississippi’s territorial period only lasted about twenty years but was an exciting era
Personal quarrels often led to duels and death.
During the War of 1812 the U.S. fought the Creek Indians in the Eastern part of the
The Creek attack on Fort Mims resulted in the deaths of over 500 men, women
and children. Settlers fled to Mobile and Natchez.
Andrew Jackson defeated the Creeks and reopened the land
Dividing the state
and joining the
Congress divided the state in two in 1817 creating Alabama.
Once Congress established the borders a constitution was written.
Constitution...Sets up the framework of a government and
determines its powers and limitations.
The legislative branch was given more power than the executive
because of the territory’s history with overzealous governors.
Judges were appointed for life.
Property owners could vote.
Blacks and non-taxpaying-whites were not counted.
Did You Know?
The delegates to the constitutional convention did not
submit the new constitution to the voters but sent it to the
federal government for approval.
Upon approval, Mississippi became the 20th state on
December 10, 1817.
David Holmes became the first Governor.
End Chapter 3