The natchez war

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The natchez war

Like the Mississippian peoples at places like Cahokia, the Natchez built pyramids, lived in towns, supported themselves with agriculture, and had a chief that reigned like a king. During a period of about three decades, the French destroyed the Natchez.

Shown above is a portion of a reconstructed Natchez village. Among most American Indian nations, leadership involved persuasion rather than power. However, this was not the case among the Natchez where the Great Sun-the term used by the Natchez for their leader- served as both religious and civil chief.

The Great Sun had subsantial power and unlike the political leaders of other Indian tribes, the Great Sun reigned as a kind of king. His power over his individual subjects, their lives, labor, and property was absolute and despotic.

In political decisions involving the nation as a whole the Great Sun was advised by a council of respected men. The Great Sun lived in a large house which was situated on top of a low pyramid 8 to 10 feet high. Near this pyramid was a second pyramid whose structure served as the temple.

As a religious leader, the Great Sun was responsible for keeping the sacred fire burning. The position of the Great Sun was inherited through the Sun family.

As a matrilineal family, this meant that a Great Sun was succeeded by the son of his sister rather than by his own son. According to Natchez oral tradition, the first Suns were a man and a woman who came from the Upper World to teach people how to live better and to govern them.

It was the first Sun who commanded the people to build a temple and it was the first Sun who brought down pure fire from the sun for the sacred fire. The Natchez gave the Great Sun large presents of food as an expression of their devotion.

Cultural Highlights

The Great Sun, in turn, redistributed this food among the people. While most American Indian nations were egalitarian, meaning that they had no social classes, this was not the case among the Natchez. They had the most elaborate and well-developed social stratification found among Indian nations.

At the top of this stratified society was the Great Sun and his select group of wives and immediate relatives. Social stratification among the Natchez was symbolized by behavior of the lower classes regarding the upper classes. Thus, when the people encountered the Great Sun or even came in sight of his temple, they performed a ceremonial greeting.

Nobles would not eat with commoners or allow their food to be touched by them. Shown above is an early drawing of the Great Sun being carried on a litter so that his feet would not need to touch the ground.

Highly stratified societies tend to be unstable and the differences between the social classes is a disintegrating social force. The Natchez, however, integrated their social classes in an interesting way: Since the Natchez were matrilineal, this meant that the children of an upper class man would not belong to the upper class.

In this way, families cross-cut the social class strata and helped to tie the society together. The French and the Natchez: French visits in the s found the Natchez to be friendly and welcoming.

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French Catholic missionaries began to settle among the Natchez in and these were soon followed by colonists who settled in Natchez territory.

At this time, the Natchez had six to nine villages with a population estimated at 4, people.

The natchez war

Inthe French opened a trading post at the Great Village of the Natchez. The following year, the French traders established a warehouse at Natchez in order to acquire deerskins from upcountry villages. Ina French party going down the Mississippi River refused to stop and smoke the pipe with the Natchez.

Interpreting this insult as a sign of hostility, the Natchez killed four French traders and plundered the local French warehouse. The following year the French, in retaliation for the killing of four traders, sent a force against the Natchez.Natchez Trace Civil War History Several Civil War sites and battlefields can be found along or near the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Two major areas are centered around the Battle of Shiloh and nearby Corinth, Mississippi and the Vicksburg Campaign. In the s and s, war broke out four times between the French and the Natchez. The French called these the First Natchez War (), the Second Natchez War (), the Third Natchez War (), and the Natchez Rebellion of The last of these wars was the largest, in which the Natchez destroyed the French settlements in their territory.

From to , clashes between the French and Natchez fell just short of war. Bienville, by then governor, made an alliance with Tattooed Serpent, the main Natchez war leader that postponed further hostilities, but the death of Tattooed Serpent and the removal of Bienville ultimately brought about the Natchez War.

The natchez war

The Natchez War The Natchez are Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi.

Archaeological evidence states that the Natchez people lived in the 4/4(1). The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center is open year round, except Christmas Day, and contains interpretive displays on the history and culture of the Natchez Trace. The central village, called Natchez or the Grand Village, was led by the paramount chief Great Sun (Natchez: ʔuwahʃiːɫ liːkip) and the war chief Tattooed Serpent (Serpent Piqué in the French sources, Natchez obalalkabiche), both of whom were interested in pursuing an alliance with the French.

Tracing the Civil War - Natchez Trace Parkway (U.S. National Park Service)