The Natchez Indians
A History to 1735
The most complete and detailed examination of a vanished tribe
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 Natchez Indians played a crucial part in the European struggle for control of the Lower Mississippi Valley. The book begins with the brief confrontation between the Hernando de Soto expedition and the powerful Quigualtam chiefdom, presumed ancestors 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.
"This is the most comprehensive history of the Natchez Indians to appear since John Swanton's classic work of nearly a century ago. It is a worthy successor, as Barnett brings together a wealth of recent scholarship in an eminently readable book."- Vincas P. Steponaitis, professor and director, Research Laboratory of Archaeology, University of North Carolina
"With the publication of this volume, at long last a book-length treatise on the Natchez Indians exists. Despite being one of the most well-known tribes in the Southeast, until now the complex and exciting story of the Natchez has remained hidden in scholarly articles. James Barnett has changed all of this in his telling of the Natchez story. The Natchez Indians: A History to 1735 is an absolute must for anyone interested in the indigenous peoples of the southeastern United States and the many roles that these people played in fashioning our nation."- Ian W. Brown, professor of anthropology, University of Alabama