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African Slaves and Indian Wars

The problem of civilization in Louisiana was early complicated by the presence and mutual contact of three races of men. The Mississippi Company’s agricultural colonial scheme was based on the West Indian idea of African slave labor. Already the total number of blacks had risen to equal that of the whites, and within the Delta, outside of New Orleans, they must have largely preponderated. In 1727 this idea began to be put into effect just without the town’s upper boundary, where the Jesuit fathers accommodated themselves to it in model form, and between 1726 and 1745 gradually acquired and put under cultivation the whole tract of land now covered by the First District of New Orleans, the centre of the city’s wealth and commerce. The slender, wedge-shaped space between Common and Canal Streets, and the subsequent accretions of soil on the river front, are the only parts of the First District not once comprised in the Jesuits’ plantations. Education seems not to have had their immediate attention, but a myrtle orchard was planted on their river-front, and the orange, fig, and sugar-cane were introduced by them into the country at later intervals. Other and older plantations were yearly sending in the products of the same unfortunate agricultural system. The wheat and the flour from the Illinois and the Wabash were the results of free farm and mill labor; but the tobacco, the timber, the indigo, and the rice came mainly from the slave-tilled fields of the company’s grantees scattered at wide intervals in the more accessible regions of the great Delta. The only free labor of any note employed within...

Fort Toulouse, the Chitimachas and the Natchez Wars

Another war between England and France began in 1718 – the War of the Quadruple Alliance. The French had succeeded in surrounding the British colonies in North America, except for the boundary with Florida.  France seemed poised to have most of the Southeastern Indians as allies.  These advanced Native American provinces represented the densest indigenous population north of Mexico.  However, the British Navy had destroyed French coastal forts and shipping almost at will.  France might control the coastline, but the British controlled the seas. Fort Toulouse – 1717 Anticipating more wars with Great Britain and desiring closer trade relations with the Muskogeans provinces, the French established Fort Toulouse on the Alabama River, at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers.  It was named after Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse. The nearby Alabama Indians called it Franka Choka Chula, which means “French pinewood house.” The combined fortification and trading post was more commonly called Fort des Alibamons by French colonists. Prior to 1763 the Alabama’s occupied most of southern Alabama. The original post commander was Captain Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand.  In 1720 he married Sehoy.  She was the widowed daughter of the mikko of the Taskeke town of Otciapofa and a member of the Wind Clan.  When she was born in 1702, French maps show the Taskeke still living on the Little Tennessee River in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and in what is now northwestern Georgia.  She may have been born in either of those locations. Conditions deteriorated rapidly at the fort due to lack of supplies from France.  The enlisted men mutinied in 1722,...

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