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The Yamasee War

In 1715 the Yamasee war broke out, the most disastrous of all those which the two Carolina settlements had to face. The documents of South Carolina show clearly that the immediate cause of this uprising was the misconduct of some English traders, but it is evident that the enslavement of Indians, carried on by Carolina traders in an ever more open and unscrupulous manner, was bound to produce such an explosion sooner or later. The best contemporary narratives of this revolt are to be found in “An Account of Missionaries Sent to South Carolina, the Places to Which They Were Appointed, Their Labours and Success, etc.,” and in “An Account of the Breaking Out of the Yamassee War, in South Carolina, extracted from the Boston News, of the 13th of June, 1715,” both contained in Carroll’s Historical Collections of South Carolina.1 The following is from the first of these documents: In the year 1715, the Indians adjoining to this colony, all round from the borders of Fort St. Augistino to Cape Fear, had formed a conspiracy to extirpate the white people. This war broke out the week before Easter [actually on April 15]. The parish of St. Helen’s had some apprehensions of a rising among the adjoining Indians, called the Yammosees. On Wednesday before Easter, Captain Nairn, agent among the Indians, went, with some others, to them [and it appears by direct commission of Governor Craven who had rumors of trouble], desiring to know the reason of their uneasiness, that if any injury had been done them, they might have satisfaction made them. The Indians pretended to be well...

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