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Stark changes occurred during the mid-1680s in the Southeast. There were many movements of population as the intensity of attacks on the Spanish mission by the Westo, Chickmawka’s, Yamassee and pirates intensified. The Rickohockens were completely pushed out of their stronghold at the Peaks of the Twin Otter by Iroquois raids. The Iroquois had obtained firearms first from the Dutch, and now from the English. Many minor ethnic groups and villages in the Carolina’s had disappeared during the previous twenty years due to Rickohocken and Westo slave raids. Now African slaves were much more available, so the emphasis of the Native American slave raids shifted to the capture of youth to trade on the docks in Charleston, Port Royal and Georgetown for African slaves. The ratio was four Indians for one African. The American Indian slaves rarely lived past two harvest seasons on the sugar plantations of the Caribbean. They were so cheap as to be considered expendable. Basically, they were fed as little as possible, then worked to death.
Many Southeastern indigenous tribes today think of themselves as pure descendants of ancient peoples – perhaps with a tad of European or African blood mixed in <chuckle>. However, it is clear from looking at the maps and reading the archives of the late 1600s, that Native American communities had become locations where remnant peoples assimilated. Somewhere between 90 and 95% of the population had been reduced by European plagues in the 1500s and early 1600s. The indigenous population had somewhat rebounded by the mid-1600s, but then the English-sponsored slave raids had decimated whole provinces and societies between 1660 and 1684.
Culturally, the slave raids probably did more damage to Native Americans than did the plagues. Life became living hell for these peoples as they never knew when a band of raiders would kill their parents or steal their children and young women. There were few declared wars and fewer peace treaties . . . just endless raids that killed and stole. Artistic traditions were lost. Elderly historians were murdered for no reason. Villages and fields were repeatedly burned. The only way for people to survive was to form political alliances for mutual defense. Thus, the Cherokee, Creek and Catawba tribes began to form.
Who were the Cusabo?
They were Kusa-Creeks living in southern South Carolina near the coast. They seem to have been the vestige of a powerful province, because within their territory were at least ten chiefdoms when the English colonists first arrived. The Cusabo called themselves Kvsapo which is pronounced in English, Kau-sha-po – in hybrid Maya-Hitchiti meaning “forested mountains – place of.” European speakers typically changed the Muskogean P to a B. Some descendants of the Cusabo remain in South Carolina, but most migrated to Georgia or Alabama in the 1700s and joined the Creek Confederacy.
Who were the Santee?
Today, the vestige survivors of the Santee are labeled Siouans by the State of North Carolina. However, since it is known that towns with Muskogean mounds and Muskogean names lined the Santee River, one would presume that the Santee were Muskogean. This ethnic group is also known by its Hitchiti name of Santee-tli.
Who were the Soque?
The Soque were one of the most powerful ethnic groups of South Carolina in the 1500s. They were concentrated in the northeastern tip of Georgia and northwestern tip of South Carolina around the headwaters of the Chattahoochee, Savannah, Keowee and Saluda Rivers. They were probably the builders of the mounds at Tugaloo and practiced many Mesoamerican traditions such as forehead flattening. The Soque were severely depleted by European diseases in the 1500s and Rickohocken slave raids in the 1600s. The remnants either joined the Cusabo-Creeks or Chorakees (Lower Cherokees,) The French-derived name for the Soque, Jocasee, can be found in town names of both the Creeks and the Cherokees.
Who were the Catawba? This of course, today is a small, federally recognized tribe near Rock Hill, SC that formerly spoke a highly aberrant Southern Siouan language. In the Pardo chronicles of 1567-68, Catapa was a modestly important town that was a vassal of a Muskogean capital. This can be determined because the leader of the town was named an Orataw. This was an appointed position awarded by the Muskogean government, In hybrid Maya-Hitchiti, the name of the ethnic group was Katvpa, which means “Place of Kataw.”
Who were the Sawakee?
They were a Muskogee speaking ethnic group in far southern South Carolina, who lived in the region between the Sawakeehatchee River and the Savannah River. The name means “Raccoon People” in Georgia Mvskoke. Some Sawakee stayed in South Carolina, and in fact, formed a pro-Patriot regiment known as the Raccoon Regiment during the Revolution. Most Sawakees, however, immigrated to west-central Georgia and east-central Alabama. The descendants of those who were forced to move to the Indian Territory, until recently formed a distinct division of the Oklahoma Creeks. Principal Chief Ellis of the Creek Nation is a descendant of Sawakee’s who settled Loachapoka, AL.
Who were the Guale? Guale is the Castilian way of writing Wahale. Wahale is the Hitchiti-Muskogee word for Southerners. During the 1500s and 1600s these people occupied the coast of what is now Georgia, but probably originated from Florida.
Who were the Timucua?
The Timucua spoke dialects of the Wareo language of northern South America, an Arawak tongue. They were probably the descendants of Arawak invaders, who arrived on the northeastern coast of Florida around 1150 AD. They absorbed some traditions of the Muskogean mound-builders they replaced but also had traditions, such as human sacrifice, that they had carried with them from South America. The Timucua were almost entirely in the Spanish missions system by 1650.
Who were the Apalachee? The word means “on the other side” in their language. The Apalachee were the direct descendant of Mississippian mound-builders, whose towns had been concentrated in the vicinity of modern day Tallahassee, FL. They were polytheists, whose deities were very similar to those Mesoamerican societies, such as the Totonacs in the state of Vera Cruz, Mexico. Their language was probably a dialect of Hitchiti. The Apalachee also had a large colony in the upper Hiwassee River Basin in what is now the Georgia and North Carolina Mountains.
Who were the Apalachicola?
The name means “on the other side – people” in their language. Apalachicola or Lower Creek was a blend of Muskogee, Hitchiti and Choctaw. It would be unintelligible to Muskogee speakers in Oklahoma. The Apalachicola and Apalachee were probably once the same people, but the Apalachicola absorbed many Choctaw words, and many Muskogee traditions.
1684 – English pirates returned to the coast of Guale and decimated the remaining Spanish missions. The Spanish missions were in ruins and the administrative system that kept them within the Spanish colonial system was non-existent.
1684 – Even though the Rickohockens had been consistently the most powerful Native American group in Virginia (which then also included the states of West Virginia and Kentucky) this is the last year the word Rickohocken is mentioned in English colonial archives. It is also the first year that a group, known as the Charakee are mentioned. The Charakees were soon shown on English and French maps to be occupying the same territory as formerly occupied by the Rickohockens, plus the territory at the headwaters of the Savannah River, formerly labeled Chorakees in the earliest South Carolina maps.
1684 – This is the earliest radiocarbon date for a definite proto-Cherokee hamlet on the Tuckasegee River in the North Carolina Mountains. Very, very few radiocarbon dates prior to 1710 have been obtained in definite Qualla Culture (proto-Cherokee) village sites in North Carolina. A 1600 AD radiocarbon date was obtained for a village site near Townsend, TN east of Sevierville. Archaeologists labeled it “proto-Cherokee.” This is may be . . . BUT . . . the site is in the Smoky Mountains, which the Cherokees traditionally called the Enemy Mountains. The village is much more likely to be “The Enemy.” The two most like candidates for “the enemy” are the Yuchi and the Shawnee.
1684 – The large Scottish Colony of Stuarts Town was founded at Port Royal. It immediately became the major competitor to Charlestowne. It developed a trading partnership with the nearby Yamassee.
1684 – Once the threat of Rickohocken and Westo slave raids was reduced, European settlers beginning spreading up the river valleys and away from coastal population concentrations. This brought them into conflict with the many small and large ethnic groups in the Piedmont of South Carolina. During the middle 1680s there were a series of small wars with such people as the Cusabo, Coosa (Kusa), Sawakee, Soque Wataree, Congaree and Catawba over settler encroachments. In all cases, the South Carolinians won and in all cases, the surviving belligerents were marched off in chains to be sold as slaves. By the end of the century few indigenous villages would be left in South Carolina and 20% of its population would be Native American slaves! This seems to be the last year that Kofitachiki existed as a town. Some of the villages in the upper Piedmont that were mentioned by Juan Pardo’s chronicler, continued to exist until the mid-1700s.
1685 – Dr. Henry Woodward visited Apalachicola (Lower Creek) towns for the purpose of extending Charlestown’s trading network to them. The Spanish considered the region to be the Province of Apalachicola, but really had no governmental infrastructure to enforce this claim. Woodward was arrested in Stuartstown on his way back home on trump charges, but eventually was released.
1685 – In response to Woodward’s visits to the Apalachicola, Lt. Governor Antonio Mattheos of the Spanish Province of La Florida led a small army of six Spanish and 200+ Apalachee soldiers into the Lower Chattahoochee-Apalachicola River Basin where they drove out English traders, and seized firearms, ammunition, deerskins and English trade items.
1685 – Fort Moore was constructed on a bluff overlooking the Savannah River, roughly where East Augusta, SC is now located. Fort Moore was not a strong fortification, but was primarily viewed as a trading post and barracks for militia.
1686 – By this time, there was little left of the Spanish Colony of Guale. A small army composed of Yamassee and Scotsmen from Stuartstown raided the Timucua villages and missions of what is now the SE tip of Georgia and NE Florida to obtain slaves. Many missions and villages were destroyed and never rebuilt. Later in the year a Spanish armada composed of five ships and 800 soldiers attacked Stuartstown and burned it to the ground. It was never rebuilt. The Spaniards next attacked Charlestowne, but its residents had time to strengthen their fortifications before the enemy’s arrival. Charleston was not taken, and the Spaniards lost many men trying to capture it.
1686 – English traders returned to the Lower Chattahoochee Basin. Matheos therefore returned with a larger and heavier equipped army. Beginning near the mouth of the Apalachicola River at the Gulf, the army marched northward from one Muskogean town to another and demanded that they become vassals of the Spanish Crown and cease trade with the English. Eight proto-Creek towns closest to the Spanish did submit despite a long term hatred of the Spanish going back to the de Soto Expedition. Four major towns in what is now west-central Georgia initially refused to become vassals. They lacked firearms, however, and were burned to the ground. Koweta and Kussita were two of the towns that stood up the Spanish. After being burned, the rebel towns temporarily submitted to Spain. However, Spain was going to pay a horrific price for this military action, early in the next century.
1687 (approximate year) – A collapse of tobacco prices combined with an abundance of African slaves caused Virginia planters to evict many Native American tenant farmers and laborers. At that time the Muskogean town of Chota Talula in the Little Tennessee River Valley was welcoming Native American immigrants from all tribes. Parties of Virginia Indians with English names journeyed to Chota and the region around it to escape the serfdom of Virginia. This was also a time when the Rickohockens were migrating southwestward into eastern Tennessee. The resulting hybrid population soon became known as the Overhills Cherokees.
1688-1697 – Nine Years War – This pitted the French Grand Alliance against the English, Dutch and Holy Roman Empire (German states.)
1688 – Spanish officer Marios Delgado Vandera led an expedition into what is now lower Alabama to determine potential locations for future forts and colonies.
1689 – Glorious Revolution in Great Britain – Word leaked out that King James II might convert to Catholicism and then join Great Britain to the Grand Alliance. He was peacefully deposed and replaced by William of Orange and Mary of the Netherlands.
1690 – A joint British-Chorakee (Lower Cherokee) expedition traveled as far east as Tray Mountain, overlooking the Nacoochee Valley. In the distance, the party could see many smoke plumes rising from the valley floor. The Chorakees told the British that the smoke plumes were from foundries where the Spanish were refining and melting gold. The British then turned around before they could be discovered.
Since Great Britain was at war with Spain and France, presumably the British sent the Chorakees back to the Nacoochee Valley to massacre the miners. However, there are no official British records of authorizing the attack. The gold miners may have been Melungeons, who were Spanish Jews and Portuguese who went into the Southern Highlands to escape the Inquisition. No further mention of the Nacoochee Valley is found in the British archives.
In 1824 American gold miners found the ruins of a village of log cabins in the Nacoochee Valley. Also found were iron and steel tools typical of Spanish miners in the late 1500s and 1600s. Also, found was a Spanish cigar mold and broken pottery, typical of the 17th century.
1691 -There are documents in British colonial archives that could explain the sudden appearance of the Charakees in the North Carolina Mountains. After the Savanos were driven out of the Savannah River Valley, the Cherokees replaced them as South Carolina’s favorite Native trading partner. The colonies eventually issued branding irons to each of the 14 Charakee bands so that the proceeds of the slaves they captured could be paid to the proper band.
1692 – French traders established a chain of trading posts on the Cumberland River in the vicinity of Nashville. To the north their clientele were Shawnee villages. To the south were the Chickasaw.
1699 – Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, one of the most successful and brilliant military leaders in French history, devised the “Project Sur de Carolina.” The text and maps described a long range plan to drive the colonists of South Carolina into the ocean. It was one of the first . . . or the first example of long term military strategy being organized into a printed document. Iberville proposed to use the Indian allies of France and Spain first to eliminate all English trading posts, then with lightning attacks on the frontier settlement wipe out the militia and drive thousands of women and children into the walls of Charleston. Here they would be starved into surrender with a conventional blockade by the French Navy and Marines.
1700 – Iberville met with Spanish officials in Pensacola. Iberville convinced the Spanish that the Apalachee Indians be armed and sent against the English and their allies. Prior to this time, the Spanish have refused to issue arms to the Apalachee for fear that they would revolt against Spanish rule.
1700 – When the famous Georgia archaeologist, Joseph Caldwell, in 1958 analyzed artifacts excavated from the town of Tugaloo at the headwaters of the Savannah River, he was surprised to learn from radiocarbon dating that the Cherokees could not have lived there any earlier than 1700. Prior to that time, the town was Proto-Creek. The subterranean artifacts were identical to those found elsewhere in northern Georgia at known ancestral Creek town sites. The scale of the community was much smaller during its Cherokee occupation, which ended during the Revolutionary War.
Despite Caldwell’s findings, the State of Georgia erected a historical marker in 1964 which called Tugaloo, “Georgia’s oldest Cherokee town” and stated that the Cherokees built its mounds in the 1400s. To this day, most books, web sites and tour guides call Tugaloo a 600 year old Cherokee town. Actually, even the first non-Creek occupation was not Cherokee, but Yuchi. A map of the early 1700s labels the town, Hogeloge – that’s the name of the Yuchi’s who formerly lived on the Tennessee River. Tugaloo was on the far northeastern tip of Georgia. That means that there were very few, if any Cherokees in what is now Georgia until at least 1700 – perhaps much later.
1702 – Queen Anne’s War – In January 1702, before the war broke out in Europe, the Spanish organized an expedition under Francisco Romo de Uriza that left Pensacola in August for the trading centers of the Carolina backcountry. Once these had been destroyed, Romo planned to turn east toward the South Carolina frontier. The English, with advance warning of the expedition, organized a defense at the head of the Flint River and routed the Spanish-led force, with upwards of 500 Indians killed or captured.
The location of the battle was in South Carolina in 1702. This is probably why most Georgians are not aware that such a large and important battle was fought in what would become the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. The source of the Flint River is now a spring next to the runways of Atlanta International Airport. However, the battle was probably fought in northern Fayette County, which is about 12 miles to the south. Two important trade paths crossed the Flint River near what is now the county seat of Fayetteville.
1702 – The last Spanish mission on the coast of Georgia, Mission Santa Catalina de Guale abandoned Saint Catherine’s Island and relocated its 52 parishioners initially to Amelia Island. However, after the raid later that year on St. Augustine, the mission village relocated to near St. Augustine.
1702 – Interim Governor James Moore led a joint South Carolina-Native army to Saint Augustine in October. It captured the town, but lacked the heavy artillery to lay siege to the Castillo San Marcos, where most of the townspeople had fled. Moore’s army tried to starve out the garrison, but the arrival of two Spanish ships of the line forced him to abandon the siege.
1703 – Alabama warriors killed several French traders on the Tennessee River, Mobile and Alabama Rivers as they nearly wiped out the new French trading system. It is not clear if these deeds were done out of dislike for Europeans, dislike for the ethnic groups with whom the French were trading, or out of a political deal with the English.
1704 – Colonel James Moore of Carolina led 50 Englishmen and 1,000 Apalachicolas and other Creeks in an attack on the Apalachee missions. Some villages surrendered without a fight, while others were destroyed. Moore returned to Carolina with 1,300 Apalachees who had surrendered and another 1,000 taken as slaves. In mid-1704 another large Creek raid captured more missions and large numbers of Apalachees. In both raids missionaries and Christian Indians were tortured and murdered, sometimes by skinning them alive. These raids became known as the Apalachee Massacre. When rumors of a third raid reached the Spanish in San Luis de Talimali, they decided to abandon the province.
When the Spanish abandoned the Apalachee province in 1704, some 800 surviving Indians, including Apalachee, Chatots and Yamasee, fled westward to Pensacola, along with many of the Spanish in the province. Unhappy with conditions in Pensacola, most of the Apalachees moved further west to French-controlled Mobile. They encountered a yellow-fever epidemic in the town and lost more people. Later, some Apalachees moved on to Rapides Parish in Louisiana, where their descendants still live, while others returned to the Pensacola area, to a village called Nuestra Señora de la Soledad y San Luís.
1705 – Cherokee slave raiding parties reached as far south as Lake Okeechobee in this year. They decimated the thinly populated interior of the Florida Peninsula. Simultaneously, Apalachicola slave raiders paddled southward along the Gulf Coast of Florida as far as Tampa Bay. They left the Gulf Coast of Florida in smoldering ruins. By the end of the year, most of Spanish Florida’s Native population had been annihilated. The Spanish mission system was virtually extinct, and would not be rebuilt.
1706 – While assembling in Havana a combined French-Spanish armada to attack South Carolina, the great admiral and general, Iberville, died of a tropical disease. Without his leadership, the massive operation quickly fell apart. It never left port.
There have been very few Cherokee structures found in North Carolina, which date before 1720. This fact suggests that between 1700 and 1720 the Cherokee population in North Carolina grew to a significant level. In our next segment of this series, we will look at the period in the early 1700s, when both the Cherokees at their peak population, while the Creeks were more or less divided up regionally.