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From Chicaza to Chickasaw

The European Invasion and the Transformation of the Mississippian World, 1540-1715

Robbie Ethridge

Publication Year: 2010

Ethridge traces the metamorphosis of the Native South from first contact in 1540 to the dawn of the eighteenth century, when indigenous people no longer lived in a purely Indian world but rather on the edge of an expanding European empire.
Using a framework that Ethridge calls the Mississippian shatter zone to explicate these tumultuous times, From Chicaza to Chickasaw examines the European invasion and the collapse of the precontact Mississippian world and the restructuring of discrete chiefdoms into coalescent Native societies in a colonial world. The story of one group--the Chickasaws--is closely followed through this period.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents/Figures, Maps, and Table

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi-xii

This book would not have been possible without the work of Charles Hudson, his colleagues, and all those they inspired through their reconstruction of the Mississippian world of the American South at the time of European contact. Their reconstruction provides a baseline from which scholars can...

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pp. 1-10

This book is about the history of the American South during the first 200 years of European colonization. It is a story about the collision of two asymmetrical worlds—the emerging modern world of Europe and its American colonies and the centuries-old Mississippian world of the American South....

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1 Chicaza and the Mississippian World, ca. 1540–1541

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pp. 11-41

On Tuesday, December 14, 1540, Indian warriors gathered on the bluffs looking down on the river of Chicaza. There, they awaited the arrival of the warriors of a powerful and threatening foreigner. Their own principal leader had heard about a foreign lord who was en route to his province, Chicaza. He had...

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2 The Battle of Chicaza and Mississippian Warfare, ca. 1541

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pp. 42-59

The most momentous event during the winter of 1540–41 was the battle between the Spanish soldiers and the Chicaza warriors. The clash likely occurred for many reasons: the wanton taking of Indian food stores by the Spaniards; the ill will that grew as both Indians and Spaniards offended each other...

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3 The Aftermath of Soto, ca. 1541–1650

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pp. 60-88

Chicaza and the other chiefdoms of present-day northeast Mississippi either fell or underwent fundamental reorganizations after the Soto entrada. Unfortunately, the history of the years between 1541, the last year that Soto was in Chicaza, and 1682, the year of the first European encounter with Natives...

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4 The English Invasion and the Creation of a Shatter Zone, ca. 1650–1680

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pp. 89-115

Hernando de Soto’s grim swath of destruction and disruption, and even the presence of the Spanish in La Florida and introduction of Old World disease, cannot account for the decline of Mississippian polities and the restructuring that took place across the whole of the American South over the seventeenth...

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5 Eastern Shock Waves on Western Shores, ca. 1650–1680

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pp. 116-148

As the Atlantic seaboard became a shatter zone, shock waves from these disruptions began emanating out of the east and reverberating throughout the lower South to the Mississippi River valley and beyond. At the time of the Hernando de Soto expeditions, the central and lower Mississippi River...

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6 Western Expansion of the Shatter Zone, ca. 1680–1700

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pp. 149-193

At the time of the Soto entrada, Chicaza had little intercourse with people on the Mississippi River. Perhaps as early as 1650, however, the Chickasaws entered into the new European trade system; by 1690 they had become primary slave raiders in the region; and by 1702 they controlled a western axis...

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7 European Imperialism and the Intensification of the Colonial Indian Slave Trade, ca. 1700–1710

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pp. 194-231

Iberville set sail from France for the Gulf coast on his third and last voyage in 1701. That same year, a Franco-Spanish pact in Europe had resulted in the War of Spanish Succession, with France and Spain allied against England, Portugal, and the Netherlands. By 1702 the war had moved into the North...

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8 The Emergence of the Colonial South, ca. 1710–1715

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pp. 232-254

By 1708, the year of Thomas Nairne’s journey into the interior, the Chickasaws and other Southern Indians were feeling the strains of their participation in the slave trade. Certainly, the trade was lucrative and enticing and opened new opportunities to young and ambitious men and women. The...

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pp. 255-256

After the Yamasee War, the Chickasaws, as well as the other Southern Indians, segued from trading in Indian slaves to trading in skins, mostly those of the white-tailed deer. Throughout the slaving era, skins and furs had been a part of the trade system, but they took second place to the more highly...


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pp. 257-303


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pp. 305-334


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pp. 335-344

E-ISBN-13: 9781469603742
E-ISBN-10: 1469603748
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807834350
Print-ISBN-10: 0807834351

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 698110360
MUSE Marc Record: Download for From Chicaza to Chickasaw

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Chickasaw Indians -- History -- 16th century.
  • Chickasaw Indians -- History -- 17th century.
  • Indians of North America -- First contact with Europeans -- Southern States.
  • Southern States -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
  • Mississippian culture -- Southern States.
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