Opinion

Column: Indian wars in the Southeast lasted until the late 1700s





Writer provides a list of Indian wars in the Southeast, starting in 1540 and ending with a prolonged conflict between the Cherokee Nation and the Chickasaw Nation in the late 1700s:
Largely due to Hollywood films, when Americans think of “Indian wars”, they think of what we now call the West, particularly the Great Plains, or the “new” Southwest. Really, though, the wars of the Europeans against the Native Americans/American Indians east of the Mississippi lasted longer, involved greater numbers in combat, and saw far more brutality.

The first wars of Europeans and American Indians occurred during the century of Spanish occupation which preceded that of the rest of that Continent.

Battle of Mabila, 1540
Though De Soto’s conquistadors fought many battles in their three-year trek (1539-1542), the one fought at Mabila in central Alabama against by the coalition under the paramount mico Tuskaloosa was by far the worst of them all.

Napochi War, 1560
In 1560, Spaniards under Tristan de Luna left their recently-founded home at Nanipanca, or Santa Cruz, on the Alabama River in search of trade with the town of Coosa, at Coosawattee, Georgia, the dominant chiefdom inland. Once there, they were “invited” on a war expedition against the “Napochi”, living in what is now the Chattanooga area.

After burning the town of Opelika at Audobon Acres, the combined army moved on the village of Tasqui near the mouth of Citico Creek and crossed the river, where they met a force from the large town of Tasquiqui at the Hampton Place site on Moccasin Point. After a parlay, the locals, ancestors of the Tuskegee, agreed to resume tribute to Coosa.

Carolina Revolt of 1569
The tribes of the Spanish province of Carolina (named for Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor), which stretched from the seacoast of South Carolina into East Tennessee, in La Florida rose up and destroyed all the inland forts of the Spanish and massacred the garrisons, save for one lone survivor. The then capital of La Florida on Parris Island, Santa Elena, was the only settlement and fort untouched.

Escamacu War, 1576-1579
The Orista (Edisto) and the Escamacu (Ahoya) in Carolina and the Guale on the seacoast between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers rose up to expel the Spanish, especially their hated missions. It ended with Santa Elena to the ground.

Get the Story:
Chuck Hamilton: Indian Wars in the Colonial Southeast (The Chattanoogan 7/9)