Natchez Trace


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North America » United States » Mississippi » Port Gibson
December 18th 2006
Published: January 6th 2007
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Natchez Trace was an old pioneer overland trail from Nashville Tennessee to Natchez Mississippi. Most of the early pioneers and explorers tried to stay on rivers. That was the less difficult way to go. This was not always possible. So, great overland routes eventually developed and the Natchez Trace is one of those famous trails like the Spanish Trail, Santa Fe Trail and Cimarron Trail. If you have ever driven through the South and looked at all the trees and undergrowth you would understand just how hard it must have been to open a trail overland. It was better than it looks today because what we see is second, third, fourth growth timber. In those days the forest was in pristine development where the taller trees probably shaded out the undergrowth and pioneers had less of this to contend with.

The Natchez Trace is now a National Park Scenic Drive. It is a two-lane paved highway. What is scenic?
Trees, Trees, Trees.
Actually, it is a beautiful drive, with little signs and monuments to entertain as you drive through.

Natchez is the name of the Indians who once lived-in the area of the town Natchez Mississippi.
When Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle descended the Mississippi in 1682, some 60 years after the Pilgrims settled in Plymouth Rock, he claimed all lands and territory drained by the great river and it’s tributaries for his sovereign, Louis XIV and named it “Louisiana,” for the King and the queen Mother, Anne of Austria.

The first settlement was Natchez named after the friendly Indians living in the area. In the beginning, the Natchez were kind and helpful to the French colonist and soldiers. Eventually the French made to many demands. The Indian King Great Sun, who was only 21, decided with the advise of his counsel the only honorable thing to do was to wipe out the settlement of Natchez. All the men were killed and the women and children were captured. The retreated then to their fort awaiting their doom, as they knew the French army would soon come from New Orleans and wipe them out. The French did just that.
They killed them all but the Royal Family that they captured and eventually sold in to slavery in French West India. Today, not one person can be identified as a Natchez Indian.

It is amazing to me how bad the Indians were treated but yet their names have carried on. My home county in Kansas is Pawnee named after the Pawnee Indians. We have towns named after Indians like Montezuma. My State itself is named after the Kanza Indians.



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