Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/24

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months of bloodshed by De Soto furnishes the first authentic account of warfare within the boundaries of Alabama.

Although after this for a century and a half the foot of white man never pressed the soil of this territory, still the inhabitants did not enjoy it in peaceful possession. After the death of Montezuma and the conquest of Mexico by Cortez, the Muscogees, a powerful tribe of Indians from the northwestern part of that country, being unwilling to submit to the control of the Spaniards, sought new homes to the eastward, and we have vague accounts of the battles fought, by which they despoiled weaker and more peaceful tribes and occupied the territory, where they were found by French explorers toward the end of the seventeenth century.

In April, 1682, La Salle took possession of the mouth of the Mississippi river, and the French Canadians were active about this time in founding settlements along that river and upon the Gulf coast. In 1699 the Spaniards made a settlement at Pensacola and also laid claim to Mobile bay. Lords Bienville and Iberville founded the town of Natchez, and in 1702 they built Fort Louis (de la Louisiana) at the mouth of Dog river. The French found large numbers of human bones on Dauphin island and for many years it was called the Island of Massacre. Treaties of peace were made with the Muscogees and Alabama Indians, but these treaties did not secure to the settlers any long-continued freedom from strife; and the early occupancy by the French of South Alabama was constantly disturbed by conflicts with the Indians of greater or less severity. The hostility of the Indians to the French was intensified by the intrigues of the English. In 1707, France and Spain having united against England, Lord Bienville, with 150 French Canadians, went to the relief of Pensacola; but the English and their Indian allies evacuated the place before the arrival of the French. In 1711 the site of Mobile was permanently