The New International Encyclopædia/Natchez (tribe)

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NATCHEZ, năch′ĕz (from their native name, Na'chi). An interesting tribe, constituting a distinct linguistic stock, originally residing in nine villages in the vicinity of the present city of Natchez, Miss., with a total population of perhaps 2500. Although comparatively a small tribe, they exercised a commanding influence from the Gulf to the Ohio. Their greatest religious rites were connected with the worship of the sun. They were sedentary and agricultural, expert basket-weavers and skillful potters, while their men bore a deserved reputation as proud and determined warriors. In 1716 they quarreled with the French, who had without their consent erected Fort Rosalie in their country. In 1722 a fight occurred at the post, in which several were killed on both sides. Other collisions followed, until the Natchez secretly organized a combination of several neighboring tribes to drive out the white intruders. On November 28, 1729, the Natchez fell upon the garrison and massacred two hundred men, only twenty escaping, besides making prisoners of all the women, children, and negro slaves. The war rapidly spread to the outlying settlements, but after a few weeks the Natchez, unable to oppose the French and their Indian allies, fled across the Mississippi and fortified themselves in stockade forts on Black River, La. Here they were attacked in January, 1731, by a strong French force, which succeeded in taking nearly 450 prisoners, the rest escaping during a storm at night. All the prisoners were sold as slaves in the West Indies. The remnant, made desperate by defeat, continued the war, but were obliged to give way before fresh Spanish reinforcements from the west. This ended the war, in which they had probably lost half their tribal population. The survivors took refuge with other tribes, some with the Chickasaw, others with the Creek and Cherokee. A part of them under the name of ‘Notchee’ even found their way to South Carolina and were incorporated with the Catawba.