Natchez Rebellion

What was the Natchez Rebellion?

The Natchez Rebellion, also known as Natchez Revolt, was an uprising of the Native American Natchez people against French colonists. The Natchez attacked the French colonists in response to their insulting treatment of the Natchez. The rebellion took place in the 17th century. In response, the French later attacked the Natchez and eliminated its presence as a political entity.

When and where did the rebellion take place?

The Natchez Rebellion took place on November 29, 1729. It took place in the modern-day area of Natchez in the state of Mississippi.

Background of the Natchez Rebellion

A few decades before the rebellion, the French explorers traveled along the Mississippi River and came across the Natchez people. By the beginning of the 18th century, French were in active contact with them. The Natchez traded with the French and many of them saw the French colonists as their allies.

Some of the Natchez sided with the British colonists. The relationship between the French and the Natchez was initially friendly. However, this began to change with time. In 1716, the first armed conflict between the two sides took place.

Events leading up to the Rebellion

Natchez were a proud people. When the French failed to observe their customs when dealing with them, or insulted them in any way, Natchez reacted fiercely. This resulted in a number of wars between the French and the Natchez.

In most of these conflicts, the Natchez suffered heavily. They lost a number of village chiefs and a number of their people were executed by the French. Ordinarily, French had to purchase land rights from the Natchez when taking over their territories.

In 1728, a new French colonial administrator refused to follow this custom. He demanded the ownership of a central parcel of land at a Natchez village. This greatly offended the Natchez and became the key cause of the rebellion.

The Rebellion

After carefully planning the attack for many days, the Natchez attacked French colonists in and around Fort Rosalie. They arrived inside the fort disguised and carrying gifts like corn and furs. Once inside they launched the attack and opened fire on the colonists.

Some of the Natchez warriors were also stationed near Mississippi River to prevent the escape of the French through the river. In all, nearly 230 colonists were killed in the attack. A number of women were taken captives while the fort and surrounding farms were burned to the ground.

Result and Aftermath

The Natchez Rebellion was a major setback for the French colonists. It also reflected poorly on the way French colonial administrators had handled relations with the Natchez. In the years following the rebellion, French colonists and soldiers relentlessly pursued the Natchez.

Many of the Natchez were killed while others were forced to take refuge with different tribes. The most important Natchez leader, Great Sun, was captured by the French and sold into slavery. By 1740, Natchez no longer existed as a tribe but as scattered refugees in different parts of North America.

Learn about the Natchez Revolt at Wikipedia

Natchez: Landmarks, Lifestyles, and Leisure (Images of America: Mississippi) Paperback – November 17, 1999