Friday, July 1, 2011

First Chickasaw War

First Chickasaw War

The First Chickasaw War (1720-25) only brought the fighting of the previous five years into the open.
The French armed the Choctaw and sent them against the Chickasaw
, but the fortified villages were difficult to reach and dangerous to attack. Results were minimal. They also encouraged attacks by their allies north of the Ohio River against British pack trains on the Trader's Path. These also had little effect and brought trouble with the Cherokee and Upper Creeks just to the east who did not appreciate strange war parties roaming through their territory. Meanwhile, the Chickasaw retaliated with attacks on Choctaw villages and the new French settlements along the Yazoo River. Their masterstroke, however, was to occupy the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi in 1723 and block all French traffic on the lower Mississippi River.

This effectively cut New France in two and halt all communication and trade between Canada and Louisiana. Having frustrated and punished the French and allies in war, the Chickasaw then "went for the jugular" with diplomacy. At the urging of British traders, who had regained the advantage over the French with less-expensive and higher-quality goods and who were looking for new customers, the Chickasaw in 1724 offered a separate peace to the Choctaw, the major French ally in the conflict. The Choctaw had tired of the war and were interested in trade with the British. They were willing, but the French, for obvious reasons, were opposed. The Choctaw persisted, and after a year of arguments with their increasingly reluctant ally, the French were forced to bend to their wishes. In 1725 they abandoned their ambush positions along the Trader's Path, and an uneasy peace settled over the lower Mississippi.

In the midst of this,
40 Chickasaw families led by Squirrel King accepted an invitation from South Carolina and left Mississippi to settle on the Savannah River. Rather than running from a fight, their purpose was to protect the British pack trains in the east where they were coming under attack from the French allies north of the Ohio River. They provided valuable service as scouts against the Spanish in Florida during the War of Jenkins Ear (1739-48) for the British army of James Oglethorpe and were granted a 10x10 mile reserve on the Georgia side of the Savannah River near Augusta. They remained there until their lands were confiscated in 1783 by Georgia because they had helped the British defend Pensacola against a Spanish attack.
After spending some time among the Upper Creeks, by 1786 most returned to northern Mississippi.

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