After the Choctaw had lost more than 450 people to Chickasaw raids, Bienville began to secretly provide them with arms

After the Choctaw had lost more than 450 people to Chickasaw raids, Bienville began to secretly provide them with arms

After the Choctaw had lost more than 450 people to Chickasaw raids, Bienville began to secretly provide them with arms

Not eager to start another arms race similar to the Beaver Wars in the Great Lakes (1630-1700), Iberville engaged the services of Henri de Tonti (who had abandoned his Illinois trading post to join the Louisiana colony) to establish friendly relations with the Chickasaw and lure them away from the British.

Tonti visited the Chickasaw villages and, after reminding them of their friendly encounter with La Salle in 1682, invited their minkos to meet with Iberville and the other tribes at Mobile in spring of 1702.

The response of the Chickasaw leadership appeared positive, but to reach Mobile, they would first have to pass through Choctaw territory (definitely an unfriendly place since recent Chickasaw raids had killed almost 2,000 Choctaw and probably condemned an equal number to slavery) or be forced into a long detour through the Upper Creek country in Alabama (not entirely safe either).

Because there were British traders living among the Creeks, Tonti decided the direct route was preferable, but on his second trip to negotiate a truce between the Choctaw and Chickasaw for a safe passage, his scouts discovered a large Chickasaw war party heading south to attack the Choctaw.

At the conference, Iberville provided the usual gifts but warned the Chickasaw about British intentions (taking their land) and demanded that they terminate their trade (slaving).

If refused, he threatened to arm the other tribes against them, while at the same time “sweetening the pot” with offers to supply them with French goods at lower prices that the British.

Iberville’s gift for diplomacy may have salvaged the situation, but he had contracted yellow fever while fighting the British in the West Indies and died in Havana

It was difficult for the Chickasaw to refuse him, and they accepted the protection of the French with the provision there would be no missionaries.

Michel, a 14 year-old boy, to live with the Chickasaw, ostensibly to learn their language, but mostly to insure their compliance with the agreement.

Apparently, the right hand of the Chickasaw leadership was not always aware of what its left was doing, and Tonti was finally forced to personally escort the Chickasaw to Mobile

For the most part, Chickasaw leaders tried to keep their word to the French, but inducements offered by Carolina traders, including a peace arranged with the Iroquois in 1706, split them into pro-British and pro-French factions .

By 1705 British traders had gotten some pro-British Chickasaw to resume their slave raids, and the fragile peace in the area disintegrated.

Their place was taken by Iberville’s brother, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne d’ Bienville, a competent man but far more inclined to deal with the Chickasaw through action than words.

Of course, there was nothing secretive after Chickasaw raiders were routinely greeted with bullets rather of arrows during attacks on the Choctaw villages.

By 1711 the enslavement of their women and children for debts owed traders and the appropriation of a part of their homeland by German-Swiss colonists had provoked the Tuscarora into an uprising which killed more than 200 whites in North Carolina.

Virginia felt that the North Carolinians were “reaping as they had sown” and refused to help, but South Carolina sent two small armies and hundreds of Yamasee mercenaries to crush the revolt.

Although they had served the British well in the enslavement of the tribes in Spanish Florida, the Yamasee became the victims of the similar abuse as the Tuscarora when Carolina traders began seizing their children for debts.