Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez – (c. 1200, c. 1450, 1700-30) (National Historic Landmark). Around 1200, the Plaquemine culture constructed various earthworks at the site, with more construction occurring around 1450 at the height of the Emerald-based Plaquemine culture’s power. The circa 1450 period saw the construction of the three mounds now present at the Grand Village site. After abandoning Emerald mound in 1682, the Natchez moved to this site, which then became referred to as the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. The Natchez were the last surviving mound building culture and engaged in more construction on the mounds at Grand Village. The Natchez abandoned one mound (Abandoned Mound), while adding on the two others (Sun Mound, the chief’s residence and Temple Mound, the platform for the Sun Temple). Grand Village’s proximity to Fort Rosalie (present-day Natchez) allowed for much French interaction with the Natchez and an insight into their culture; yet, that close contact eventually led to the downfall of the Natchez when they rebelled against French incursions from 1729-31. The French, along with their Choctaw allies, annihilated the Natchez, killing hundreds, enslaving hundreds, and driving the rest away. The surviving Natchez joined the Creek and Cherokee peoples, some moving as far away as North Carolina. Grand Village was abandoned, then incorporated into Fatherland Plantation. Restoration work by the MDAH (the current owner of Grand Village) occurred in the late Twentieth Century, restoring the three mounds after two centuries of abandonment, erosion, and plowing. The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians marks the last occurrence of mound building in America, the last vestiges of Mississippian culture.

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