AskDefine | Define chickasaws

Extensive Definition

''' The Chickasaw are Native American people of the United States, who originally resided along the Tennessee River west of Huntsville, Alabama covering Mississippi and Tennessee. Sometime prior to the first European contact, the Chickasaw moved east and settled east of the Mississippi River. All historical records indicate the Chickasaw lived in northeast Mississippi from the first European contact until they were forced to remove to Oklahoma, where most now live. They are related to the Choctaws, who speak a language very similar to the Chickasaw language, both forming the Western Group of the Muskogean languages. "Chickasaw" is the English spelling of Chikashsha (), that means "rebel" or "comes from Chicsa". The Chickasaw are divided in two groups: the "Impsaktea" and the "Intcutwalipa". The Chickasaws were one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" who sold their country (now the U.S. states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Illinois) and moved to Indian Territory during the era of Indian Removal. The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma is the thirteenth largest federally-recognized tribe in the United States.


Nearly 12,000 years ago, Native Americans or Paleo-indians appeared in the what today is referred to as the South. Paleoindians in the Southeast were fairly generalized hunter-gatherers who pursued a wide range of animals including the megafauna that soon became extinct following the end of the Pleistocene age.
The origin of the Chickasaws is uncertain. Noted historian Horatio Cushman indicates that the Chickasaw, along with the Choctaw, may have had Mexican origins. When Europeans first encountered them, the Chickasaws were living in villages in what is now Mississippi, with a smaller number in the area of Savannah Town, South Carolina. The Chickasaws may have been immigrants to the area and perhaps were not descendants of Indians of the pre-historic Mississippian culture. Their oral history supports this, indicating they moved along with the Choctaws from west of the Mississippi in pre-history.
The first European contact with the Chickasaws was in 1540, when Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto encountered them and stayed in one of their towns, most likely near present-day Tupelo, Mississippi. After various disagreements, the Chickasaws attacked the De Soto expedition in a nighttime raid, nearly destroying the expedition, soon after which the Spanish moved on.
The Chickasaws began to trade with the British after the colony of Carolina was founded in 1670. With British-supplied guns, the Chickasaws raided their enemies the Choctaws, capturing Choctaws and selling them into slavery, a practice that stopped once the Choctaws acquired guns from the French. The Chickasaws were often at war with the French and the Choctaws in the eighteenth century, such as in the Battle of Ackia on May 26, 1736, until France gave up her claims to the region after the Seven Years' War.
In 1793-94 Chickasaw fought as allies of the United States under General Anthony Wayne against the Indians of the old Northwest Territory, who were defeated in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, August 20 1794.


Unlike other tribes who exchanged land grants, the Chickasaw received financial compensation from the United States for their lands east of the Mississippi River. In 1836 the Chickasaws had reached an agreement that purchased land from the previously removed Choctaws after a bitter five year debate. They paid the Choctaws $530,000 for the westernmost part Choctaw land. The first group of Chickasaws moved in 1837.
The Chickasaws gathered at Memphis Tennessee on July 4, 1837 with all of their assets--belongings, livestock, and slaves. Three thousand and one Chickasaw crossed the Mississippi River, and then they followed routes previously established by Choctaws and Creeks. || 1805 || United States || Chickasaw Nation || Eliminate debt to U.S. merchants and traders || (Not Available yet) acres |- | style="background:#DDDDDD"| Treaty of Pontotoc


  • Calloway, Colin G. The American Revolution in Indian Country. Cambridge University Press, 1995.see

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