Alabama's Frontiers and the Rise of the Old South

Alabama's Frontiers and the Rise of the Old South

Alabama's Frontiers and the Rise of the Old South

Alabama's Frontiers and the Rise of the Old South

Synopsis

Alabama endured warfare, slave trading, squatting, and speculating on its path to becoming America's 22nd state, and Daniel S. Dupre brings its captivating frontier history to life in Alabama's Frontiers and the Rise of the Old South. Dupre's vivid narrative begins when Hernando de Soto first led hundreds of armed Europeans into the region during the fall of 1540. Although this early invasion was defeated, Spain, France, and England would each vie for control over the area's natural resources, struggling to conquer it with the same intensity and ferocity that the Native Americans showed in defending their homeland. Although early frontiersmen and Native Americans eventually established an uneasy truce, the region spiraled back into war in the nineteenth century, as the newly formed American nation demanded more and more land for settlers. Dupre captures the riveting saga of the forgotten struggles and savagery in Alabama's--and America's--frontier days.

Excerpt

In early September of 1540, Hernando de Soto and hundreds of armed and armored Europeans, along with enslaved Africans, captured Indian porters, and a menagerie of horses, dogs, and pigs, marched down from the Appalachian highlands along the Coosa River and passed across an imaginary line that, far in the future, would demark the boundary of the state of Georgia. You could say that Alabama’s frontier history began that day, although that geopolitical division of the early nineteenth century would have been meaningless to either de Soto or the Native Americans he encountered. the Indians who witnessed the passage of the horsemen and foot soldiers through the forests and the fields lived, they believed, at the center of the world, on farmsteads and in small hamlets and the occasional larger towns that, together, constituted individual chiefdoms. the chiefdoms of that region were part of the paramount chiefdom of Coosa, which stretched from what would become southeastern Tennessee, through northwestern Georgia, into the northeast corner of Alabama. De Soto himself understood that he was passing through Coosa; he had, after all, fed his army on the maize, fruit, nuts, and meat of the chiefdom for weeks and now was moving southwestward with the chief and his sister in tow as hostages. But to his eyes this was just a small portion of a larger world that the Spanish called La Florida, an extensive if indeterminate land stretching north and west from the Gulf and . . .

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