• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

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Map showing the Natchez Trace running through Chickasaw and Choctaw lands.

Before the United States expanded beyond the Mississippi River, the land that would become Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee was known as the Southwest.  This map shows the Old Natchez Trace passing through Choctaw and Chickasaw lands.

NPS Image

The historic homeland of the Chickasaw is found in north Mississippi and western Tennessee. Though a smaller tribe than the Choctaw, the Chickasaw were known as fierce warriors and still consider themselves as "unconquered and unconquerable." Perhaps the most important Chickasaw military victories came in the spring of 1736 when they defeated the French, Choctaw, and warriors from other tribes at the Battles of Ogoula Tchetoka and Ackia, near present day Pontotoc and Tupelo, Mississippi, near Milepost 262. After the American Revolution ended in 1783, westward expansion of the United States led to a series of land cession treaties for the Chickasaw. In 1832, the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek resulted in the forced removal of the Chickasaw to lands west of the Mississippi River, to the present state of Oklahoma. Today, the Chickasaw Nation continues to be strong and resolute in preserving its historical connection with north Mississippi and the Natchez Trace Parkway.
1822 map of Mississippi that shows a few young counties, the Choctaw and Chickasaw lands, and the Natchez Trace.
In this 1822 map of Mississippi, the Choctaw and Chickasaw lands are being replaced by new counties.  The large yellow area shows the Choctaw holdings and the large light blue area in the northeast shows the Chickasaw land.  A close inspection shows a faint line, indicated by red arrows, that is the Natchez Trace.
Miss. Historical Society

Did You Know?

Meriwether Lewis Monument, Natchez Trace Parkway, Tennessee

Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory when he died on the Natchez Trace in 1809, at Grinder's Stand in Tennessee. A monument was erected in his honor in 1848 and can be seen along the Natchez Trace Parkway today.