Searching for Mabila

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E.P. Grondine

Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:29 pm

(Before I return to giving this Gremlin some water...)

Having noted some information on the Arkansas (Aquixo, Angel Mounds), Casqui (Kaskasia, Vincennes), Pakana (Piankashsaw) and (Moso)Pelewa (Mound City Illinois) Mississipian peoples last year, I am moving on to other topics in the location of Mississippian kingdoms.

For a long time I have "felt" that the highly unusual toponym "Burt Corn" was a reference to the DeSoto entrada, refering to the expedition's corn which was burnt at the battle of Mabila, and to the burnt corn fields around Mabila. The Creek story of how this name came about is completely unsatisfying to me.

I saw this interesting internet site today:
http://www.archeologyink.com/Going%20South.htm
with what look to be early contact artifacts shown in one of the images.
(The deeply engraved European "bottle" form is interesting.)
What might yet be recovered from that site with a salvage operation is a tantalizing thought.

The novel hypothesis there is the importance of other bays and their drainages, something which in any case has scarcely been looked at, though these were very important in the structure of the "Mississippian" polities.

The focus has remained centered on Mobile Bay, which searches have yielded nothing for over a century.

( I would like to add a note here on the patheitc state of the mangement of the Mississippian remains at Vincennes, Indiana.
The main Mississippian complex there remains completely unsurveyed, unexcavated, and undeveloped, which is very strange considering that historical tourism plays a major role in that area's economy.

Another of the remains at Vincennes is a mound where artifacts were found. Since baskets of earth were not found, it is dismissed as being a Native American structure. But it appears that instead of being piled up, that mound was cut away from an adjoining ridge.

The main evidence of a tie to De Soto are the mentions of the buffalo horms which the conquistadors found on the central mound at Casqui, but regardless of this posibility, it is a mystery to me why sites in the area have not been developed.

As I mentioned before, from what I know now Hudson et al.'s Illinois sequence/path does not hold up. )
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Thu May 02, 2013 6:33 pm, edited 7 times in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:35 pm

It is interesting to note that the professional archaeologist searching for Mabila have refused to use metal detectors.
While we all know the hesitancy, and the reasons for it, there are 2 very good reasons to reconsider this stance:

1) Contact era sites almost always have European metal artifacts and ths use of metal detectors allows the
quick and inexpensive pinpointing of both sites, and excavation areas within them, and

2) The metal detecting community has no compunctions against using their metal detectors on sites, whatever their status, aside from their worry about getting a load of buckshot for trespassing. Thus if the professional community continues its stance, the sites will assuredly be worked over by amateurs.
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:44 pm

Another frustration is the rather complete lack of work on Spanish and French contact documents for the Mobile area to extract information about the First Peoples.

It is strange that so much work focuses on the battle Mabila, and so little on the battle at Chicasa, when the latter was clearly within Chicasaw lands. Why has so little work been done on trying to locate "Chicasa"? Is it because the Chicasaw are a living people?

The lack of work on the contact era Yazoo River Basin records and sites is similar.

If you are tryng to establish the effects of the Little Ice Age in North America, or its general palaeoclimatic record, you expect this kind of fundamental work to have already been done. It has not.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:52 pm

Another major gripe I have is the site distribution maps, in which all sites all treated equaly. They were not, and are not.

Oft times an easy way to differentiate between them is by using graphics of different sizes sized to the amount of dirt moved for building at a site.

Leaving out major sites known to have been lost is disingenuous.

The site maps stop at state lines, state lines which of course meant nothing to the First Peoples.
The site maps are never on topographic maps. (So you have to mark them in on topos from Walmart.)
The main trails are never shown on the site distribution maps.
(Why the hell some people think that these trails were not used by the Spanish or irrelevant to the entrada
is completetly beyond me.)

(Hudson's team recommend this book:
DOCTOR LYNDA NORENE SHAFFER, PhD, Historian, Tufts University, Boston
1992 NATIVE AMERICA BEFORE 1492,
the Moundbuilding Centers of the Eastern Woodlands,
M.E. Sharp Press, Armonk, N.Y.)
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:09 am, edited 6 times in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:29 pm

For me, one KEY passage is this one:
[Comparative analysis now given below, see there.]

[FROM THE INCA'S HISTORY]

"In Mauvila the governor had word of the ships that Captains Gomez Arias and Diego Maldonado were bringing, exploring the coast and learning what was going on there. He received this report BEFORE THE BATTLE and afterward he verified it by the Indians who were captured, from whom he learned that the province of Achusi, which the Spaniards were going in search of, and the seacoast, were a little less than thirty leagues [78 miles]from Mauvila.

The governor was very pleased with this news, [which indicated] the conclusion and end of such a long peregrination, and the beginning and commencement of the new settlement that he intended to make in that province. His purpose, as we have said above, was to found a pueblo at the port of Achusi to receive and safeguard the ships that would come to it from all parts, and to found another pueblo twenty leagues inland from which to begin and to direct the conversion of the Indians to the faith of the holy Roman church, and to the service and augmentation of the Crown of Spain."

[The failure of Panphilo de Narvaez at Aute further to the east was known.]

"As a celebration of this good news and because he was assured that the roads were safe from Mauvila to Achusi, the governor SET FREE THE CURACA whom Captain Diego Maldonado had brought as a prisoner FROM THE PORT OF ACHUSI. The adelantado had brought him with him, treating him well, and had not sent him back to his own country previously because of the long distance and the danger that the other Indians would kill or capture him on the road. Since the governor now knew that his country was close by and that he would be safe until reaching it, he gave him permission to go to his house, charging him strictly to preserve his friendship for the Spaniards, as he would very soon have them as guests in his country. The cacique took leave, gratified by the favor that the governor showed him, and said that he would be much pleased to see him in his country in order to return the favors that he owed his lordship.

"All these desires that the adelantado had to settle the country and the method and plans that he had worked out for it in his own mind were destroyed and frustrated by discord, as it always ruins and throws down armies, republics, kings, and empires, where they allow it to enter. The door by which it found ours was that, since there were in this army some of the personages who had taken part in the conquest of El Peru and the imprisonment of Atahuallpa, and who saw the great riches there in gold and silver, and had told those who were going on this expedition about it, and since on the contrary there had not been seen in La Florida silver or gold, though the fertility and the other good qualities of the land were such as have been seen, they would not consent to settle or make an establishment in that kingdom.

"To this disappointment was added the incredible ferocity of the battle of Mauvila, which had frightened and disturbed them extraordinarily, making them wish to leave the land and go away from it as soon as they could. For they said that it was impossible to rule such bellicose people or to subjugate such bold men. From what they had seen up to that time it seemed to them that neither by force nor by persuasion could they be brought under the authority and dominion of the Spaniards; that they would allow themselves to be killed first. There was no reason for going about expending their forces a little at a time in that country; rather they ought to go to others already won, and rich, such as El Peru and Mexico, where they could enrich themselves without so much work. Therefore it would be well as soon as they should reach the coast to leave that bad country and go to New Spain.

"A few of the persons whom we have mentioned whispered and discussed these things and other similar ones among themselves, but they could not keep them so secret that some of those who had come with the governor from Spain, and were his loyal friends and companions, did not hear them. These persons told him what was going on in his army, and how they were speaking resolutely of leaving the country as soon as they should reach a place where there were ships or any vessels at all. "
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:35 am, edited 5 times in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:52 pm

Reading through the accounts, we find that the Spanish had zero understanding of the matrilinear Mississippian social structure. (I note here that little work has been done on the extracting the relaionships among the peoples, and how they tried to use the Spanish.)

There were/are also extreme language difficulties:

"The names of these provinces are not set down here because it is not known whether they were called by the name of the caciques or whether the caciques were called by the name of their lands, for we shall see below that in many parts of this great kingdom the lord and his province and its principal pueblo are called by the same name."

In the case of the Chickasaw, these are obvious.

Apparently Spanish slaving had already led to the beginnings of the Mobilian Trade pidgin "language":

"they omitted none of the notable things that Panphilo de Narvaez did on that bay, recounting them by signs and with words well or ill understood, some spoken in Spanish, for the Indians of all that coast pride themselves greatly on knowing the Spanish language and try diligently to learn a few odd words, which they repeat over and over."
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:19 pm

[THE INCA'S HISTORY]

"Do you not see that these Christians cannot be better than the former ones who committed so many cruelties in this land, since they are of the same nation and laws? Are you not warned of their treachery and perfidy? If you were men of good judgment, you would see that their very lives and actions show them to be children of the devil and not of the Sun and Moon, our gods..."

One problem here is identifying the "former" Spanish , and "this land", because of the extent of the Trade Federation.
Without going into it here, eastern Missisippian cosmological terms and concepts differed from northern and western.

Later on, at Apalachee we find:
"Some of them took new courage and strength from the memory and recollection of having defeated and destroyed Panphilo de Narvaez ten or twelve years before in this same swamp, though not at this pass. They recalled this exploit to the Spaniards and to their general, saying to them, among other taunts and insults, that they would do the same thing to them and to him."
......
"Vitachuco secretly summoned four Indians whom the governor had brought as interpreters, for since the provinces had different languages, an interpreter was needed for almost every one of them, so that they could pass on from one to another what the first speaker had said."

Four interpreters at this point, not including Ortiz. One from each Province?

"and if they wished to return to their own country, he would send them well escorted and safeguarded along the roads they traveled, until they reached their houses."...

"The four Indian interpreters replied to him ...that the whole kingdom was much indebted and obligated to him"
......
Orders to the warriors oveheard by Ortiz or Ortiz trusted with this:

"The captains replied that they were ready and prepared to obey and serve him as a lord whom they loved so much, and said that they had the Indian warriors ready for the day they all looked forward to; that they were waiting only for the hour to be set to carry out their orders. Vitachuco was well satisfied with this reply and dismissed the captains, telling them that he would notify them in time of what they must do."

When the four interpreters ...they told Juan Ortiz of the treason plotted, so that with a long account of everything that Vitachuco had communicated to them he could tell it to the governor.
...
After battle:

"The governor kept them with him two days after this conversation, entertaining and caressing them constantly and seating them at his own table to eat, in order to win their fathers to his friendship and devotion, which honor the youths esteemed very highly. At the end of two days he sent them to their homes with presents of linen, cloth, silk, mirrors, and other things from Spain that he gave them for their fathers and mothers, and accompanied by some Indians of theirs who were found among the prisoners. He ordered them to tell their fathers what a good friend of theirs he had been, and would be to them also if they desired his friendship."

(Somebody is translating at this point. The "things from Spain" may show up in excavation. Aside from that, DeSoto was engaged in tryiing to find militarily useful information.)
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:23 am, edited 3 times in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:11 pm

"Therefore there was no passage for crossing the woods and the swamp except by a path the Indians had made, so narrow that two men abreast could scarcely go along it."

[Once again, the trail network. By the way, I did this exercise years ago as well, but know a little more now.]

Of the bay south of Apalachee:

"After doing this, they followed the shore of the bay to the sea, which was three leagues (7.8 miles) away, and at ebb tide ten or twelve swimmers embarked in some old abandoned canoes they found, and sounded the depth of the bay in midchannel.They found it deep enough for large ships "
.....
Note the Spanish use of markers:
"Captain Juan de Anasco and his soldiers went about very carefully looking to see whether they might have placed some letters in hollow trees or cut some words on the bark that would tell some of the things that these others had seen and noted - because it has been a very usual and customary thing for the first discoverers of new lands to leave such messages for their successors, and these messages often have been of great importance"
Juan de Anasco had orders from the governor to go in the two brigantines that had remained at the Bay of Espiritu Santo, and coast along the shore to the west as far as the Bay of Aute, which Juan de Anasco himself had discovered with so much trouble, as we saw, and had left signs there so that it could be recognized when they should come along that coast by sea
....
"That good gentleman, Gomez Arias, also had orders from the governor to go to La Havana in the caravel to visit [his wife]..the city of La Havana and all the island of Santiago de Cuba, and to give them an account of everything that had happened to them up to that time "
[Which account(s) appear(s) to have been completely lost, which is strange.]
............

"A few days after the events just described, as the governor was never lazy but was contriving and planning in his own mind what seemed to him to be conducive to the discovery and conquest and later to the settlement of the country, he ordered a gentleman from Salamanca named Diego Maldonado (who was a captain of infantry and had served to the great satisfaction of the whole army in everything that had occurred up to that time) to turn his company over to another gentleman, named Juan de Guzman, a native of Talabera de la Reyna and a great friend and comrade of his, and go to the Bay of Aute.

"Taking the two brigantines that the accountant Juan de Anasco had left there, he was to go along the coast toward the west for a distance of a hundred leagues and observe and reconnoiter with all care and diligence the ports, inlets, coves, bays, creeks, and rivers that he might find, and the shoals along the coast, and of all this he was to bring a satisfactory report. He [the governor] said that he thought it well to have all this information for future use, and he gave him two months' time to go and return.

"Captain Diego Maldonado went to the Bay of Aute and from there he set sail on his mission, and having spent the two months in sailing along the coast, he came back at the end of them with a long report of what he had seen and discovered. Among other things he said that sixty leagues [150 miles, but it appears the Spanish could not determine absolute longitude] from the Bay of Aute he had discovered a very fine port called Achusi, sheltered from all winds and large enough for many ships, and with such a good depth up to the shore that it was possible to bring the ships up to land and disembark without building up breakwaters.

"He brought with him from this voyage two Indians who were natives of this same port and province of Achusi, one of them being a lord of vassals. He had seized them with a craftiness and cunning unworthy of a gentleman, for when he arrived at the port of Achusi the Indians received him peaceably, and with many kind expressions they invited him to come ashore and take whatever he needed as if he were in his own country. Diego Maldonado did not dare accept the invitation because he did not trust unknown friends. As the Indians sensed this, they began to traffic with the Spaniards freely to remove the fear and suspicion they might have of them. Thus they came to the brigantines in groups of three or four to visit Diego Maldonado and his companions, bringing them what they asked. The Indians being so friendly, the Spaniards now dared to sound and explore in their small boats all parts of the port, and as they had seen and purchased what they needed for continuing their voyage,

"they set sail and went away, taking the two Indians as prisoners; they happened to be the CURACA and a relative of his. Confiding in the good friendship that heathen and faithful alike (though to them they were not so) had shown, and impelled by the story that the other Indians had told them of the brigantines and desiring to see what they had never seen before, they had dared to enter them and visit the captain and his soldiers. The latter, as they knew that one of them was the cacique, were glad to carry him off."
.....
[De Soto took these with him, and before the battle released them at Mabila, which was likely aligned with Achuse, if not a part of it.]
......For me, one KEY passage is this one:

[FROM THE INCA'S HISTORY]

"In Mauvila the governor had word of the ships that Captains Gomez Arias and Diego Maldonado were bringing, exploring the coast and learning what was going on there. He received this report BEFORE THE BATTLE and afterward he verified it by the Indians who were captured, from whom he learned that the province of Achusi, which the Spaniards were going in search of, and the seacoast, were a little less than thirty leagues [78 miles]from Mauvila.

The governor was very pleased with this news, [which indicated] the conclusion and end of such a long peregrination, and the beginning and commencement of the new settlement that he intended to make in that province. His purpose, as we have said above, was to found a pueblo at the port of Achusi to receive and safeguard the ships that would come to it from all parts, and to found another pueblo twenty leagues inland from which to begin and to direct the conversion of the Indians to the faith of the holy Roman church, and to the service and augmentation of the Crown of Spain."

[The failure of Panphilo de Narvaez at Aute further to the east was known.]

"As a celebration of this good news and because he was assured that the roads were safe from Mauvila to Achusi, the governor SET FREE THE CURACA whom Captain Diego Maldonado had brought as a prisoner FROM THE PORT OF ACHUSI. The adelantado had brought him with him, treating him well, and had not sent him back to his own country previously because of the long distance and the danger that the other Indians would kill or capture him on the road. Since the governor now knew that his country was close by and that he would be safe until reaching it, he gave him permission to go to his house, charging him strictly to preserve his friendship for the Spaniards, as he would very soon have them as guests in his country. The cacique took leave, gratified by the favor that the governor showed him, and said that he would be much pleased to see him in his country in order to return the favors that he owed his lordship.

"All these desires that the adelantado had to settle the country and the method and plans that he had worked out for it in his own mind were destroyed and frustrated by discord, as it always ruins and throws down armies, republics, kings, and empires, where they allow it to enter. The door by which it found ours was that, since there were in this army some of the personages who had taken part in the conquest of El Peru and the imprisonment of Atahuallpa, and who saw the great riches there in gold and silver, and had told those who were going on this expedition about it, and since on the contrary there had not been seen in La Florida silver or gold, though the fertility and the other good qualities of the land were such as have been seen, they would not consent to settle or make an establishment in that kingdom.

"To this disappointment was added the incredible ferocity of the battle of Mauvila, which had frightened and disturbed them extraordinarily, making them wish to leave the land and go away from it as soon as they could. For they said that it was impossible to rule such bellicose people or to subjugate such bold men. From what they had seen up to that time it seemed to them that neither by force nor by persuasion could they be brought under the authority and dominion of the Spaniards; that they would allow themselves to be killed first. There was no reason for going about expending their forces a little at a time in that country; rather they ought to go to others already won, and rich, such as El Peru and Mexico, where they could enrich themselves without so much work. Therefore it would be well as soon as they should reach the coast to leave that bad country and go to New Spain.

"A few of the persons whom we have mentioned whispered and discussed these things and other similar ones among themselves, but they could not keep them so secret that some of those who had come with the governor from Spain, and were his loyal friends and companions, did not hear them. These persons told him what was going on in his army, and how they were speaking resolutely of leaving the country as soon as they should reach a place where there were ships or any vessels at all. "

BIEDMA'S ACCOUNT DIFFERS:

"Francisco Maldonado, a nobleman from Salamanca, went in the brigantines, cruising the coast and entering all the coves and inlets and rivers that he saw, until he arrived at a river where he found a good entrance, and a good port and a town of Indians on the seacoast. Some came to barter with him, and he captured one of those Indians and came back for where we were.

"He spent two months on this journey, yet to all of us it became a thousand years through detaining us there so long, since we had news of the interior. When Maldonado came, the Governor told him that since we were going in search of the land that Indian told us was on another sea, he should return in those brigantines to the island of Cuba, where Dona Isabel de Bobadilla, the wife of the Governor, was, and that if within six months he had no news of us, he should come back in those brigantines and cruise the coast as far as the river of Espiritu Santo [FLORIDA, where they had landed?], because we would have to RETURN there.
....
Because he said that he could not give us anything there, that we should go to another town of his, which was called Mavila, and that there he would give us what we requested of him, we headed for there, arriving at a large river [rio caudal], which we believe is the river that flows into the bay of {A}Chuse. Here [Piachi] we had news of how the boats of Narvaez had arrived in need of water, and that here among these Indians remained a Christian who was called Don Teodoro, and a black man with him. They showed us a dagger that the Christian had.

"We were here two days making rafts to cross this river, during which the Indians killed a Christian who was one of the Governor's guard. In a fit of anger, he [the Governor] treated the cacique badly and told him that he was going to burn him unless he gave him the Indians that had killed the Christian. He said that in his town of Mavila he would give them to us.

"This cacique was an Indian who brought along many other Indians who served him, and he always walked with a very large fly-flap [moscador] made of feathers, which an Indian carried behind him in order to block the sun...

...We arrived at Mavila one day at nine in the morning. It was a small and very strongly palisaded town and was situated on a plain...

[After the battle:]

"We heard through news from the Indians that we were up to forty leagues from the sea. Many wished that the Governor would go to the sea, because they (the Indians) gave us news of the brigantines, but he did not dare, for the month of November was already half over and it was very cold, and he felt it advisable to look for a land where he might find provisions in order to be able to winter. In this (land) there were none, because it was a land of little food."

RANGEL'S ACCOUNT:

"Maldonado discovered a very good port and brought an Indian from a province that is next to that coast, which is called Achuse, and he brought a good blanket of sables. They had seen others in Apalache, but not like this.

"Captain Maldonado was dispatched for Havana, and he left from Apalache on the twenty-sixth of February of fifteen forty, with an order and command from the Governor that he should return to the port that he had discovered [which is to say the port Maldonaldo had discovered, Achuse, and not the one they had used for landing, Espirto Sancto], and to that coast where the Governor planned to come. "....

"In that town Piachi it was found out that they [Piachi?] had killed Don Teodoro, and a black man, who came forth from the boats of Panfilo de Narvaez.

On Saturday, the sixteenth of October, they departed from there and went to a forest, where one of the two Christians that the Governor had sent to Mabila came; and he said that there was a great gathering of armed people in Mabila. The next day they went to a palisaded town, and messengers from Mabila came who brought to the cacique much chestnut bread, for there are many and good chestnuts in his land.

[What happened to the captives of Achuse?]

THE GENTLEMAN'S ACCOUNT

"Three or four days after the time limit set by the governor to Maldonado for going and coming (although he had planned and determined not to await him longer if he did not come within a week from that time), he [Maldonado] came and brought an Indian from a province called Ochuse, sixty leagues from Apalache, where he had found a port of good depth and sheltered. And because he hoped to find farther on a good land, the governor was very happy and sent Maldonado to Havana for provisions with orders to wait at the port of Ochuse which he [Maldonado] had discovered; and that he [the governor] would go overland in search of it; and that if he [the governor] were delayed and should not go [to that port] that summer he [Maldonado] should return to the Havana, and the next summer return to wait at the port, for he [the governor] would do nothing else than go in search of Ochuse.
....

[The Gentleman makes no mention of the Achuse captive at Piache.]

"After crossing the river of Piache, a Christian left the ranks there and went to look for an Indian woman who had escaped from him, and the Indians captured or killed him. The governor urged the cacique to inform him of the man and threatened him that if he did not appear, he would never let him [the cacique] go. The cacique sent an Indian from that place to Mavilla, whither they were marching - a town of one of the principal Indians, his vassal - saying that he was sending him [the messenger] to advise him [his vassal] to have provisions prepared and Indians for carrying; but as it afterward appeared he ordered him to assemble there all the warriors whom he had in his land.
......
After the battle, DeSoto learns news from Achuse via Ortiz:

"The governor learned there that Francisco Maldonado was awaiting him in the port of Ochuse and that it [Ochuse] was six days' journey from there.

"He arranged with Juan Ortiz that he should keep still about it, so that the men might not oppose his determination, and because the pearls which he desired to send to Cuba as samples had been burned; for if the news [of the ship] were noised about the men might desire to go to that land [Cuba]. And fearing that if news were heard of him, unless they saw gold or silver, or anything of value, it [Florida] would acquire such a reputation that no man would desire to go thither when people might be needed; consequently, he determined not to give news of himself so long as he did not find a rich land.
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:48 pm

So, we have some new Spanish artifact sites, on the Pea River and in Georgia, but even what use the Spanish made of Tallahassee is an open question, whether it was a Winter Camp or field camp. Choctwa/hatchee does not work as Achusi.
As near as I can make out now, the Hudson teams' southern Illinois series does not work.

On the other hand, the Chickasaw were on the Natchez Trace, from the Choctaw lands to at least Florence, Alabama and from ther west along the trade paths to the Chickasaw Bluffs area (Memphis).

Early Spanish artifacts have been found near Pontotoc, which may have been the Chickasaw capital in earlier times, as it was in later times. Or the artifacts may have been carried to there along the Natchez Trace.

Everone talks about a ribbon of sites, but no one can find even one of them, while the area to search for the site of Chicasa is evident. Wouldn't locating that site and excavating it make for a very good archaeological career? No problem gettting grants, a high salary, great resources, recognition?

Which leads us to the question of why early Chicasaw studies are in such poor shape.
Following Swanton, ethno-historical work stopped.
And as far as Swanton's studies go, while the Choctaw, Chichasaw, and Creek remembered their migration into the South East, these have never been tied to the archaeological record.
And as near as I can make out, the retrieval of contact records since Swanton has been abysimal.

Cartographic work on the "DeSoto" map is nil, its other sources unexamined.
Pineda's Gulf Coast survey?

One of the few bright spots has been the work done on the Natchez area.
Nothing similar exists for the other watersheds flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

The University of North Carloina's map archive system deserves recognition as well.
But their lack of the early Spanish maps of the Gulf Coast is irritating:
http://www.lindseywilliams.org/index.ht ... ~mainFrame, etc.
Unfortunately, Williams does not give links to his map sources, and high resolution images are neccessary for place name work. Finding and linking to those images would be a valuable additiion to the University of North Carolina's database.

See Weddles analysis here, including the footnotes:
http://books.google.com/books?id=zzGpha ... ap&f=false

Weddle sets Achuse as being at Pensicola, rather than Mobile.

Out of the expedition came the De Soto Map of 1544, drawn by Alonso de Santa Cruz, based on data from Ayllon, Ponce de Leon, Narvaez, Cabeza de Vaca, Coronado, and De Soto. This was the basis for the Chavez map.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Fri May 03, 2013 6:21 pm

Materials for backtracking from Pontotoc (assumed here to be the Chickasaw capital) to the River Crossing (and fom there to Mabila):

RANGEL'S ACCOUNT:
On Sunday, the fourteenth of November of the aforesaid year [1540, on the Full Moon, 28 days after arriving there], the Governor left Mabila, and the following Wednesday he arrived at a very good river, and on Thursday, the twenty-eighth they went across bad crossings and swamps and found a town with corn, which was called Talicpacana.

The Christians had discovered on the other side of the river a town that seemed good to them from a distance, and well situated, and on Sunday, the twenty-first of November, Vasco Gonzalez found a town, a half-league from this one, which is called Moculixa, from which they had transferred all the corn to the other side of the river, and they had it in heaps, covered with mats, and the Indians were on the other side of the water, making threats. A piragua was made, which was finished on the twenty-ninth of the month [during the darkness of New Moon], and they made a large cart to carry it up to Moculixa, and having launched it in the water, sixty soldiers entered in it. The Indians shot innumerable darts, or more accurately arrows; but as this great canoe landed, they fled and did not wound but three or four Christians. They took the land easily and found plenty of corn.

The next day, Wednesday, all the army went to a town that is called Zabusta, and there they crossed the river in the piragua and with some canoes that they took there; and they went to take lodging in another town on the other end [of that valley], because upriver they found another good town and took its lord, who was named Apafalaya, and brought him as guide and interpreter, and that bank was called the River of Apafalaya.

From this river and province the Governor and his people LEFT IN SEARCH OF CHICASA on Thursday, the ninth of December, and they arrived the following Tuesday [December 14, 1540, on the Full Moon] at the River of Chicasa, having passed many bad crossings and swamps and rivers and cold weather...

They found that the River of Chicasa was flowing out of its bed, and the Indians on the other side were up in arms, with many white banners. Orders were given to make a piragua, and the Governor sent Baltasar de Gallegos with thirty swimmers on horseback to go to look upriver for a place where they could cross and attack suddenly upon the Indians; but he was detected, and so they [the Indians] abandoned the crossing, and they crossed very well in the piragua on Thursday, the sixteenth of the month.

And the Governor advanced with some on horseback, and they arrived very late at night at the town of the lord, and all the people were gone. The next day Baltasar de Gallegos arrived with the thirty who went with him.

They were there in Chicasa that Christmas, and it snowed with as much wind as if they were in Burgos, and with as much or more cold.

CHICASA USE SPANISH AS MERCENARIES:
Monday, the third of January of fifteen forty-one, the cacique of Chicasa came in peace and gave guides and interpreters to the Christians in order to go to Caluga, which had much renown among the Indians. Caluga is a province of more than ninety towns (not subject to anyone) of ferocious people, very bellicose and very feared, and the land is prosperous in those parts. In Chicasa the Governor commanded that half of the people of his army should go to make war on Sacchuma, and on their return the cacique Miculasa made peace, and messengers came from Talapatica.

THE GENTLEMAN OF ELVA"S ACCOUNT:
On Sunday, November 18, now that it was learned that our wounded men were getting well, the governor set out from Mavilla, all the men having provided themselves with maize for two days. They marched for five days through an unpeopled region, and arrived at a province called [A]Pafallaya and a town called Talicpataua.

Thence, they went to another town by name Cabusto, near which flowed a large river. The Indians on the other side of it gave loud cries, telling the Christians that if they crossed over the river to them they would have to kill them. The governor ordered a piragua built inside the town, so that the Indians might not perceive it. It was made in four days.

When it was finished, he ordered it to be transported one night a half league up stream. In the morning, thirty well-armed men entered it. The Indians perceived what was being planned and those who were nearest ran up to forbid the crossing. They resisted it as well as they could until the Christians were near them; and seeing that the piragua was about to land fled through some canebrakes. The Christians mounted their horses and went upstream to assure a crossing where the governor, with all those who remained with him, crossed over. Along the river were some towns well provided with maize and beans.

FROM THAT PLACE TO CHICASA, THE GOVERNOR MARCHED FOR FIVE DAYS through an unpopulated region. He reached a river where some Indians on the other side tried to forbid him crossing. In two days another piragua was made. When it was finished, the governor ordered an Indian to announce to the cacique that he should desire his friendship and should await him peacefully. But the Indians on the other side of the river killed him in his [the governor's] sight, and immediately went away uttering loud cries.

Having crossed the river next day, December 17 (1540), the governor reached CHICASA, A SMALL TOWN OF TWENTY HOUSES. After they were in Chicasa they suffered great hardships and cold, for it was already winter, and most of the men were lodged in the open field in the snow before having any place where they could build houses. This land was very well peopled, the population being spread out as was that of Mavilla. It was fertile and abounding in maize, most of this being still in the fields. The amount necessary for passing the winter was gathered.

Certain Indians were captured, among whom was one who was greatly esteemed by the cacique. By means of an Indian the governor sent word to the cacique that he desired to see him and wished his friendship. The cacique came to offer himself to him, together with his person, land, and vassals. He said that he would cause two caciques to come in peace.

A few days afterward they came with him accompanied by their Indians, one being named Alimamu and the other Nicalasa. They presented the governor with one hundred and fifty rabbits and some clothing of their land, namely blankets and skins.

CHICASA USE SPANISH AS MERCENARIES:
The cacique of Chicasa came to visit him frequently and sometimes the governor ordered him summoned and sent him a horse to go and come. He [the cacique] made complaint to him [the governor], that one of his vassals had risen against him, withholding his tribute, and asked that he protect him against him, saying that he was about to go to seek him in his land and punish him as he deserved all pretense, for it was planned that while the governor went with him and the camp was divided into two parts, some would attack the governor and others those who remained in Chicasa.

HE [the cacique] WENT TO THE TOWN WHERE HE LIVED AND CAME WITH TWO HUNDRED INDIANS AND THEIR BOWS AND ARROWS. The governor took thirty horse and eighty foot and went to Saquechuma, as the province of the principal man was called, who he [the cacique] told him [the governor] had rebelled against him. They found an enclosed town which had been abandoned by the Indians, and those who were with the cacique set fire to the houses in order to conceal their treachery. But since the men taken by the governor were very watchful and prudent, as well as those who remained in Chicasa, on that occasion they did not dare attack us.

THE INCA'S HISTORY:
"Taking up the thread of our History, then, after the Spaniards had spent twenty-three or twenty-four days in camp at Mauvila recovering from their wounds, and had regained some strength for continuing their discovery, they left the province of Tascaluca, and AT THE END OF THREE DAYS JOURNEY that they made through some pleasant though uninhabited country, they entered another, called CHICASA. The first pueblo of this province that our men reached was not the principal one, but one of the others in its jurisdiction. It was situated on the edge of a large and deep river having very high banks. The pueblo was on the side of the river from which the Spaniards approached.

AN ACCOUT OF THE RIVER CROSSING:
THE INCA GIVES IT AS IN CHICASA, THE GENTLEMAN AS CABUSTO, AND RANGEL AS MOCULIXA
WAS THE INCA'S CONFUSION CAUSED BY THE SIMILARITY OF THE CHICKASAW AND CHOCTAW LANGUAGES?
BUT THE INCE PRETTY MUCH OMITS EVERYTHING UP TO THE BATTLE OF CHICASA - WHY?


"As soon as the infantry who were in the first boat came ashore, they went into a small pueblo that was on the very brink of the river...

Our Spaniards overcame the difficulty of crossing the first river of the province of Chicasa with the labor and danger of which we have told, and as they found themselves free of the enemy, they dismantled the pirogues and kept the nails for making others whenever it might be necessary. Having done this, they went on with their discovery, and IN FOUR DAILY JOURNEYS THE MADE THROUGH A LEVEL COUNTRY, WELL POPULATED, though the pueblos were scattered and had few houses, THEY REACHED THE PRINCIPAL PEUBLO, CALLED CHICASA, from which the whole province takes its name. It was situated on a level elevation extending from north to south between two streams having little water but much timber, consisting of walnuts, oaks, and live oaks, at the foot of which was the fruit of two or three years. The Indians let it go to waste because they had no cattle to eat it and they themselves did not use it, having other, better and more delicate fruits to eat.

The general and his captains reached the pueblo Chicasa at the beginning of December of the year 1540 and found it abandoned. Since it was now winter, it seemed to them that it would be well to winter there. Having decided to do so, they collected all the necessary provisions and brought from the outlying small pueblos much wood and straw from which to make houses, because THOSE OF THE PRINCIPAL PEUBLO, THOUGH THEY NUMBERED TWO HUNDRED, were not enough.

NO MENTON MADE BY THE INCA OF THE CHICASAW USE OF SPANISH AS MERCENRIES
....
The army left the camp of Alibamo, which was the last one in the province of Chicaca [X?CHICASA], after the four days that they were forced to spend there on account of the wounded. After three more days' march through an UNINHABITED REGION, always going north in order to withdraw from the sea, they came within sight of a pueblo called Chisca.

WHERE LA SALLE GOT HIS IDEA OF THE CHICAGUO RIVER:
It was near a large river, which because it was the greatest of all those that our Spaniards saw in La Florida they called the Rio Grande, without giving it any other name. Juan Coles says in his Relation that in the Indian language this river was called Chucagua, and below we shall describe its grandeur at more length, for it was a wonderful thing. The Indians of this province of Chisca, because of the continuous war that they have with those of Chicarra [X? CHICASA] and because of the uninhabited region that lies between the two provinces, knew nothing of the Spaniards' coming to their country, and thus they were unprepared.
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Sat May 04, 2013 7:28 pm, edited 7 times in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Fri May 03, 2013 7:56 pm

Now try to line up the garbled accounts with the map:

http://www.kyhistory.com/cdm/singleitem ... 114/rec/20

Moral: I don't know if its a good idea to take directions from the lost.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat May 04, 2013 12:21 pm

A few more relevant points:

1) The hypothesis that DeSoto knew his forces were too weak to conquer Achuse has not been directly discussed, even though his actions in by-passing a large nation after the Battle of Mabila is widely attested.

2) The use of the Spanish as mercenaries by the various nations is not widely discussed, while therin laid DeSoto's key to survival after the battle: he worked as a mercenary for the Chickasaw. After the Battle at Mabila, did he have enough knowledge to develop this strategy as a plan?

3) I know the the trail map to be wrong in some details: the trail from Birmingham to Guntersville (near Huntsville) is not shown; routes along the Big Black River and the Yazoo River are not shown; the Old Spanish Road along the Mississipppi River is not shown. Again, major Mississipian Centers are not shown on the trail map either. The Mississippian sites could be shown in 2 classes, CAPITAL LETTER and lower case. The ocean and the rivers could be shown blue, the land green, and the size set at 1080 HD. Still better, salt sources, quarries, and metal, and gemstone sources could be shown.

Then create another one on a larger scale showing Missippian centers west of and on the Mississippi River, incuding those laying in Indiana and Illinois to the north.

4) That said, it is widely accepted that Talisi laid in the Montgomery area, and Mabila laid south of there. Looking at the trail map, we see only 3 possible routes from Montgomery area to Pontotoc.

5) The spanish artifact recovered from Ingomar Mound:
http://www.visitnewalbany.com/attractions.asp?id=12
and on display at The New Albany museum is not widely known:
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_de ... 61a19221b8

"When this site was first excavated by the Smithsonian in 1885, a silver plate bearing a Spanish Coat of Arms was found, stirring the debate that the mounds may have been used by later Native American tribes. It may have also been the site of Hernando Desoto's Winter Camp in 1541. However, this debate goes on even today, and researchers continue to discover clues to its secrets."

6) In my opnion, this contact era site needs an immediate metal detection survey to be done on it, for the reasons stated earlier.
Last edited by E.P. Grondine on Sat May 04, 2013 7:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat May 04, 2013 6:42 pm

Looking at possible routes from Burnt Corn, Alabama, De Soto may have gone through St Stephens and then turned north.
Or De Soto may have turned north to the Selma area and then headed west.

The kingdom that DeSoto avoided may have been that of the Choctaw, based on the reports of its size.
I do not know of any Mississippian kingdom of that size at that time in that area.

It appears that it is possible that the Mississippian kindom near the Tuscaloosa River was not that large at that time.

This leaves the problem of determing where the River of the Chicasa was crossed, a 4 to 5 day ride from Pontotoc.

I suggest that Cotton Gin Port on the Tombigbee River may be this location. The site of the later French Fort is likely to be of high interest, and I suggest that a metal detector sweep of that contact era site also be performed immediately.

There is absolutely no sense in loosing important contact era metal artifacts to collectors.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat May 04, 2013 8:57 pm

While Gideon Linnecum's records of the Choctaw's own history as they remembered it are at the University of Texas Austin:

http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/ar ... ny-talents

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utcah/00 ... 00119.html

I do not know if his notes contain any Choctaw or Chicasaw memories of DeSoto.
What Choctaw and Chicasaw memories of the Mississippian Kingdoms they may contain is another item of high interest.

I think this collection would be a good place to look for them, but I am not a post doctoral student:
http://www.cah.utexas.edu/research/smith_travel.php
I would also need two letters of recommendation:
http://www.cah.utexas.edu/research/smit ... equire.php

For those visiting the Pontotoc area, Tupelo is fine base of operations, with many Elvis related sites, inexpensive accomodations, good dining, and an arts scene.

E.P. Grondine

Re: Searching for Mabila

Post by E.P. Grondine » Sat May 04, 2013 11:25 pm

The Ocooloo Falaya division of the Choctaw Nation may have been related to the Spaniard's Apafallaya.

See:
http://books.google.com/books/reader?id ... _atb_hover

Roman's Concise History of East and West Florida, page 73-74:
Congeeto and Coosa form Oypat Ocooloo in east.
Western divions are Ocoloo Falaya, Ocoloo Hanale, and Chickasawbays
[Further information may be found in French trade records from Mobile.]

page 86:
Chichasawbays and Yonoi live in Pasca Ocoloo area

page 90:
list of some Mississippian survivors as Muskogee-Creek likely to be source of Swanton's confusion

page 101:
list of other Mississippian survivors

page 102:
examples of Choctaw and Creek hieroglyhpics

page 326:
The author describes the TUSCALOOSA RIVER as flowing into the Tombigbee River from the east, 70 miles down river and 24-25 land miles south from the abandoned French Fort of the same name.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Tombecbe

Area just south ot it was former residence of Coosada [Kushita-Creek?], and lays on a war/trade path.

Nunca FALAYA [Apafallayya] lies to the south of it.

Now try to line up the garbled accounts with the map.

Moral: It is not a good idea to try to get accurate directions from the lost.

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