November 29, THIS DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY

November 29, 1729 – The Natchez Massacre was a surprise revolt against French colonists in the area of modern Natchez, Mississippi, by Natchez Indians on November 29, 1729. The Natchez had lived alongside the French for more than a decade prior to the incident, conducting peaceful trade and labor and even marrying some of the colonists. However, the Natchez leaders were provoked when the French colonial commandant, Sieur de Chépart, demanded land from a Natchez village for his own plantation near Fort Rosalie. More than 240 people were killed in the subsequent revolt, most of them French men, and the fort was left in ruins. The massacre destroyed some of the Louisiana colony’s most productive farms, and endangered shipments of food and trade goods on the Mississippi River. As a result, the French state withdrew management of Louisiana from the French West India Company and returned it to crown control in 1731. The governor of the colony, Étienne Périer, was recalled to France in 1732. The Natchez prepared for their strike by borrowing firearms from some French colonists, with promises to go hunting and to share the game with the guns’ owners. In the days prior to the massacre, some French men and women had heard rumors of a revolt, but the commandant, Chépart, disregarded them and even placed some of the men who voiced the warnings in irons. On the morning of November 29, 1729, Natchez Indians mounted a surprise attack on Fort Rosalie, as well as on farms and concessions in the area now covered by the city of Natchez, killing about 240 people, all of them French and most of them men. The Natchez generally spared women, children, and African slaves. Among the captives was Marie Baron Roussin—widow of Jean Roussin—who in 1731 married Jean-François-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny, as the latter revealed in his manuscript memoir, first published in French in 2008. More than 20 years after the massacre, Dumont de Montigny published a detailed history of the revolt.






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