De Soto's Expedition

De Soto's Expedition (HM1LAZ)

Location: New Houlka, MS 38850 Chickasaw County
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Country: United States of America
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N 34° 3.371', W 88° 55.471'

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Inscription

Was Owl Creek the Town of Chicasa?

Hernando De Soto landed in Florida at Tampa Bay in May, 1539. His army numbered around 800 Spaniards including two women. He also had 240 horses and several pigs. The expedition traveled through the Southeast to Texas and returned to the Mississippi River to float down to the Gulf of Mexico. Only about 300 Spaniards survived the four-year journey to reach Mexico in September of 1543.

Chicasa was a village occupied by the Chickasaw Indians. The Chickasaws attacked and burned their own village in 1541 while Hernando De Soto and his Spanish army were living there, in order to drive the Spaniards out.

It has been suggested that Owl Creek Mounds was the site of Chicasa. However, according to archaeological discoveries the mounds were abandoned around A.D. 1200. No one lived at Owl Creek Mounds at the time of De Soto's expedition.

In December, 1540, De Soto entered what is now the state of Mississippi with his army of about 700 Spaniards and Indian captives. When they arrived at the banks of a flooded Tombigbee River, a group of Indians on its west bank began threatening the army. De Soto dispatched 30 mounted soldiers to cross upstream and frighten the Indians away. Once the hostile Indians departed, De Soto's army crossed the river and continued without opposition.

De Soto and his army spent that winter in the village of Chicasa. The Indians abandoned the village to the Spaniards and moved to a smaller village a few miles away, but the Chickasaw chief still visited Chicasa, bringing gifts of dogs, rabbits, and animal hides to De Soto and his army.

In March, 1541, the Chickasaws attacked the village of Chicasa. About a dozen Spaniards and fifty horses were killed. The Indians burned the village and the livestock pens, killing many pigs. De Soto and most of his army survived the attack and in April they resumed their journey westward.
Details
HM NumberHM1LAZ
Tags
Placed ByUnited States Forest Service and Mississippi State University
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at 10:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 322379 N 3770056
Decimal Degrees34.05618333, -88.92451667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 3.371', W 88° 55.471'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 3' 22.26" N, 88° 55' 28.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)662
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1153-1185 Co Rd 413, New Houlka MS 38850, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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