Quigualtam or Quilgualtanqui was a powerful Native American Plaquemine culture polity encountered in 1542-1543 by the Hernando de Soto expedition. The capital of the polity and its chieftain also bore the same name; although neither the chief nor his settlements were ever visited in person by the expedition. Their encounters consisted of messages sent by runners and a three-day long canoe battle on the Mississippi River. Multiple archaeological cultures, archaeological sites, and protohistoric and early historic period Native American groups have been proposed by historians and archaeologists to identify the polity, but their identity will probably never be known with any degree of certainty.
Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".
The Plaquemine culture was an archaeological culture centered on the Lower Mississippi River valley. It had a deep history in the area stretching back through the earlier Coles Creek and Troyville cultures to the Marksville culture. The Natchez and related Taensa peoples were their historic period descendants. The type site for the culture is the Medora Site in Louisiana; while other examples include the Anna, Emerald, Holly Bluff, and Winterville sites in Mississippi.
A polity is an identifiable political entity. It can be defined as any group of people who have a collective identity, who have a capacity to mobilize resources, and are organized by some form of institutionalized hierarchy. A polity can be the government of a country, or country subdivision, or any other group of people organized for governance.
The journals of the Spanish expedition of Hernando de Soto record their encounter with a powerful chiefdom located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River several days journey below the polity of Guachoya (in present-day Chicot County, Arkansas). By this point the expedition had been traversing the southeast for several years and had spent the majority of the previous year in the area of the modern state of Arkansas among the Late Mississippian culture paramount chiefdoms of Quizquiz , Casqui , and Pacaha , as well as their many vassal states. Modern archaeological research has placed the capital of Casqui at the Parkin Site and equated the polity of Pacaha with the Nodena Phase.
A lord chief is the English-language designation for the highest-level political leader in a regional or local polity or country administered politically with a chief-based system. This term is used occasionally in anthropological and archaeological theory to refer to the rulers of multiple chiefdoms or the rulers of exceptionally powerful chiefdoms that have subordinated others. Paramount chiefs were identified by English-speakers as existing in Native American confederacies and regional chiefdoms, such as the Powhatan Confederacy and Piscataway Native Americans encountered by English colonists in the Chesapeake Bay area of North America.
Chicot County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,800. The county seat is Lake Village. Chicot County is Arkansas's 10th county, formed on October 25, 1823, and named after Point Chicot on the Mississippi River. It is part of the Arkansas Delta, lowlands along the river that have been historically important as an area for large-scale cotton cultivation.
Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.
Not finding the precious metals and gems the Europeans desired, the expedition left eastern Arkansas and headed west across central Arkansas and into the Ozark Mountains in their search for riches. Finding nothing they considered of value and contending with considerable native resistance; de Soto and his men returned to the Mississippi River, where they found the maize-rich polities of Guachoya and Anilco (thought by some archaeologists and historians to be the Menard-Hodges Site in modern-day Arkansas County, Arkansas). After encountering resistance from Anilco and entreaties of alliance from their traditional enemies, the Guachoya; de Soto made his headquarters at Guachoya.
The Tula were a Native American group that lived in what is now western Arkansas. The Tula are known to history only from the chronicles of Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto's exploits in the interior of North America.
Maize, also known as corn, is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescences and separate ovuliferous inflorescences called ears that yield kernels or seeds, which are fruits.
The Menard-Hodges Site (3AR4), is an archaeological site in Arkansas County, Arkansas. It includes two large platform mounds as well as several house mounds. It is the type site for the Menard phase, a protohistoric Mississippian culture group.
De Soto interrogated the chief about the societies living downstream, hoping to find a rich "province" to conquer, where he could set up the colony he had delayed founding in his search for more portable valuables. By this time de Soto had begun employing a ruse with the native populations; seeking to convince them that he was an immortal deity, "son of the sun". After learning of Quigualtum, de Soto sent a message demanding his obeisance and to bring him examples of the most valuable thing in his land; presumably the gold or other riches valued by Europeans. Before a reply could return, de Soto fell seriously ill and took to his bed.
Quigualtum sent back a message that astonished and infuriated de Soto:
|“||"As to what you say of your being the son of the Sun, if you will cause him to dry up the great river, I will believe you: as to the rest, it is not my custom to visit any one, but rather all, of whom I have ever heard, have come to visit me, to serve and obey me, and pay me tribute, either voluntarily or by force: if you desire to see me, come where I am; if for peace, I will receive you with special good will; if for war, I will await you in my town; but neither for you, nor for any man, will I set back one foot"||”|
|— Quigualtam, 1542|
Angered by the chief's arrogant response but by then too weak to get up from his bed, de Soto could not mount an armed response. Afterward followed a period with Anilco and other local towns conspiring with Quigualtum to mount a combined attack against the Spaniards. In order to strike fear into Quigualtum and the others, and to punish Anilco, from his deathbed he ordered his men to massacre all of the men of Anilco. His men obeyed and did not stop with killing the men; they were said to have massacred women and children as well. DeSoto died of his illness a few days later in May 1542, in what is believed to be the vicinity of modern-day McArthur, Arkansas. His body was weighted down with sand and under cover of darkness consigned to a watery grave in the Mississippi River. In order to keep the ruse up and forestall possible attacks, his men informed the local peoples that de Soto had ascended into the sky but would return. His remaining men, now commanded by his aide de camp Moscoso, decided to attempt an overland journey to Mexico in order to avoid sailing downriver. They made it as far as Texas, meeting Late Caddoan Mississippian peoples along the way, before running into territory too dry for maize farming and too thinly populated to sustain themselves by stealing food from the locals. The expedition had to backtrack to Guachoya.
McArthur is an unincorporated community in Clayton Township, Desha County, Arkansas. It is located on Arkansas Highway 1 northeast of McGehee.
Luis de Moscoso Alvarado was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. Luis de Moscoso Alvarado assumed command of Hernando De Soto's expedition upon the latter's death.
The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a viceroyalty, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
They spent the winter of 1542-1543 building a small fleet of seven "bergantines", or pinnaces, to attempt the river route to the Gulf of Mexico and on to Mexico. Once the spring floods had abated, they headed down the Mississippi River on July 2, 1543. After sailing for several days, the expedition came upon a great fleet of over one hundred war canoes. Made from enormous hollowed-out cypress logs, the larger canoes were big enough to seat 60 to 70 passengers. They had ranks of seated paddlers, 20-30 per side, with a standing warrior armed with bow and arrows stationed between each one. Some of the larger canoes were also color coded, with the canoes, oars, and the clothing and weaponry of the crew all painted the same color. Although many of the canoes were not this large, their crews still moved with precision, speed, and skill. Seated in several of the great canoes were the fleet commanders, chiefs with awnings to shade and protect them from the sun, one of them possibly Quigualtam himself.
As a ship's boat, the pinnace is a light boat, propelled by oars or sails, carried aboard merchant and war vessels in the Age of Sail to serve as a tender. The pinnace was usually rowed but could be rigged with a sail for use in favorable winds. A pinnace would ferry passengers and mail, communicate between vessels, scout to sound anchorages, convey water and provisions, or carry armed sailors for boarding expeditions. The Spanish favored them as lightweight smuggling vessels while the Dutch used them as raiders. In modern parlance, "pinnace" has come to mean an auxiliary vessel that does not fit under the "launch" or "lifeboat" definitions.
The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. The U.S. states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida border the Gulf on the north, which are often referred to as the "Third Coast", in comparison with the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Under the pretense of negotiating, the canoes attacked the Spanish. Over the course of the running battle, eleven Spaniards were killed and many more wounded as the expedition fled downstream. The war canoe crews chanted war songs, whose rhythm and speed set the speed of the paddling of their craft. The songs glorified their prowess in battle and extolled their courage. The songs also lambasted the Spaniards as cowards and thieves who would soon perish; that on land their corpses had been food for dogs and birds and that on the river they would feed the fish. The songs frequently mentioned the name of their great chief Quigualtam and ,at the end of each song, the singers would give a great shout of triumph. The Spaniards no longer had long-range offensive weapons. The gunpowder for their arquebuses had run out long before and the guns melted down to make nails for the boats; the limited number of crossbows had mostly stopped working as well. The Spaniards placed their armor and cane matting around the boats gunwales to protect from the arrows. The Native Americans began arcing their arrows into the air so they came straight down and injured more of the Spaniards. The fleet chased them for several days, rarely letting up on their attack on the Spaniards.
On the third day, the Spanish reached the edge of their attackers' territory. The war fleet turned around and headed back upriver, continuing to chant and shout the name of their leader. Within a day the expedition encountered another fleet of canoes belonging to a powerful but unnamed chiefdom. These warriors also gave chase downriver for several days until the foreigners had left their territory. After one more encounter with a small native group near the coast, the expedition finally made it to the Gulf on July 16, 1543, a few weeks after they had left Guachoya.
Various scholars have proposed and debated the identities of these two chiefdoms and the exact locations of their polities. Historian Charles M. Hudson has suggested that Quigualtam was centered on the area surrounding the Holly Bluff or Winterville Sites in the lower Yazoo Basin. Archeologists believe that these two large Plaquemine culture sites had been abandoned by this time; the capital of the polity had probably shifted to another of the numerous sites within its territory.
Other scholars have proposed the Glass Site and Emerald Mound as native territories. The Glass Site is on the flood plain between the Mississippi River and the Natchez Bluffs, approximately 9.5 kilometres (5.9 mi) south of modern Vicksburg. It was on the northern edge of the Emerald Phase (1500 – 1680) of the protohistoric Natchez chiefdom. During this period, its capital was located at the massive Emerald Mound near modern-day Stanton, Mississippi. These two sites were the only major ceremonial centers on this stretch of the Mississippi River occupied during the protohistoric period from 1500 to 1650 CE. Since the Spaniards never made it ashore to leave archaeological evidence of contact with these two groups, their exact identity will probably never be determined with certainty.
No further recorded European contact with the indigenous people in this area occurred for almost 140 years, until the first French explorers reached the area in the 1680s. By the historic period, power had shifted within the Natchez polity from Emerald Mound to the Grand Village of the Natchez, and the Glass Site had also been abandoned.
In the meantime native peoples of the region suffered from epidemics of infectious disease. They contracted these from members of the de Soto expedition, among whom the diseases were endemic, and indirectly from other Native Americans who had contact with European traders on the Gulf coast. The Spaniards' technique of using local rivalries to their advantage had upset the delicate political balance between native groups, who had existed in a state of low-level endemic warfare between polities for generations.In addition, a series of disastrous multi-year droughts spanned the latter half of the 16th century.
Many societies in the region began to collapse. Remnant populations of Mississippian peoples began migrating across and down the Mississippi, sometimes settling in areas recently deserted by Plaquemine peoples, and at other times displacing or merging with the Plaquemine populations on the lower river. The Plaquemine culture contracted southward and abandoned the northern Natchez Bluffs altogether. The Lower Yazoo basin region, once occupied by the Winterville and Holly Bluff polity, became the territory of the historic period Yazoo, Tunica and Koroa tribes. They had migrated from further upriver, thought by archaeologists to be the descendants of Quizquiz and other polities encountered by de Soto in the Memphis area, who were escaping the destruction of their societies left in de Soto's wake. The Tioux and Grigra divisions of the Natchez were recent additions, also Tunica speakers from up the river who had been adopted into the Natchez tribe.
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula, and played an important role in Pizarro's conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, but is best known for leading the first Spanish and European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States. He is the first European documented as having crossed the Mississippi River.
DeSoto County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 161,252, making it the third-most populous county in Mississippi. Its county seat is Hernando. DeSoto County is part of the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the second-most populous county in the MSA. The county has lowland areas that were developed in the 19th century for cotton plantations, and hill country in the eastern part of the county.
Pacaha was a Native American polity encountered in 1541 by the Hernando de Soto expedition. This group inhabited fortified villages in what is today the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of Arkansas.
Casqui was a Native American polity discovered in 1541 by the Hernando de Soto expedition. This group inhabited fortified villages in eastern Arkansas.
The Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe, formerly known as the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana, is a federally recognized tribe of primarily Tunica and Biloxi people, located in east central Louisiana. Descendants of Ofo (Siouan-speakers), Avoyel, and Choctaw (Muskogean) are also enrolled in the tribe.
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American civilization archeologists date from about 800 CE to 1600 CE, varying regionally.
The Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area in the Lower Mississippi Valley, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi in the United States. They spoke a language with no known close relatives, although it may be very distantly related to the Muskogean languages of the Creek Confederacy.
Tuskaloosa was a paramount chief of a Mississippian chiefdom in what is now the U.S. state of Alabama. His people were possibly ancestors to the several southern Native American confederacies who later emerged in the region. The modern city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is named for him.
The Taensa were a Native American people whose settlements at the time of European contact in the late 17th century were located in present-day Tensas Parish, Louisiana. The meaning of the name, which has the further spelling variants of Taenso, Tinsas, Tenza or Tinza, Tahensa or Takensa, and Tenisaw, is unknown. It is believed to be an autonym. The Taensa should not be confused with the Avoyel, known by the French as the petits Taensas, who were mentioned in writings by explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in 1699. The Taensa are more closely related to the Natchez people and both are considered descendants of the late prehistoric Plaquemine culture.
Parkin Archeological State Park, also known as Parkin Indian Mound, is an archeological site and state park in Parkin, Cross County, Arkansas. Around 1350–1650 CE an aboriginal palisaded village existed at the site, at the confluence of the St. Francis and Tyronza rivers. Artifacts from this site are on display at the site museum. The Parkin Site is the type site for the Parkin phase, an expression of the Mississippian culture from the Late Mississippian period. Many archeologists believe it to be part of the province of Casqui, documented as visited by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1542. Archeological artifacts from the village of the Parkin people are dated to 1400–1650 CE.
The Koroa were one of the groups of indigenous people who lived in the Mississippi Valley prior to the European settlement of the region. They lived in the northwest of present-day Mississippi in the Yazoo River basin.
The Tunica people were a group of linguistically and culturally related Native American tribes in the Mississippi River Valley, which include the Tunica ; the Yazoo; the Koroa ; and possibly the Tioux. They first encountered Europeans in 1541 - members of the Hernando de Soto expedition.
The Nodena Phase is an archaeological phase in eastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri of the Late Mississippian culture which dates from about 1400–1650 CE. The Nodena Phase is known from a collection of villages along the Mississippi River between the Missouri Bootheel and Wapanocca Lake. They practiced extensive maize agriculture and artificial cranial deformation and were members of a continent wide trade and religious network known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, which brought chert, whelk shells, and other exotic goods to the area.
The Pensacola culture was a regional variation of the Mississippian culture along the Gulf Coast of the United States that lasted from 1100 to 1700 CE. The archaeological culture covers an area stretching from a transitional Pensacola/Fort Walton culture zone at Choctawhatchee Bay in Florida to the eastern side of the Mississippi River Delta near Biloxi, Mississippi, with the majority of its sites located along Mobile Bay in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. Sites for the culture stretched inland, north into the southern Tombigee and Alabama River valleys, as far as the vicinity of Selma, Alabama.
The Carson Mounds,, also known as the Carson Site and Carson-Montgomery- is a large Mississippian culture archaeological site located near Clarksdale in Coahoma County, Mississippi in the Yazoo Basin. Only a few large earthen mounds are still present at Carson to this day. Archaeologists have suggested that Carson is one of the more important archaeological sites in the state of Mississippi.
The Glass Site is a Plaquemine culture archaeological site located approximately 9.5 kilometres (5.9 mi) south of Vicksburg in Warren County, Mississippi. Originally the site had four platform mounds surrounding a large open plaza, but land leveling for modern farming techniques and looting by pothunters mean only portions of three have survived into the 21st century. It was a major ceremonial center that was contemporaneous with other large Plaquemine sites including Emerald, Holly Bluff, and Winterville and whose main occupation period occurred during the protohistoric period from 1500 to 1650 CE. Parts of the site were excavated by Clarence Bloomfield Moore in 1910 and 1911, and by Lauren Elizabeth Downs in 2007-2009.