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Natchez Indians,

A nation that inhabited the eastern borders of the Mississippi River. They were known to Europeans as early as 1560, when De Luna aided the Gulf tribes in a war against them. Their sun-worship, mound-building, and language point to a relationship with the inhabitants of Yucatan. La Salle, coming from the north, planted a cross in their country in 1683. Iberville also visited them, and proposed to build a city there. They were brave, wild, and dissolute. Their chief was called the Great Sun, whose power was despotic. They averred that their first civilizers were a man and woman who descended from the sun. In a temple built on a mound they kept a perpetual fire. They had many feasts and revelled in sensual indulgence. After European traders found them they rapidly declined in numbers and power while they fought the French (see below). The Natchez were joined by the Yazoos and Chickasaws, while the Choctaws joined the French, early in the eighteenth century. In 1730 the French fell upon and almost annihilated the Natchez, and they never recovered from the shock. After maintaining a feeble nationality for a century, they were merged into the Creek confederacy.

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