Fort Toulouse

To guard French Louisiana, Mobile what became modern day Alabama was settled, and inland at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, in 1717, Fort Toulouse was built at the invitation of the Creek Indians.  The Creeks hoped to profit from the fur trade, purchase firearms, and counter the power of tribes influenced by the English, who had settled South Carolina and later Georgia.  The post was also a counter to Spanish influence in the area.  The fort was built adjacent to an Indian village that included a mound built several centuries before.

Due to decay and changes in the course of the river, a total of three forts were built.  In addition to the fur trade, the post was important for the missionary effort among the natives.  A very isolated location, mutiny was not unknown at the fort.  There was no fighting at the fort despite wars with the English in the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and the Seven Years War (1756-1763).  Although the southern English colonies hoped to mount an expedition against Fort Toulouse, they were not able to do so.  The fort was an important post, and in addition to maintaining good relations with the local Indians, the post helped the French to influence the Cherokees to the north, in part precipitating the Cherokee War, a conflict the included a siege of the English Fort Loudoun.

Despite Fort Toulouse holding its own, the Seven Years War was disastrous for France, so the post was abandoned in 1763 due to provisions of the treaty ending the war, known as the French and Indian War to the English colonists.  Due to the close relationship that had developed between the French garrison and settlers with the Alibamon Indians, including intermarriage, many of the natives left with the French in 1763.

In April 1814, American soldiers built Fort Jackson, named for Andrew Jackson, following his victory over the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend.  Jackson's men continued south, taking Pensacola and defending New Orleans against British attack.

Coosa River

Reconstructed Creek Structures

Reconstructed 1751 Fort Toulouse

Reconstructed 1751 Fort Toulouse

Reconstructed 1814 Fort Jackson

Copyright 2016 by John Hamill

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