Fort St. Pierre Site
Fort St. Pierre Site
|Nearest city||Vicksburg, Mississippi|
|NRHP Reference #||00000263|
|Added to NRHP||February 16, 2000|
|Designated NHL||February 16, 2000|
Fort St. Pierre was a colonial French fortified outpost on the Yazoo River in what is now Warren County, Mississippi. Also known as Fort St. Claude and the Yazoo Post, it was established in 1719 and served as the northernmost outpost of French Louisiana. It was destroyed in 1729 by Native Americans and was not rebuilt. Its location, north of Vicksburg on the east bank of the river, was discovered by archaeologists in the 1970s, and was given the Smithsonian trinomial 23-M-5. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2000.
French Louisiana was established in 1699, with New Orleans founded as a major center in 1718. French explorers of the Yazoo River valley first took place between 1698 and 1706, when French missionaries were active in the area. By then, English traders from the Province of Carolina had already established relations with the Chickasaw people of northern Mississippi, and were making inroads with the Natchez people further south. The missionary activity ceased when one of them was murdered by the Natchez. An expansion of French Louisiana was thwarted by France's inability to support the colony during the War of the Spanish Succession (aka Queen Anne's War in English North America, 1702-1713). The French established Fort St. Pierre in 1719 as a northern outpost between these peoples, as a means to blunt English trading influence and further their own. The fort was a substantial palisaded complex, surrounded by a moat. It was destroyed in a surprise attack on December 11, 1729, by a band of Natchez, whose leadership had become hostile to French incursions on their territory upon the death of a French-friendly chief.
The Yazoo Bluffs area, where the fort was located, did not come to significant archaeological attention until the 1970s. James Ford believed that its site would yield useful information for dating other historical Native sites in the region, but did not find the fort. In 1974 a formal survey of the lower Mississippi identified the site, which underwent a major excavation between 1975 and 1977. These excavations exposed portions of the palisade, one of the fort's bastions, and other features. Unique among known colonial sites, archaeologists also uncovered evidence that the occupants used a wooden shot tower to manufacture lead shot. The comparatively short occupation period of Fort St. Pierre has also allowed more sophisticated distinction among finds at sites such as that of Fort Toulouse, which had a much longer occupation period.
- List of National Historic Landmarks in Mississippi
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Warren County, Mississippi
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Fort St. Pierre Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
- Ian W. Brown and Mark R. Barnes (December 19, 1997) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Fort St. Pierre Site / Fort St. Peter / Fort St. Claude des Yasous / Yazoo Post / Site 23-M-5, National Park Service and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 19 and 19.