Epidemics, Slavery, Massacres, and Indigenous Resistance 1492-1599

1540

Mabila Massacre

Chief Tuskaloosa. Image: Herb Roe
Chief Tuskaloosa. Image: Herb Roe

When de Soto arrives at Atahachi’s village plaza, he is greeted by Choctaw Chief Tuscaloosa (Black Warrior), who allows himself to be taken prisoner, saying that the things de Soto wants are in the town of Mabila. De Soto takes Tuscaloosa and enslaved women from the village to Mabila. As planned, Choctaw and Mabila warriors enter the fortified area and launch an attack. The Spaniards flee the palisade and encircle the town, launching a two-day counterattack, which ends in the burning down of the palisade and town. Historians note that more than 2,500 Choctaw and Mabila are killed (some estimate up to 7,500). De Soto suffers non-fatal injuries and he and his men retreat for a month to recover from the battle (Fox, 2016).

Traumatic Event