PRE-STATEHOOD 15 PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY, DESOTO DISCOVERS THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER turmoil would soon have a disastrous effect on relations between the French and the Native Americans, particularly with the Natchez and the Chickasaws. As was the case with the War of Spanish Secession that had just ended, a distant war was once again to have an impact on Louisiana. The Yamazee War in South Carolina began in 1715 and was fought by an alliance of Native American tribes against the English colonists in South Carolina over a number of long-festering grievances. The conflict was primarily directed toward English settlements in Carolina, but it immediately escalated and a general manhunt ensued throughout the southeastern forests for the wandering traders of any European nationality. Such traders had, up to that time, roamed from the Atlantic to the Mississippi unmolested and unarmed. In James Barnett’s book, Mississippi’s American Indians, Barnett wrote: “Following the Yamasee War, numerous raiding parties that were accustomed to the excitement and DISCOVERY OF MISSISSIPPI BY HERNANDO DE SOTO Hernando de Soto and his small group of explorers arrived at the Mississippi River in present-day Tunica County on May 8, 1541. Many armed Native American warriors were positioned on the opposite bank of the river and in canoes on the water. In spite of this, de Soto and his men crossed the river by building small rafts and boats. De Soto’s men began to lose hope and demanded the expedition turn back eastward after spending many months searching and failing to find gold and other treasures. De Soto caught a fever and died before making it back across the river. He was buried in the Mississippi River.