profit of slave catching suddenly found themselves cut off from their source of English trade guns and other merchandise. It is fair to say that some of these ruffian bands probably turned to marauding as an alternative to slave trading. The Natchez chief whom the French called Le Barbu “The Bearded” may have been leading one of these rogue outfits when he and his force of about 150 men received the blame for the murder of four Frenchmen on the Mississippi River in late 1715. Bienville used the incident as an opportunity to attribute the violence to his rival La Mothe “Cadillac”, alleging that La Mothe had enraged the Natchez by refusing to smoke the calumet “peace pipe” with them.” “In response to the hostilities, Bienville set out with a small force of forty-nine men from Mobile with orders to subdue the Natchez and establish a fort to maintain control over the area. The erstwhile governor of Louisiana (Bienville) was optimistic, to say the least, since the French believed the Natchez could field 800 warriors.” The small size of the force assigned to Bienville immediately raised eyebrows and sparked rumors around Mobile. “The French government had earlier authorized seventy-five men for an expedition against the Natchez, but Cadillac would give Bienville only forty-five, leading to speculation that Cadillac was deliberately sending Bienville to his doom, according to one account.” Bienville, lacking sufficient troop strength to engage the Natchez head on, resorted to trickery to accomplish his ends. Bienville left in February 1716, and established a trading post some fifty miles downriver of the Natchez village. This enticed several of the Natchez chiefs to come down and take a look, whereupon the French force captured them and held them hostage. As ransom, Bienville demanded the heads of the Native Americans who had killed the four Frenchmen. After three weeks of threats and negotiations, the Natchez gave in and executed the guilty parties. They also “agreed to assist in building a fort for the French near their villages. …The fort was completed by August, 1716, and was named Fort Rosalie in honor of the wife of the Comte de Pontchartrain (France’s Secretary of State.)” The building of Fort Rosalie was the beginning of the present day city of Natchez, and the event was celebrated last year in 2016 as the city’s tricentennial anniversary. Having thus established Louisiana’s first permanent settlement on the Mississippi, Bienville left a small delegation behind and returned to Mobile in August 1716, only to learn that Cadillac had been removed, and Bienville was now the acting governor. Crozat, the Paris financier with the monopoly, was also on his way out. Their promises to make the colony a success had not materialized. The new settlers never came, nor did the two promised shiploads of supplies every year. The colony had been treading water, making little headway, but things were about to pick up. A Scotsman named John Law, an old gambling buddy of the Duke of Orleans, had been given Crozat’s surrendered charter, and his newly formed Mississippi Company was rapidly raising capital throughout Europe with a much-ballyhooed plan to make Louisiana a great and prosperous land. The Mississippi Company promised to send 6,000 settlers and 3,000 slaves to Louisiana over the twenty-five year life of the charter. Bienville, acting governor, moved quickly during this interval to bring about his vision of a seaport at the mouth of the Mississippi, and he founded La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) on May 7, 1718, with backing from the Mississippi Company. Bienville and John Law were to work well with each other during Law’s tenure. The new city on the big river took hold, and in 1723 it was named capital of Louisiana, supplanting Biloxi. John Law was an extraordinary promoter, and he painted such a rosy picture of the Louisiana colony and its promise of riches that eager investors throughout Europe bought every share that they could. This ran the price up to unsustainable levels, and by the end of 1719 stock in the Mississippi Company was selling at forty times its face value. Soon, the more cautious and sophisticated investors began selling off their greatly inflated stock and demanded payment in cash. The Mississippi Company could not meet these demands. It crashed and closed its doors, and John Law hightailed it out of France one step ahead of the law. Surprisingly, the Company of the Indies, parent company of John Law’s group, was reorganized and continued its monopoly over Louisiana. As things turned out, John Law’s company, a disaster in Europe, turned out to be a huge boost across the ocean in Louisiana. Law’s company organized the migration of hundreds of Germans and Swiss, as well as French.At the time that Crozat received his charter in 1713, there were about 380 Europeans in Louisiana. The population was about the same when Crozat surrendered his monopoly. “Under the Company of the West the population reached 5,000 by 1724, including 1,300 slaves. There were about 1,600 people living in or near New Orleans, making it the major populated area as well as the capital, according to ‘The French Period, 1699-1763’by Walter G. 16 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Trouble had begun in the 1680s when English slave traders ventured into the region and started buying Native American slaves for shipment to the sugar plantations in the Caribbean.