392 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI made their way into the corner in search of slaves for their sugar colonies in Charles Town and the West Indies. Seduced by the iron tools, muskets, and cloth offered by the English, the Chickasaw dedicated themselves to capturing small neighboring tribes and selling them into slavery. After wiping the small tribes out, the Chickasaw turned on their brothers, the Choctaw, as the last source to satisfy the English demand for slaves. The more numerous Choctaw allied themselves with the English’s enemy, the French, who had settled along the Gulf Coast and in Natchez. Both the Chickasaw and Choctaw played the Europeans against one another in an effort to maintain their independence, but the Chickasaw preferred the English who delivered better quality goods more reliably. Englishmen lived among the Chickasaw, and English trading houses began to replace the traditional Chickasaw headquarters as the preferred meeting place for warriors. The slave trade dwindled when the English switched to Africa as their main source, and the Chickasaw substituted deer skins for captives as the new currency for their international trade. To the south, a third major tribe, the Natchez, grew increasingly resentful of the French presence along the lower Mississippi River. In 1729, they attacked and destroyed the French outpost Fort Rosalie killing almost all the French settlers living there. In retaliation, the French destroyed the Natchez capital and enslaved as many of the survivors as they could capture. The Chickasaw welcomed Natchez refugees into their nation, and the French sought retribution from the Chickasaw for providing such sanctuary. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the French governor, led two military campaigns against the Chickasaw, neither of which succeeded. The first one ended in a disastrous French defeat at Ackia (Tupelo) in 1736, where the Chickasaw destroyed a combined force that included Europeans, Africans, and Choctaws. The second campaign in 1739, met a less dramatic end, simply petering out when an outbreak of disease decimated the French army before they could mount an attack. T he Northeast Corner of Mississippi contains more land forms than any other region of the state and reaches the highest elevation in Mississippi with Woodall “Mountain,” which is a hill capped by sandstone 806 feet above sea level. The “mountain” is part of the Tombigbee Hills and is made up of sandy loam soil tinged red or orange. To the west of the hills lies a twenty mile wide strip of black prairie constituting the only land in the Corner truly inviting to agriculturalists. Alongside the prairie runs the Pontotoc Ridge which reaches elevations of 600 feet and again contains the red hued soil similar to the Tombigbee Hills. The land drops off again into another narrow strip of flatwoods made up of infertile clay generally avoided by farmers. The only navigable stream in the Northeast Corner is the Tombigbee, which runs through Tishomingo and Itawamba counties. The other counties were landlocked until the coming of railroads. Native Americans had marked out trails such as the Natchez Trace across the region, but transportation routes were lacking in comparison with other parts of the state. Perhaps the protection offered by the inaccessible hills was the reason the Chickasaw chose the corner as their capital. The Chickasaws dominated an area stretching from central Mississippi across Tennessee and Kentucky, and they had their choice of sites as headquarters, but they selected north Mississippi. They were a more aggressive people than their Choctaw brothers, and they distinguished themselves as warriors. The Chickasaws built formidable defensive structures throughout the region and never surrendered after battle with any enemy including the European invaders. When Hernando DeSoto passed through their lands in the 1500s, the Chickasaws were more or less on constant attack and made the Spanish invader pay dearly for the winter he spent on their soil. The devastating diseases that DeSoto’s expedition left behind destroyed much of the indigenous population and reshaped Native American cultures in the area, but otherwise the Spanish passage had little impact. The Chickasaws still dressed in skins and used stone tools and weapons until the 1600s when English traders