about menu tab history menu tab news and events menu tab getting involved tab multimedia tab


The conditions and events that led up to the Creek Indian War, which resulted in the Fort Mims massacre on August 30, 1813, began before the start of the War of 1812. In the early 1800s, the loosely confederated tribes of the Creek nation numbered somewhere between 18,000 to 24,000 persons and primarily inhabited present day Alabama and western Georgia. Their territory was generally bounded by the Tennessee River on the north, the Gulf of Mexico on the south, the Oconee River in Georgia on the east, and the Tombigbee River on the west and comprised about 300 square miles.

In the years following the American Revolution, the United States, Great Britain, Spain and France all sought alliances with the Creeks as they attempted to diminish the others influence in the region. The Creeks had signed four treaties with the new American government by 1805, but the continual international intrigue in the Alabama backwoods and the animosity between England and America would spark the Creek War as an extension of the War of 1812.

Situated on relatively high ground on the east bank of Tensaw Lake, Fort Mims began as the fortified home and outbuildings of Samuel Mims. The lake was formed from an old channel of the Alabama River and was connected to the river by a navigable passage. The fort consisted of 17 buildings, including one blockhouse and a log palisade. By early August 1813, about 550 settlers and slaves from the surrounding area had crowded into to tiny stockade. A number of friendly Indians and half-breeds had also sought protection within the fort. Before the massacre, the Creek nation had generally peaceful relations with the white settlers, and intermarriage was not uncommon. In fact, many of the settlers who died at Fort Mims were of mixed blood.