Thursday, August 27, 2009
Fort Toulouse and Fort Jackson - Wetumpa, Alabama
At the end of Fort Toulouse Road off U.S. 231 in Wetumpa, Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson State Historic Site preserves some of the most significant ground in the South.
Occupied by Native Americans for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, the park preserves a Mississippian mound that was occupied during the centuries leading up to the arrival of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540.
By 1717, when the French military arrived at the site, the area around the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers had become the heart of the Creek Nation. Fort Toulouse was established at the site that year. A log stockade that functioned both as a bulwark against English expansion into the region and as a trading center, the fort was the center of an important French community that grew deep in the heart of Alabama. The French evacuated the site at the end of the French and Indian War as the region encompassing what is now Alabama was handed over to the English.
Military forces returned to the site in 1814 when General Andrew Jackson arrived with his army after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The troops built Fort Jackson at the site, a demonstration of American power in the center of the Creek Nation. It was here that the famed Red Stick Creek leader William Weatherford surrendered to Jackson and it was also here that the general exacted the Treaty of Fort Jackson on the Creeks. The treaty opened to settlement much of Alabama and Georgia and took land from both the Red Stick or war faction of the Creeks as well as the part of the nation that had sided with the United States.
The site of both forts is now preserved at Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson State Historic Site. Fort Toulouse has been reconstructed and officers visitors the rare chance to explore an 18th century French colonial fort. Fort Jackson has been partially reconstructed to help visitors visualize its original appearance. The park also features a picnic area, camping, nature trails, an arboretum, visitor center and more.
To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/forttoulouse.