A National Road
Natchez in the extreme south-western corner of the United States was threatened by Spain in 1800 and later by France and Great Britain.
President Jefferson in 1801 decided that a road from Nashville to Natchez was necessary for the safety and welfare of the nation.
"This road being completed, I shall consider our southern extremity secured, the Indians in that quarter at our fee and adjacent province laid open to us."
The Natchez Trace Parkway
This Parkway, a unit of the National Park System, commemorates the Natchez Trace (1800 - 1820).
Along the Parkway there are historic structures, Indian mounds, roadside exhibits, nature and history trails and museums which help to illustrate the history of the Trace.
Old Natchez Trace - Worn by a century and half of traffic, the Old Natchez Trace is now a sunken tree-lined road in places 30 feet deep.
Mount Locust - From the original three rooms this house grew with the family and region, and by 1836 was the "Big House" of a medium sized-plantation.
Emerald Mound - The second largest temple mound in the United States. Erected by the predecessors of the Natchez Indians between 1300 - 1600 A.D.
The high bluff is a deposit of loess, windblown topsoil, through which the Old Natchez Trace cuts deeply in many places.
The Old Trace
The Trace quickly became an important highway and mail route which made communication between Natchez and Washington, D.C., fairly safe and rapid.
Troops marched over the Trace in 1803 when war seemed near, and again in 1812 at the outbreak of the war with Great Britain.
Swift Postriders could carry the mail between Nashville and Natchez in less than 10 days.
Ohio Valley pioneers floated their products to Natchez or New Orleans in flatboats and returned home afoot or on horseback over the Trace.
After 1820 steamboats carried most Natchez traffic. Parts of the Trace were then abandoned, other parts used as local roads.
Old Natchez District
The Old Natchez District was a settled area 500 miles from the nearest American settlement, Nashville. In 1798 it became part of the United States.
POPULATION IN 1800
United States 5,308,483
Old Natchez District
Town of Natchez 500
Natchez became a French colony in 1716. It was connected with the Choctaw Nation by an Indian trail.
The British held the District, 1763-1779, and established permanent settlements. They called this trail, later the Natchez Trace, the "Path to the Choctaw Nation."
Spain conquered Natchez in 1779 during the American Revolution but made no serious attempt at colonization. They called this trail "Camino de Cumberland a Natches."
When the Americans came in 1798, they improved the Indian trail to facilitate direct communication with Nashville. They later called it the Natchez Trace.