Newcomers and New Borders: Migration, Property Formation, and Conflict over Land along the Mississippi River, 1750-1820


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation on the Mississippi Valley from 1750 to 1820 argues that small Indigenous nations successfully used Spanish colonial laws to protect their land, property, and autonomy from Euro- American newcomers. It offers a new perspective on the history of Indigenous-settler interactions in the region by focusing on small and mobile Indigenous nations like the Houma, Pekowi and Kishpoko Shawnee, and Chickamauga Cherokee. This project employs a mixed methodology that integrates ethnohistorical approaches to legal disputes and property formation with historical geography to provide new insights about migration and settlement patterns.
It challenges traditional periodization and geographies of North American history by viewing colonial expansion, Indigenous dispossession, and the rise of the slave-plantation economy as interconnected processes that spanned across national and imperial boundaries.