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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cahaba in Dallas County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Cahawba - circa 1500

 
 
Cahawba - circa 1500 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
1. Cahawba - circa 1500 Marker
Inscription. Two Ghost Towns?
Long before Cahawba was built as Alabama's first state capital, there was another village at this location. Just like Cahawba, it thrived for about 50 years, then disappeared.

About the year 1500 a group of Native Americans migrated up the Alabama River from the coast. When they reached this place, they stopped and built a fortified village like the one in the adjacent illustration. The ditch in front of you is a remnant of the moat that they dug around their walled village.

These 16th century residents were not Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee nor Chickasaw. They may have been the ancestors of one or more of these modern American Indian nations. Archaeologists call these early Cahawba residents, Late Mississippians.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto played a role in their disappearance about 1540.
 
Erected 2015 by the Alabama Historical Commission.
 
Location. 32° 19.003′ N, 87° 5.806′ W. Marker is in Cahaba, Alabama, in Dallas County. Marker can be reached from Vine Street south of Capitol Avenue. Touch for map. Located within the Cahawba Archaeological Park (nominal
Looking east towards the Alabama River - ditch is just beyond marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
2. Looking east towards the Alabama River - ditch is just beyond marker.
fee required). Marker is in this post office area: Orrville AL 36767, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Footprint of a Church (a few steps from this marker); Vine Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Cahaba First State Capital (within shouting distance of this marker); Captive Boys in Blue (within shouting distance of this marker); Major Hiram Solon Hanchett (within shouting distance of this marker); Castle Morgan & Jesse Hawes (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Prison (within shouting distance of this marker); A Prison Chimney? (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cahaba.
 
Regarding Cahawba - circa 1500. The remains of a large village occupied by mound builders of the Mississippian Period (100-1550 AD) lie underneath those of Alabama's first capital. In Alabama, Mississippian culture would evolve into the Native American cultures of the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokees. The name Cahawba, or Cahaba, is thought to come from either two Choctaw words meaning "water above" or a Creek word for the native cane that covered the river valleys. It is believed that a Choctaw town of considerable size existed at the site in the early
Entrance sign to the Cahawba Archaeological Park. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
3. Entrance sign to the Cahawba Archaeological Park.
eighteenth century but was abandoned well before Alabama became a territory. With the defeat of the Creeks in March 1814 at Horseshoe Bend, the lands in the valleys of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers were opened for white settlement.
 
Categories. Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 9, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 96 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 9, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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