Mississippi History Now: Choctaw Chief and a Spanish Governor

Mississippi History Now, an online publication of the Mississippi Historical Society, has published its newest article. “A Choctaw Chief and a Spanish Governor: Franchimastabé and Manuel Gayoso de Lemos,” was written by Charles A. Weeks, an adjunct professor of history at Mississippi College.  Dr. Weeks received his Ph.D. with a specialty in Latin American history from Indiana University, and he is the author of Paths to a Middle Ground: The Diplomacy of Natchez, Boukfouka, Nogales, and San Fernando de las Barrancas, 1791-1795, and The Juárez Myth in Mexico.  He is also the co-author of a forthcoming book on the colonial history of Mississippi which is part of the Heritage of Mississippi Series.

Manuel Gayoso de Lemos served as the Spanish governor of the Natchez District from 1787 to 1797. During the Gayoso administration, Franchimastabé served as a peace chief from the western division of the Choctaws.  These two leaders demonstrated considerable leadership and diplomacy skills in the region during the American Revolution and immediately prior to the creation of the Mississippi Territory.  The record of Franchimastabé’s life as a peace chief provides insight into the political and economic changes in the Gulf South and the lower Mississippi River valley brought about through sustained contact among Native American, European, and African cultures in the last half of the eighteenth century.  Franchimastabé used trade and diplomacy as a way to secure the goods he needed to meet the expectations and needs of his people.  Governor Gayoso also proved to be an excellent and popular leader of the Natchez District.  Born in Oporto, Portugal, and partially educated in England, Gayoso studied and spoke several languages, a valuable asset for living and working in Natchez, and later New Orleans, given the diverse populations of these cities.

To read “A Choctaw Chief and a Spanish Governor: Franchimastabé and Manuel Gayoso de Lemos,” go to http://mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/.

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Established in 2000, Mississippi History Now produces articles on various topics concerning Mississippi history, along with corresponding lesson plans.  The publication is funded by donations from individuals and businesses, as well as grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), and the Mississippi Historical Society.  MDAH also provides the server and the webmaster for the site.