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Collection Title: U.S. Congress. Committee on the Public Lands Report

Collection Number: M229

Dates: December 1, 1818

Volume: 1 item

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Great Britain controlled the Mississippi Territory from 1764 to 1780. By right of conquest, the area then came under Spanish control. This arrangement was ratified in 1783 by a treaty between the Spanish and British governments. This arrangement set the northern boundary of the Mississippi Territory at the 31st degree north latitude. In 1783 and again in 1785, Spain acknowledged the 31st degree as the northern border but continued to exercise control of the area between the 31st and 32nd degree north latitude. The United States took a renewed interest in these lands after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, which gave this section a significance it had not had before (strategic areas on the Mississippi River could be utilized to facilitate the transportation of produce to market). Conflicting titles to the land were the result of the area having changed hands frequently.

Scope and Content:

In the Treaty of Hopewell (January 1786) between the U.S. government and the Choctaw Indians, both parties agreed to boundaries east of the Mississippi River on which the Choctaws could live and hunt. When hunting became poor, the Choctaws moved west of the Mississippi River. Later, the U.S. government offered to exchange titles to the lands but the Choctaws refused. The area originally ceded to the Choctaws was located on the East Bank of the Mississippi River and had become important because the area could facilitate river traffic bringing produce to market in New Orleans, Louisiana. These lands were also strategically located for the defense of the southern border of the United States.

This report of the Committee on Public Lands (dated December 1, 1818) recommended that the Choctaw Indians be forced to live and hunt on the east bank until the Choctaws capitulated to the wishes of the U.S. government and exchanged lands.

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