Mark F. Boyd


One of the most important branches of commerce during the American colonial period was the Indian trade. Search of opportunities for barter was a powerful motive in French and British exploration, and the trader was the principal Caucasian emissary with whom the primitive Indian came in contact. After the settlement of South Carolina, Charleston became an important center of the southern trade, a position later shared with Savannah. From these points English traders penetrated to the country of the Cherokees and Creeks and later to that of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, where they successfully competed with the French and Spanish. After the treaty of Paris in 1763 eliminated the latter competition, the English so skillfully cultivated the friendship of the Indian tribes through their trading operations that practically all of these became British partisans in the later revolutionary struggle. The bitter animosity which this stand of the Indians aroused among the Americans greatly contributed to the final downfall of the tribes after the winning of American independence.