The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763


The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763

Steven C. Hahn

Indians of the Southeast Series

340 pages


July 2004


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December 2014


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About the Book

Drawing on archaeological evidence and utilizing often neglected Spanish source material, The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670–1763, explores the political history of the Creek Indians of Georgia and Alabama and the emergence of the Creek Nation during the colonial era in the American Southeast. In part a study of Creek foreign relations, this book examines the creation and application of the “neutrality” policy—defined here as the Coweta Resolution of 1718—for which the Creeks have long been famous, in an era marked by the imperial struggle for the American South.

Also a study of the culture of internal Creek politics, this work shows the persistence of a “traditional” kinship-based political system in which town and clan affiliation remained supremely important. These traditions, coupled with political intrusions of the region’s three European powers, promoted the spread of Creek factionalism and mitigated the development of a regional Creek Confederacy. But while traditions persisted, the struggle to maintain territorial integrity against Britain also promoted political innovation. In this context, the territorially defined Creek Nation emerged as a legal concept in the era of the French and Indian War, as imperial policies of an earlier era gave way to the territorial politics that marked the beginning of a new one.

Author Bio

Steven C. Hahn is an assistant professor of American history at St. Olaf College.


“Hahn’s book is good ethnohistory. . . . His study should attract considerable debate among anthropologists.”—Gary Clayton Anderson, American Historical Review

“This fascinating account of the early political history of the Creeks (Muscogee) is heavy reading. . . . This book contains extensive notes, bibliographical sources, maps, and an index. I recommend it for research collections on Native American Studies in tribal colleges and universities and highly recommend it for any Muscogee researching his/her roots.”—Betty J. Mason, Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education

The Invention of the Creek Nation is a scholarly piece of work augmented by archaeological evidence and a wealth of primary sources. . . . [It] is a valuable source of information not only for historical and political students of the Creek and Native American studies, but also for the general historian interested in relations within the colonial era of the American Southeast between 1670 and 1763.”—Dewi I. Ball, Southern Historian

“This beautifully written book draws on the archeological evidence and uses the frequently neglected Spanish source material. . . . It is a truly important document on the history of the Creeks.”—Rodney M. Peck, The Chesopiean

“This work takes Creek history to a whole new level.”—Michael P. Morris, Journal of Southern History

“With fine-grained use of Spanish, English, and French sources, Hahn writes a compelling, page-turner narrative largely organized around a succession of Creek political personalities. . . . Hahn’s strong suit is his look at Creek international relations and how international relations led to the invention of the Creek nation.”—Robbie Ethridge, Journal of American History

“Hahn provides a fresh look at Creek leaders in the eighteenth century. . . . The book does an excellent job placing the exercise of Creek political power in the context of matrilineal descent, clan membership, and town affiliation. Creek interaction with European powers in the colonial era cannot really be understood in any other way.”—Gerald F. Schroedl, Alabama Review

"Specialists in southeastern Indian history will welcome this highly detailed investigation of Creek politics and appreciate its extensive Spanish citations and exhaustive bibliography."—Wendy St. Jean, The Historian

"The idea of the 'Creek Confederacy' is entrenched and powerful, and Steven C. Hahn's new book on the Creeks is an important refashioning of the confederacy-nation dilemma. The Invention of the Creek Nation does more than breathe new life into a stale scholarly debate, however. Hahn labors to present Creek politics as the Creeks themselves experienced them. . . . The best history writing allows the people making history to speak for themselves, and Hahn's attentiveness to Creek concerns pays off handsomely."—Matthew H. Jennings, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

"Stephen C. Hahn's The Invention of the Creek Nation does more than offer an updated history of Creeks' development into a cohesive political entity; it also suggests new interpretations about the process and its results."—Julie Anne Sweet, South Carolina Historical Magazine

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