The Indian Factors: Kinship, Trade, and Authority in the Creek Nation & American South, 1740–1800
Brill Academic Publishers
Journl of Early American History
This article explores the lives of the countless “Indian Factors” who straddled Native and European worlds during the eighteenth century. For the most part, these individuals were born of mixed unions between European men and Creek women, and were employed as traders and intermediaries in the deerskin trade and Creek-British politics. However, after the Seven Years’ War, Indian factors triggered a political contest within the Creek Nation, by empowering younger generations of men who challenged micos—the traditional leaders—for authority in their communities. Such tension led to increasing violence with Europeans and contributed to the revolutionary crisis in the South. After 1783, factors again evolved in response to the threat of the United States, this time as voices of Creek sovereignty. All in all, Indian factors embodied the multifaceted definitions and transformative changes that swept the Creek world and the American South during the eighteenth century.