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The Creek-Napoleon Connection

The Creek-Napoleon Connection

A British warship captured Napoleon Bonaparte as he was trying to escape to St. Marys, Georgia

A British warship captured Napoleon Bonaparte as he was trying to escape to St. Marys, Georgia

Our project started out in 2007 as an effort to create a more accurate understanding of the indigenous peoples of the South Atlantic Coast. Along the way, we discovered a province of Irish living on the coast. It turns out that 19th century Georgia historians knew that there was a tradition on the coast of Irish colonists, who arrived during the early Middle Ages, but the information was not included in their books. We have gone on to find forgotten mound complexes and the probable locations of Spanish and French fortifications.

One of most surprising footnotes to history, uncovered, was the connection between Napoleon Bonaparte and the Creek Indians. A Frenchman was the Etvlwv Tvksemikko (commanding general) of the Creek Confederacy for about 20 years. When Napoleon returned to power, this man returned to France and prepared a plan for Napoleon, which utilized the soldiers of the Creek Confederacy and their allies to take back the Province of Louisiana, plus Florida Française. French Florida would have included the present states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and a portion of South Carolina.

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

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