Monday, June 26, 2017

Cotton Kingdom I

On a brief side trip into the time of cotton I am on my way to one of the few operating cotton plantations in the South. Before going there I stopped in Natchez, a town in the State of Mississippi on the Mississippi River, which once was the capital of the Cotton Kingdom. It was here that large numbers of cotton bales were loaded on steamboats to be transported to New Orleans. "[T]he city's forty most prominent families […] included the largest and wealthiest cotton planters in the entire South and some of the biggest slave owners in the world."

Natchez already celebrated its tricentennial in 2016, it is two years older than New Orleans. The name stems from the Native American Natchez people that lived in the area before the French came. Similar to New Orleans Natchez was founded by the French and was later ceded to Spain, who later ceded it to Great Britain before it became an American city.

As the city became very rich through the cotton trade there are multitudinous antebellum structures that are just beautiful. In the quiet streets it smells of magnolia and other – to me unknown – flowers and blossoms. It is beautiful, but, I have to admit, I overdosed. It is as if eating cotton candy: it looks great, but the minute you take the first bite it is just too sweet and has a terrible structure.

So I almost welcomed the familiar sight of inner city areas destroyed by the need to create parking space and by the ignorance of the value of historical structures that has plagued so many US cities since the 1950s and 60s.

And this is the oldest house that is still standing, it dates to the 18th century. King's Tavern was built before 1789 and served as a tavern, a stage stop, and a mail station at the end of the Natchez Trace.

No comments: