During the colonial period Fort Toulouse acted as a commercial, religious, and diplomatic frontier outpost for the French from 1717 until 1763. It was one of a series of forts built by the French to protect their holdings in French colonial Louisiana from British infringement during the eighteenth century. Alabama’s hot and humid climate caused the fort’s wooden structures to rot quickly, and they had to be rebuilt at regular intervals.
Fort Jackson played a major role in the Creek War of 1813-14, when General Andrew Jackson and the U.S. army used Fort Jackson, built on the old site of Fort Toulouse, to launch attacks against the British attacks on the Gulf coast. On August 9th, 1814, after their defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the Upper Creeks surrendered to the United States in the Treaty of Fort Jackson, effectively ending the Creek Wars. Nineteen million acres of Creek lands were thus opened for settlement, resulting in Alabama becoming a state five years later.
The Fort Toulouse site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. Today known as the Fort Toulouse/Jackson State Park, the site hosts various events that recreate French, Native American, and colonial American life on the frontier.
Photos courtesy of: Alabama Department of Archives and History