Established by French colonists in 1716, Natchez is one of the oldest and most important European settlements in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Named after the Natchez Indians, Natchez spent periods of time under British and Spanish colonial rule before becoming part of the United States with the establishment of the Mississippi Territory in 1798 and later served as the first capital for the new State of Mississippi in 1817. Here you will find a brief history of the most influential cultures that shaped the beginnings of the Natchez we know today.