Today the Choctaws are remembered as one of the Five Civilized Tribes, removed to Oklahoma in the early nineteenth century; a large band remains in Mississippi, quietly and effectively refusing to be assimilated. The Choctaws are a Muskogean people, in historical times residing in southern Mississippi and Alabama; they were agriculturalists as well as hunters, and a force to be reckoned with in the eighteenth century. Patricia Galloway, armed with evidence from a variety of disciplines, counters the commonly held belief that these same people had long exercised power in the region. She argues that the turmoil set in motion by European exploration led to realignments and regroupings, and ultimately to the formation of a powerful new Indian nation. Through a close examination of the physical evidence and historical sources, the author provides an ethnohistorical account of the proto-Choctaw and Choctaw peoples from the eve of contact with Euro-Americans through the following two centuries. Starting with the basic archaeological evidence and the written records of early Spanish and English visitors, Galloway traces the likely origin of the Choctaw people, their movements and interactions with other native groups in the South, and Choctaw response to these contacts. She thereby creates the first careful and complete history of the tribe in the early modern period. This rich and detailed work will not only provides much new information on the Choctaws but illuminates the entire field of colonial-era southeastern history and will provide a model for ethnographic studies.