Natchez Trace, road, from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville, Tenn., of great commercial and military importance from the 1780s to the 1830s. It grew from a series of Native American trails used in the 18th cent. by the French, English, and Spanish. At first traveled only N from Natchez to Nashville, because the American frontiersmen could float goods S to New Orleans by flatboat, it came to be used in both directions with U.S. expansion into the Old Southwest. It was made a post road in 1800 and was improved by the army. Andrew Jackson marched over the Trace to New Orleans in the War of 1812. With the coming of steamboat transportation, however, it passed into decline. The Natchez Trace Parkway and Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail memorialize and generally follow the old Natchez Trace. Meriwether Lewis Park and Ackia Battleground (now called Chickasaw Village), both former national monuments, were incorporated into Natchez Trace Parkway in 1961 (see National Parks and Monuments, table).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.