At the beginning of the 16th century the territory included in the present state of Mississippi was inhabited by three powerful native tribes: the Natchez in the south-west, the Choctaws in the south-east and centre, and the Chickasaws in the north.
Just after the uprising of1729-1730the French, with the help of the Choctaws, had destroyed the Natchez nation, and the shattered remnants were absorbed by the neighbouring tribes.
The Chickasaws ceded their lands to the United States in 1816 and the Choctaws theirs in 1830-1832; and they removed to the Indian Territory.
Shipherd (1802-1844), pastor of a church in Elyria, and the Rev. Philo Penfield Stewart (1798-1868), a missionary to the Choctaws of Mississippi, as a home for Oberlin Collegiate Institute, which was chartered in 1834; the name Oberlin College was adopted in 1850.
During the colonial period several treaties with Indians were made at Augusta; by the most important, that of 1763, the Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws, Cherokees and Catawbas agreed (in a meeting with the governors of North and South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia) to the terms of the treaty of Paris.