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Tuskaloosa: The Black Warrior Name

by Energy Technical Services on 02/10/15

Good Afternoon, ETS followers! It has been a wonderfully busy first part of this year- hence the lag between our updates.  

To celebrate Tuscaloosa's rich history, the ETS Blog is excited to present a Mike Williams original: 

It is estimated that between the names of  businesses, geographical features, and geological features, the term “Warrior” or “Black Warrior” is the name of choice in 400 to 500 times in Alabama alone.  The origin of this name is quite clear to anyone who lives in the western side of Alabama.  

Tuskaloosa was a Native American chief of a Mississippi group, the possible ancestors of the several southern Native American tribes including the Choctaw and Creek, in what is now Alabama.  He is famous for leading a battle against the famous (or infamous) Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto.  

Tuskaloosa’s name is of western Muskogen in origin, (taska, losa), meaning “Black Warrior”.  He is described as being very tall and intimidating, and some say he stood over a foot taller than the Spaniards he was up against
On the trajectory with history, a 42-year old Hernando de Soto was appointed Governor of Cuba by the King of Spain in 1539 and was directed to conquer what is now the Southeastern United States.   In 1540, de Soto had kidnapped Chief Tuskaloosa to assure safe passage through hostile territory.  However, a surprise attack by local chieftains was conducted at the village of Mabila in October 1540.  The ensuing battle left Chief Tuskaloosa dead, and the Spaniards in turn won the battle.  This was the beginning of the “Black Warrior’s” legacy.

Today, Chief Tuskaloosa is honored not only by name in Tuscaloosa County, but also by the 170+ mile Black Warrior River, flowing through western Alabama into the Tombigbee River.  

Another geological asset honoring the great chief is the Black Warrior Basin, a sedimentary basin that exists from western Alabama to northern Mississippi .  The Black Warrior Basin is the longest producing basin of coalbed methane in the United States. The Warrior Basin, officially mapped in 1899 by Dr. Eugene Allan Smith, Alabama State Geologist for 54 years, also produces coal, oil, and natural gas.  

Tuscaloosa's name is not the only asset that has a rich cultural history.  What do you find fascinating about Alabama's history? Leave a comment below! 


Comments (1)

1. Bama 101 said on 4/19/19 - 11:40AM
Thanks for sharing! this is great!

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