Langford to deliver encore Hernando de Soto presentation Thursday

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Back by popular demand, Jim Langford will deliver an encore presentation of “When the World Came Crashing Down: Part 1” Thursday.

“My presentation’s about the critical period of the 16th century, particularly the time period of about 1540 when Hernando de Soto came through northwest Georgia,” said Langford, the founder of The Coosawattee Foundation. “He had a huge expedition of 600 people, 700 people, and of course they were looking for gold. The impact of that expedition and other Spanish expeditions of the same time period caused a huge collapse of the native populations.

“So the Native American population in northwest Georgia and all of the Southeast declined by about 95% within a 50-year period of those expeditions. So when we talk about the Creek and Cherokee American Indian groups who were in Georgia, we’re talking about really just the 5% of the what I call refugees who were left over after these big population collapses.”

Hosted by the Etowah Valley Historical Society, Langford’s lecture will start at 6 p.m. at the Cartersville Public Library, 429 W. Main St.

“We encourage the public to attend so that we can help dispel stereotypes about Indians,” Langford said. “People think these were just people who were wandering the landscape hunting and fishing, and it wasn’t like that at all. These were very stable, large villages, several hundred people. Some of the villages were that large.

“Some of these villages were in the same location for hundreds of years. So these were not people just wandering around hunting and fishing on the landscape. They had very complex societies with very complex political structures and that’s what I want them to understand. And that it’s important for us to continue to understand those populations and the archaeology that’s been left behind. It’s important for us to preserve those resources that are still there.”

While the complimentary presentation is open to the public, the EVHS encourages those planning to attend to RSVP by clicking the Events tab at https://evhsonline.org.

“The first lecture was presented at the Cartersville Library during November 2016,” EVHS Vice President Joe Head said. “Clearly the attendees were fascinated with the research details that Jim revealed. People were awed to learn that de Soto explored this part of the Etowah Valley, bringing livestock with him for a food supply, political motives, routes he took, number and mix in the expedition, battled with the Native Americans, suffered hardships, chased the lure of gold, captured Coosa kingdom royalty and how de Soto died.

“This lecture makes the history we were taught in middle and high school up close and personal. EVHS encourages the public to attend the lecture and learn about a major piece of founding history that happened right here in our backyards along the Etowah River. This topic is part of our national history and all residents should know it included Bartow County. It should be taught in local schools, common knowledge among our community advocates and generally known by the public.”