Clarksdale is a city in and the county seat of Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States. It is located along the Sunflower River. Clarksdale is named after John Clark, a settler who founded the city in the mid-19th century when he established a timber mill and business.
The western boundary of the county is formed by the Mississippi River. In the Mississippi Delta region, Clarksdale is an agricultural and trading center. Many African-American musicians developed the blues here, and took this original American music with them to Chicago and other northern cities during the Great Migration.
The Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians had occupied the Delta region for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers, and had each developed complex cultures that took full advantage of their environment.
European Americans built on this past, developing Clarksdale at the intersection of two former Indian routes: the Lower Creek Trade Path, which extended westward from present-day Augusta, Georgia, to New Mexico; and the Chakchiuma Trade Trail, which ran northeastward to the former village at present-day Pontotoc, Mississippi. They later improved these trails for roadways wide enough for wagons.
The first removal treaty carried out under the Indian Removal Act was the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, by which the Choctaw people were forced to cede 15 million acres of their homelands to the United States and to move to Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma), west of the Mississippi River. A similar forced removal of the Chickasaw Nation began in 1837; when they reached Indian Territory, the federal government assigned them to what had been the westernmost part of the Choctaw Nation.
Following the removal of the Indians, European-American settlers migrated to the Delta region, where the fertile lowlands soil proved to be excellent for growing cotton after the land was cleared.