Fort Washita, located in present-day Durant, Oklahoma, was established in 1842 in the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. Serving as the southwestern-most military post of the United States, Fort Washita was created in accordance with treaty obligations to maintain peace for the recently immigrated Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. Threats to the stability of the Chickasaw’s new home were numerous, including attacks from the Republic of Texas militia, raids from the Southern Plains Indians and unsettling presence of traders and trappers.
During the Civil War, the fort was abandoned by Union forces and occupied by Confederate troops from Texas. The Chickasaw Nation eventually gained the property back, and the prominent Colbert family owned it until the Oklahoma Historical Society acquired it in 1962. Today, Fort Washita is on the National Register of Historic Place, is designated as a National Historic Landmark and operates as a free museum open to the public.
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