Farmers living in Mississippi, the Natchez grew corn, beans, and squash, and also relied on fishing and hunting for survival. Their society was organized into two classes, nobility and commoner, which was determined by birth through the female line. Moundbuilding was an integral part of the Natchez culture and tribal religion. They built large, flat-topped mounds, where members of the tribe would gather for social or religious events. The Natchez first encountered European explorers in 1682. By 1716, the French had established a fort in Natchez territory, which became the center of their colony and a source of conflict between them and the Natchez. The British also wanted control of North American territory, and in the 1720s convinced some of the Natchez to turn against the French. By 1729, war had erupted between the Natchez and the French. The French defeated the Natchez, forcing them to disperse and be absorbed by other tribes, including the Chickasaws, Creeks, and Cherokees.