The early historic Creeks were probably descendants of the mound builders of the Mississippian culture along the Tennessee River in modern Tennessee and Alabama, and possibly related to the Utinahica of southern Georgia. More of a loose confederacy than a single tribe, the Muscogee lived in autonomous villages in river valleys throughout what are today the states of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama and consisted of many ethnic groups speaking several distinct languages, such as the Hitchiti, Alabama, and Coushatta. Those who lived along the Ocmulgee River were called "Creek Indians" by British traders from South Carolina; eventually the name was applied to all of the various natives of Creek towns becoming increasingly divided between the Lower Towns of the Georgia frontier on the Chattahoochee River, Ocmulgee River, and Flint River and the Upper Towns of the Alabama River Valley.
The Alabama or Alibamu (Albaamaha in the Alabama language) are a Southeastern culture people of Native Americans. The Alabama language is part of the Muskogean language family, as is the language of the Creek and Choctaw people, with whom the Alabama also share cultural features. They were members of the Creek Confederacy. The home lands of the Alabama were on the upper Alabama River.
The Lower Towns included Coweta, Cusseta (Kasihta, Cofitachiqui), Upper Chehaw (Chiaha), Hitchiti, Oconee, Ocmulgee, Okawaigi, Apalachee, Yamasee (Altamaha), Ocfuskee, Sawokli, and Tamali. The Upper Towns included Tuckabatchee, Abhika, Coosa (Kusa; the dominant people of East Tennessee and North Georgia during the Spanish explorations), Itawa (original inhabitants of the Etowah Indian Mounds), Hothliwahi (Ullibahali), Hilibi, Eufaula, Wakokai, Atasi, Alibamu, Coushatta (Koasati; they had absorbed the Kaski/Casqui and the Tali), and Tuskegee ("Napochi" in the de Luna chronicles).
Cusseta (Kasihta) and Coweta are the two principal towns of the Creek Nation to this day. Traditionally the Cusseta and Coweta bands are considered the earliest members of the Creek Nation.