A Prelude to Removal / Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation Throughout the 18th century the Cherokee Nation was under assault whether it was with the British or later the up start American’s. At one time before 1730, the lands claimed by this powerful tribal nation included most of what is now Virginia, parts of Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia.

By 1768 and then again in 1770, their vast domain was reduced primarily to set a boundary whereby white settlers would not cross into lands held by the Cherokees. With these two treaties, tribal leaders such as Oconostota and Attakullakulla signed their names ceded all claims to lands in Virginia.

The rationale for this was due to the notion that if given enough land to the British, the settlers would be satisfied and that the Cherokees would be left alone. Sadly, the desire for more land led to more conflicts between the two nations.

Though no census exists at this time for the Cherokee people, among the holdings in the British Archives will be correspondence bewteen the leaders of these nations that helps the researcher better understand the shaping of events that would occur over the next decade.

An excellent study of this turbulent period in Cherokee history is Stan Hoig’s work The Cherokees And Their Chiefs, In the Wake of Empire published in 1998, The University of Arkansas Press.

by William Welge

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