The term Overhill Cherokee refers to the former Cherokee settlements located in what is now Tennessee in the southeastern United States. The name was given by 18th century European traders and explorers who had to cross the Appalachian Mountains to reach these settlements when traveling from British colonies along the Atlantic coast.
Situated along the lower Little Tennessee, lower Tellico, and lower Hiwassee rivers, the Overhill towns rose to prominence within the Cherokee Nation in the early 18th century when trade with the British was standardized. In the early part of the century, the Overhill towns' remote location at the far end of the Trading Path made them accessible only to those traders and explorers adventurous and opportunistic enough to make the treacherous journey inland and over the mountains. By the middle of the century, the Overhill towns were consistently courted by both British and French emissaries as the two powers struggled for the control of the continent. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, the westward thrust of Euro-American settlement led to the decline of the Overhill towns, as the Cherokee were induced to sign away the bulk of their lands in the east in a series of unfavorable treaties.
The Overhill town of Chota in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee was recognized as the de facto capital of the Cherokee Nation for most of the 18th century, and the town of Tanasi would become the namesake for the state of Tennessee. Many prominent Cherokee leaders, including Attakullakulla, Oconastota, Nancy Ward, and Sequoyah were born and raised in Overhill towns. Although most of the Overhill sites were submerged by the impoundment of the Little Tennessee River in the 1970s, archaeologists conducted pre-inundation excavations identifying most of the Overhill towns and extracting volumes of invaluable information regarding the region's Cherokee and pre-Cherokee inhabitants.
Other articles related to "overhill cherokee, cherokee, overhills":
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Famous quotes containing the word cherokee:
“Long accustomed to the use of European manufactures, [the Cherokee Indians] are as incapable of returning to their habits of skins and furs as we are, and find their wants the less tolerable as they are occasioned by a war [the American Revolution] the event of which is scarcely interesting to them.”
—Thomas Jefferson (17431826)