Cherokee Time Line
|What the Textbooks Don't Tell You||Comparative Religions|
Nancy Ward Biography
2009 Eastern Division
TN History Day
Sequoyah Award Winner
|Beyond the Feathers Power Point|
Important Dates in Cherokee History
Time line by John R. Finger, Ph.D.,
of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Revisions by Barbara R. Duncan, Ph.D., Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee, NC
Printed here with permission.
( Map refers to "Map of the Cherokee Nation" by C.C. Royce, 1884. It has been reprinted by The Museum of the Cherokee Indian and is for sale in the Museum Gift Shop.)
Recently, Native American artifacts and hearths have been dated to 17,000 B.C. at the Meadowcroft site in Pennsylvania and at Cactus Hill in Virginia. Hearths in caves have been dated to 23,000 B.C. at sites on the coast of Venezuela. Native people say they have always been here on Turtle Island.
The Cherokee people say that the first man and first woman, Kanati and Selu, lived at Shining Rock, near present-day Waynesville, N.C. The old people also say that the first Cherokee village was Kituwah, located around the Kituwah Mound, which was purchased in 1997 by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to become once again part of tribal lands.
10,000 BC - 8,000 BC - Paleo Indian Period: People were nomadic, present in North Carolina. Continuous occupation from 10,000 B.C. has been documented at Williams Island near Chattanooga, TN. Artifacts and hunting camps were found at high elevations throughout the southern Appalachians.
8,000 BC - 1,000 BC - Archaic Period: People had extensive trade networks, gourds, the atlatl. Basketmaking began as early as 7,500 B.C.
1,000 BC - 900 AD - Woodland Period: People adapted to the environment, developed agriculture, planted corn, built permanent log homes, used ceremonial and effigy mounds, lived at Nikwasi. Pottery began as early as 9,000 B.C.
900 AD - 1600 AD - Mississippian Period: People built flat-topped pyramidal mounds, lived at Etowah, shared trade and culture with Mississippian peoples throughout southeast and perhaps Mexico. Carved gorgets and figures, made feather capes. Lived in villages with agriculture and trade in mountains.
1540 DeSoto expedition, first white
1690 "Seraqui" captives sent to West Indies as slaves
1697 First smallpox epidemic among Cherokee
1700 Approximate date beginning deerskin trade from Cherokee to Charleston, S.C.
1711 Tuscarora War
1715 Yamassee War
1721 Treaty with S.C. - first land cession to Europeans (#1 on map)
1725 Cherokees recognize formally arrangements to trade
1730 Alexander Cuming meets with Cherokees at Nikwasi, takes delegation to England
1738 Smallpox epidemic kills half of Cherokee population
Priber attempts to establish Cherokee utopia
1739 First porcelain made in English speaking world with Cherokee clay - kaolin dug from the banks of
Cowee Creek in present-day Macon Co., N.C., about 30 miles from Cherokee, N.C.
1753 Fort Prince George established in S.C., rebuilt in 1756
1755 Second land cessions - more land in S.C. given up (#2 on map)
Battle of Taliwa in eastern Tenn. Cherokee victory over Creeks includes the regaining of Cherokee
lands in northwest Georgia, as far south as Etowah.
1756 Fort Loudoun established in Overhill Towns, east Tenn
1759-60 Smallpox epidemic
1760-61 In 1760, General Montgomery and troops destroyed the Cherokee
Lower Towns, in present-day S.C. Cherokee refugees fled to Overhill Towns in east Tenn., and then many
settled in northwest Georgia. Montgomery's troops were turned back by Cherokee forces at present-day
Otto, N.C., about 35 miles from present-day Cherokee, N.C. In 1761 troops led by General Grant penetrated
into N.C. and destroyed the Middle Towns, along the Little Tennessee River and its tributaries. Cherokee
people fought, then hid in the mountains and returned to rebuild their homes.
1761/1765 Henry Timberlake takes Cherokee delegation, including Ostenaco, to London.
1767 Wedgewood expedition led by Thomas Griffith acquires Cherokee clay
1768 Treaty gives up Cherokee land in southwestern Virginia (#3 on map)
1770 Treaty gives up Cherokee land in Va., W.VA..., Ky., and Tenn. (#4 on map)
1772 Treaty with Governor of Virginia gives up more land in Va., W.VA.., and Ky. (#5 on map)
1773 Treaty with John Stuart gives up parcel of Georgia land. (#6 on map)
1775 Henderson land cession gives up the rest of Kentucky and part of Tennessee (#7 on map)
1776 Cherokee, allied with British, attack settlers in their territory. American Revolutionary War army burns
some Cherokee towns.
1777 Land cessions in S.C., Ga., Va., and N.C. east of the Blue Ridge (#8 and #9 on map)
1780 Smallpox epidemic
1783 Land cession gives up land in Georgia between Oconee and Tugaloo Rivers
1780s U.S. government attempts to "civilize" Cherokees by providing looms, spinning wheels, plows, and mission
1784 State of Franklin is formed by white settlers
1785 Treaty of Hopewell - first treaty with the U.S. government Tracts in N.C., Ky., and Tenn. (#10a and 10b on
map) Nancy Ward, Cherokee Beloved Woman: "Our cry is for peace." Her cousin, Dragging Canoe,
continues to lead the Chickamauga Cherokees in warfare.
1791 Treaty of the Holston gives up land along Holston and French Broad Rivers in Tenn. for annuities. Includes
1794 War ends for Chickamauga Cherokees
1798 Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse - guarantee of land forever Cessions of more land in Tenn. and N.C. (#12,
#13, and #14 on map)
1799 Arrival of Moravian missionaries
1802 Georgia compact regarding future land cessions
1803 Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson
1804 Land cession in Georgia (#15 on map)
1805 Land cessions in Tenn. (#16, #17, and #18 on map)
1808 First written laws of the Cherokee nation They formalize a police-free state and approve patrilineal
inheritance. Land cessions in Alabama and Tennessee (#19 and #20 on map)
1808-1810 First major Cherokee migration west of the Mississippi River
1810 Cherokee laws forbid blood vengeance in accidental deaths.
1813-1814 Creek War Junaluska saves Andrew Jackson's life.
1816 Land cessions in S.C., Alabama, and Mississippi (#21 and #22 on map)
1817 Major federal treaty cedes land in Georgia, Tenn., and Ala. Some of this is in exchange for Cherokee land
in Arkansas. Under one of the treaty provisions, Cherokee people receive individual reservations on
recently ceded land. Although these reservations are in Tenn., Ga., and N.C., ultimately only N.C. honors
the terms of this treaty, which is upheld in N.C. court in 1824. These N.C. Cherokee holding reservations
become the basis of the Eastern Band.
1819 Major federal treaty cedes remainder of Cherokee land in Ala., Tenn., N.C., and Ga., leaving a small holding
in western North Carolina, Southeastern Tennessee, and northwest Georgia (#27, #28, #29, #30, #31, #32,
#33, #34, and #35 on map).
1821 Sequoyah introduces syllabary to Tribal Council, which approves it after a demonstration by Sequoyah and
his daughter Ayoka. Within a year nearly all Cherokee become literate in their own language.
1822 Cherokees establish a Supreme Court.
1827 Cherokees write a constitution claiming sovereignty over their own lands.
1828 Andrew Jackson elected U.S. president, pursues "manifest destiny."
Gold discovered in Cherokee territory, Dahlonega, Ga.
First issue of Cherokee Phoenix, bilingual newspaper appears.
1829 Jackson announces Removal policy, Georgia extends its laws over the Cherokee.
1830 Indian Removal Act (passed in Congress by one vote. Controversial throughout U.S. at the time.
Georgia laws require residents to swear allegiance to Georgia.
Missionaries to Cherokee arrested and imprisoned.
1831 Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia. Cherokees defined as a domestic, dependent nation.
1832 Worcester vs. Georgia. U.S. Supreme Court landmark case upholds Cherokee sovereignty. Georgia defies
Georgia holds land lottery, distributes Cherokee land to whites.
1834 Georgia confiscates Cherokee Phoenix, declaring newspaper subversive.
1835 Treaty of New Echota negotiated by a handful of Cherokees without tribal authorization.
1836 Senate ratifies fraudulent New Echota treaty. Federal enrolling agents and appraiser begin their work.
1838 Removal of Cherokees begins. May, first round-up. June, first detachment of Cherokees leave. Others are
held in stockades for six months before beginning the trip in October. Scholars estimate that in the process
of Removal and the Trail of Tears, one fourth to one half of the nation perish - 4,000 to 8,000 out of 16,000.
1843 William Holland Thomas begins purchasing land for Cherokees remaining in N.C., and holds the deeds for
1861-1865 Cherokees fight for North Carolina and the Confederacy in the Thomas Legion.
1868 Federal government recognizes tribes, including the Eastern Band.
1876 Qualla Boundary formed and Cherokee lands secured.
1889 Rights of Cherokees established by N.C. legislature. Charter granted and the Eastern Band of Cherokee
Indians is formed.
1914 First Cherokee Fair event for the public.
1946 Cherokee people first allowed to register to vote in N.C.
Qualla Arts and Crafts Co-op established.
1948 Museum of the Cherokee Indian established.
1950 First production of outdoor drama, "Unto These Hills," telling the story of the Cherokee people and the
Trail of Tears.
1979 Native American Religious Freedom Act guarantees religious freedom to members of Native American
tribes. Includes the right to do traditional ceremonies.
1990 Native American Graves and Repatriation Act guarantees protection for remains of native peoples and
their reburial by their people.
American Indian Arts and Crafts Act requires that anything labeled as such must be made by a member of a
federally or state recognized tribe.
1997 Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians makes first major land purchase in more than a century, buying the
Kituwah Mound near Cherokee, N.C.
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