The Cherokee Nation rested primarily in the southeastern United States, mostly Georgia, East Tennessee, and the Carolinas. They moved from the Great Lakes region to the soutern appalacia region, though it's not known when. This is supported by their Iroquian language and through oral history of the tribe. The Cherokee believed that warfare defiled a person and the warriors had to be cleansed before they were allowed to live with the normal villagers. They are now spread as three seperate nations called the Cherokee Nation, East Band of Cherokee Indians, and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
The first known contact with the Cherokee was in 1540 when a Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto. The initial visit was uneventful other than the various diseases that the Europeans intorduced that decimated many tribes. A second expedition came through the Cherokee territory again and the Spanish proceeded to build 6 forts in the southeast. Many Cherokee towns rose against the Spanish soldiers and killed all but one of the 120 men stationed at each fort, they then burned the forts down. The Spanish were forced to retreat to the coast and stayed wary of the area.
A small tribe of (possible) Cherokee broke into the Virginia colony in 1654. They settled near the Falls of the James (Modern day Richmond), but were driven out a year later. The English then set up a small scale trading system in 1690 with the Cherokee. The products included furs, and Cherokee people that would be used as slaves.
In 1730 Sir Alexander Cummings convinced the Cherokee to crown Moytoy of Tellico as the emperor of the Cherokee Nation who then recognized King George II as the Cherokee's protector. 7 Cherokee traveled with Cummings back to England and signed the Whitehall treaty which was supposed to guarantee peace between the English and French colonies. Moytoy's son succeded him as emperor, but the Cherokee got tired of it and elected a new leader.
In 1739 half of the population of hte Cherokee Nation was lost to smallpox and hundred more commited suicide due to their loss and disfigurments.
War is Declared
The Cherokee fought for the British during the French and Indian War in 1756, but due to misunderstandings they started the Anglo-Cherokee war in 1760 which forced King George III to forbid British settlements west of the Appalachian crest with the Royal Proclamation of 1763
In 1776 the Cherokee allied with the Shawnee and led many attacks against the settlers in North & South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia which was called the Second Cherokee War which lasted for a year. This led to the Chickamauga War when a small fraction of Cherokee broke off an formed their own tribe and continued to attack the settlers until 1794. The Cherokee then ceded the land between Cumberland and Duck Rivers to Tennessee.
This then led to the Five Civilized Nations.
After the Relocation
The Eastern Band Cherokee were formed by those who stayed behind and fought relocation and it wasn't until 1839 that the two were officially recognized as the same nation. Things ran smoothly after that until the civil war. The Cherokee in the west largely blamed Andrew Jackson for the trail of tears and joined with the confederacy. Many in the east also joined the confederacy, but there was a small band that joined the union and shaped the US government's opinion on native americans. So the Cherokee were a huge hinderance, but also a great help to the Union. After the war, the Cherokee that joined with the Union suffered an outbreak of smallpox. The troops in the union that were in debt to the Cherokee moved for another seperation of the two bands and filled a lawsuit against the Cherokee creditors that left the Cherokee under the protection of the United states.
After Civil War to Modern Times
The eastern Cherokee had their own emancipation proclamation and gave rights to african americans as well. Then a large secesion of land followed to allow the US to build railroads. In 1898 the Curtis Act of 1898 was signed into law which dismantled all tribal governments, courts, schools, effectively ending tribal seperation from the United States government.
In 1905, the Five Civilezed Nations of the Indian territory gathered together and tried to form the state of Sequoya, but failed to gain support. In 1907 they finally joined the Oklahoma and Indian territories to form the state of Oklahoma.
In North Carolina the Native Americans suffered the same injustices as the African Americans due to the intense segregation that was going on in the state. The would not regain their rights until the Civil Rights movements of the 1960's.
-Cherokee found Tennessee when he was still an infant settlement (Watauga) and at first complained to Virginia about her settlers "accidentally" moving into his territory. She agreed that Watauga's birth was illegal and told the settlers they had to disband. Cherokee took pity on Watauga and decided instead to lease the land to Watauga for 10 years provided Watauga didn't grow anymore.
-In the Spring of 1774, Watauga invited Cherokee to a festival and horse race his people were throwing. Cherokee and his people arrived, but the event would end in tragedy when an outsider named Isaac Crabtree (known for his hatred of Indians) murdered one of Cherokee's people (Cherokee Billy) who he claimed participated in the massacre of Boone's men in 1773 (a team he was a part of). Cherokee left the festival quietly but angrily and Watauga was horrified by what had happened. Watauga ran to appologize to Cherokee and begged the Indian Nation not to hate him. Cherokee was surprised by Watauga's humility and promised the little settlement he wouldn't seek revenge for the murder.
-During Dunmore's War, Shawnee approached Cherokee and requested his aid in fighting against the Virginians. He cited the murder at Watauga as a reason for Cherokee to seek revenge, but Cherokee refused because of his promise. Cherokee remained neutral during Dunmore's War.
-Richard Henderson and Daniel Boone approached Cherokee about purchasing his hunting grounds in the Transylvania area and they agreed to meet at Watauga's home to discuss the purchase. (Transylvania Purchase/Treaty of Sycamore Shoals/Treaty of Watauga) During negotiations Dragging Canoe gave his famous speech about Dark and Bloody Ground. After the purchase, Watauga approached Cherokee about buying his own land so they could be permanent neighbors. Cherokee agreed despite Dragging Canoe's warnings and his own unease about giving away his lands. (Both purchases were in violation of the Proclamation of 1763)
-Shawnee and other Indian Nations helped convince Cherokee to side with England during the Revolutionary War. There was a division among his people on whether to fight or not and some referred to the violent followers of Dragging Canoe as Chickamauga. Nacy Grace and Attakullakulla tried to convence Cherokee not to attack Watauga but he rejected his old leaders' pacifism. Cherokee sent a warning to Watauga that he had 20-40 days to move out or face war. Watauga was shocked but wouldn't believe it was Cherokee and assumed Dragging Canoe had forged his signature. He prepared for battle against Chickamauga. (Nancy Grace would later warn Watauga about Cherokee's invasion of 1776.)
-(1776) West Virginia/Virginia and the Carolinas went after Cherokee in retaliation for him attacking Transylvania and Watauga during the Revolutionary War. (Georgia also attacked but it was because she had been threatened rather than retaliation on the frontier kids' behalf) They attacked all his tribes they found, neutral and hostile alike.
-(1778-1779) Cherokee would help England capture Savannah and Augusta Gerogia. While he was busy attacking Georgia and South Carolina, West Virginia lead some of his men to wipe out some of Cherokee's villages. There was no resistance and when Cherokee heard of the destruction he quickly rushed to the Chickamuaga area. When Shawnee heard what happened he went to the Chickamuaga area to ask Cherokee if he still had the will to fight. Dragging Canoe told Shawnee that "We are not yet conquered!" and Cherokee was ready to continue their battle.
-In 1779 Chickasaw joined the war when a fort was built within his land and he began to attack Kentucky. Cherokee and Chickasaw forgot about their animosity from their previous war and united to face a common enemy. (Chickasaw-Cherokee war 1758-1769 <--Research on this later)
-In 1780 when Cherokee heard about Watauga battling on King's Mountain, he decided to take the opportunity and attack while his warriors were busy fighting Major Ferguson. His British allies were shocked when they heard of Ferguson's defeat but their plan was already in motion. Nancy Ward warned Virginia of Cherokee's plan. She and North Carolina quickly sent their militia to help Watauga. They marched against Cherokee's Overhill tribes and basically knocked the fight out of them. (Note that even though the Overhill leaders had been pacifist, most of the people actually supported the war but they'd been doing so convertly until 1781 Attakullakulla's successor, Oconostota, was replaced. Except the pacifist elders replaced that guy with Old Tassel.)
-The pacifist leaders continuously sent pleas of peace to Watauga and the other colonies, but they fell on deaf ears mostly because Cherokee and his people wouldn't stop attacking and supported war. Their cries for peace did not reflect the attitudes nor actions of their people. (Keep this in mind. Something similar will show up later.)
-Battle of the Bluff happened.
-In 1782, Sevier would invade the Chickamauga settlements again, but Cherokee and Dragging Canoe had been warned and moved their people before they could arrive. There was no fight.
-Cherokee planned to enter a federation with many other Indian Nations in order to oppose the frontier settlements, but the plans were cut short by the Treaty of Paris.
-The treaties Cherokee's leaders up north would be forced to sign after the Revolutionary war were mostly under duress or at gunpoint. (Even the peaceful leaders were treated this way. Cherokee's warfare had destroyed pretty much any respect Kentucky and Watauga had for them.)
-In 1786, Cherokee began raiding Watauga(by that time Franklin)'s Cumberland regions again. Franlin responded by raiding his Overhill tribes in return.
-Joined the Western Confederacy to help in the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795)
-Look up Coldwater Town later. It might not be worth mentioning but it sounds like something went down.
-Massacre of the Kirk and Brown families is important back story for the murder of the Overhill chiefs. Sevier's men had raised a flag of truce and Old Tassel as well as other peaceful Overhill chiefs came to talk with them. Sevier left Kirk Jr. and others who were known to have vendettas against the Cherokee in charge of the cabin while he went (somewhere?). Those men murdered the peaceful chiefs as revenge for their families being massacred. Cherokee was infuriated and any resistance he felt against fighting all but dissapeared in his rage. (This also caused Watauga/Franklin to be angry at Sevier and caused a rift between them where Franklin was convinced Sevier knew what would happen no matter what he or the other conspirators said.)
-Houston's Station is something also that looks like it either could be important or stupid. Not sure which one yet.
-(Holy crap Chickamauga Wars last forever and ever... Tired of this and I'll talk more about it later.)