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From 1825 to 1838, New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee Nation, whose constitution was patterned after that of the United States. The public buildings and houses in town were generally log structures, among them a council house, a printing office, a Supreme Court building, and the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. The first newspaper established (in 1828) by Native Americans, it utilized the 86-character alphabet developed by Sequoyah, who spent 12 years developing the written Cherokee language despite having no formal education. He is the only known person in history to have single-handedly created a written language.
The Treaty of 1835, signed in New Echota by a small group of Cherokee leaders, relinquished Cherokee claims to lands east of the Mississippi. Most Cherokees considered the treaty fraudulent. A few years later 7,000 federal and state troops began removing Cherokee from their homes in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee and put them in stockades, including one in New Echota. About 15,000 Cherokee were then forced to travel west to Oklahoma on foot, horseback, and in wagons, along what is known as the "Trail of Tears." Thousands died along the way. After reaching Oklahoma in 1839, the three principal signers of the Treaty of 1835 were assassinated by Cherokee who considered them traitors.
Following the removal of the Cherokee, New Echota reverted to farmland. Today one original building remains, some buildings have been reconstructed and furnished, and other structures have been moved to the site. The visitor center has a movie and a variety of books about Cherokee history. When visiting New Echota, you can stay in Calhoun, the nearest town, or in Dalton, Rome, Chickamauga, or even in Chattanooga.
New Echota at a Glance
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