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New Echota Historic Site. A Virtual Tour of New Echota Capitol of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 - 1838. Cherokee Indian Memorial.

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new echota historic site

New Echota Historic Site

A Virtual Tour of New Echota

Capitol of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 - 1838

cherokee indian memorial
Cherokee Indian Memorial

Erected in honor of the Cherokee Nation by the United States Government in 1954, on the site of New Echota, last capital of the Cherokee Indians east of the Mississippi River.

The Cherokee Nation, composed of twenty thousand people, occupied territory in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. It was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States as an independent community and was the only group of American Indians to adopt a republican form of government based on a written constitution.

John Ross was elected principal chief. Under the influence of Moravian missionaries, the Cherokee became Christianized and attained a high degree of civilization.

new echota s beginning
New Echota’ s Beginning
  • In the early 19th century, the Cherokee Nation rejected the traditional clan system of rule and adopted a government similar to the United States.
  • The nation was divided into 8 districts and a legislature established to make laws and approve treaties.
  • Four delegates from each district were elected to the lower house called the National Council.
  • This body chose the 12 members of the upper house called the National Committee.
  • The National Committee selected the top level officers – the principal chief, assistant principal chief, and treasurer.
8 districts of the cherokee nation
Hickory Log








8 Districts of the Cherokee Nation
the capitol is born
The Capitol Is Born
  • During the fall of 1819, the council held meetings in Newtown, located at the junction of the Coosawattee and Conasauga Rivers in present-day Gordon County near Calhoun, Georgia.
  • On November 12, 1825, the council adopted a resolution making Newtown the Cherokee Nation’s capitol.
  • The name was changed to New Echota in honor of Chota, a cherished Cherokee town in present-day Tennessee.
the town of new echota
The Town of New Echota

Replica of the Supreme Court Building

  • New Echota was planned and laid out by Cherokee surveyors.
  • The Supreme Court and Council House dominated the center of the 60 foot wide main street, and 2 acre town square.

Replica of the Council House

the cherokee phoenix
The Cherokee Phoenix
  • A notable achievement of the Cherokee Nation was publication of the first American Indian newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix.
  • In 1826, the Council approved the construction of a printing office to be built in the center of town.
  • The press used type cast in the Cherokee alphabet invented by Sequoyah.

Replica of Cherokee Phoenix printing office and press

new echota grows
New Echota Grows
  • By 1830, the town had 50 residents.
  • Private homes, stores, and a mission were scattered around the outlying area.

Replica of typical “middle class” home

worcester house
  • Samuel Worcester, a young minister assigned to New Echota, built this house in 1828.
  • Worcester secured the funding to help establish the Cherokee Phoenix.
  • He was imprisoned in 1832 for helping the Cherokee and in 1835, he moved to Oklahoma to prepare for the coming of the displaced Cherokee people.
  • This is the only original building left in New Echota.
vann s tavern
  • Built in 1805, the tavern, served as a general store, inn, and tavern for the residents of New Echota.
  • It is a rough-hewn log building, representative of the Indian taverns of the time.
  • The sign shows prices for products available and goods sold at the tavern.
the end of new echota
The End of New Echota

When the Cherokee were forced to leave, the town was abandoned and New Echota disappeared into the dust of time.

“The New Echota Treaty of 1835 relinquished Cherokee Indian claims to lands east of the Mississippi River. The majority of the Cherokee people considered the treaty fraudulent and refused to leave their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. 7,000 Federal and State troops were ordered into the Cherokee Nation to forcibly evict the Indians. On May 26, 1838, the roundup began. Over 15,000 Cherokee were forced from their homes at gunpoint and imprisoned in stockades until removal to the west could take place. 2,700 left by boat in June, 1838, but due to many deaths and sickness, removal was suspended until cooler weather. Most of the remaining 13,000 Cherokee left by wagon, horseback, or on foot during October and November, 1838, on an 800 mile route through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. They arrived in what is now eastern Oklahoma during January, February and March, 1839. Disease, exposure, and starvation may have claimed as many as 4,000 Cherokee lives during the course of capture, imprisonment and removal. The ordeal has become known as the Trail of Tears.”

nuna dat shun yi trail where they cried
Nuna dat shun’yi – “Trail Where They Cried”

“We are now about to take our final leave and kind farewell to our native land, the country that the Great Spirit gave our Fathers. We are on the eve of leaving that country that gave us birth. It is the land of our Nation, and it is with sorrow that we are forced by the authority of the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood.”

George Hicks

“Pangs of parting are tearing the hearts of our bravest men at this forced abandonment of their dear lov’d country…”

William Shorey Coodey

“Whole Indian Nations have melted away like snowballs in the sun before the white man’s advance…

Chief Dragging Canoe