Early Days- In the early days, the Cherokee were separated from the other Iroquois tribes. They roamed the mountain region of the South Alleghenies in west North Carolina, northern Georgia, southwest Virginia, South Carolina, and northeast Alabama. They claimed land from the east coast to the Ohio River.
Evidence that remains show that the Cherokee traveled in ancient times from present-day Texas or northern Mexico to the Great Lakes area. Wars with the Delaware tribes and the tribes of New York area pushed them southeast to the mountain regions in modern North and South Carolina, northern Georgia and Alabama, and Tennessee. There in 1540 a Spanish explorer named Hernando de Soto came across them. Smallpox shrunk their population to almost 11,000 in 1715.
During the British and French fight for power of colonial North America, the Cherokee commonly joined with the British, and in the American Revolution the tribe helped Great Britain. They discussed a peace treaty with the United States in 1785, but Cherokee's challenge lasted for a decade after that. A new treaty reconfirmed the previous one in 1791. Part of Cherokee land was surrendered to the United States, and the unending rights of the tribe to the remaining land were set up. Several thousand of the tribe traveled west of the Mississippi turn into what is now known as the Western Band, between 1790 and 1819.
The tribe began a governmental system modeled by the United States in 1820. Thanks to this system, the Cherokee were included as one of the Five Civilized Tribes. They planed a constitution and incorporated as the Cherokee Nation in 1827.
The early Cherokee wore brightly colored clothing made of cotton and lived in houses made of logs. Their usual foods were bean dumplings and chestnut bread and they wore boots made of deerskin.