Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cherokees, a large North American nation belonging to the Appalachian group, who call themselves Tsallakies, with two branches, the Ottare or "Highlanders," and Ayrate or "Lowlanders," at one time jointly occupying the Appomattox Basin, Virginia. Driven thence southwards, they formed, at the close of the last century, a widespread confederation in Kentucky, Tennessee, and a large part of both Carolinas and Georgia. Here they developed a social and political system of a high order, completely abandoning the chase for agriculture, introducing orderly self-government, with national assemblies and laws based on national customs. They also applied themselves to literature, and in 1824 the Cherokee George Guest (Segwoya) invented a complete syllabarium of 78 signs, which is perfectly suited to express the sounds of the Cherokee language, and with slight improvements has since been used for that purpose. Then came fresh collisions with the whites, and the final removal (1835) of the whole nation to Indian Territory, where they now occupy two well-cultivated and well-stocked Reserves, and where they have continued to govern themselves with representative institutions (an upper and a lower house), a written constitution, a legal code, and monogamy. Of all North American aborigines the Cherokees have shown the greatest capacity for adapting themselves to European culture, and in their new settlements they have gradually increased from 14,000 in 1864 to 16,000 in 1872, and over 20,000 in 1890. Physically, they are typical American Indians, very tall, with very long, black hair, large nose, small black eyes, and light, somewhat olive, complexions. The language is highly polysynthetic, but otherwise unrelated to any other American idiom. See W. Bartram, Observations on the Creeks and Cherokee Indians, in Transactions of the American Ethnological Society, 1853; E. Ludwig, The Literature of American Aboriginal Languages, London, 1858.