Cherokee-British Alliance in the Tennessee Corridor, 1670-1758

Map of the Area Between Fort Loudon, Tennessee, And Kaskaskia, Illinois. 1757.  William H. Lyttelton Papers. University of Michigan.William L. Clements Library.
Map of the Area Between Fort Loudon, Tennessee, And Kaskaskia, Illinois. 1757. William H. Lyttelton Papers. University of Michigan. William L. Clements Library.
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
American Indian Studies Seminar Series
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

TFL

Kristofer Ray, Austin Peay State University

This essay explores the complexities of Cherokee-British interaction along the Tennessee River. Between 1670 and 1758 Europeans became aware of a “corridor” that could connect British Carolina with the Ohio Valley, the Wabash River, and the Illinois country via the Tennessee. The British wanted to assert dominion over this space, and understood that they would need a meaningful alliance with Cherokees to do so. Yet as they established this relationship, the French (and French-allied Indians) challenged British strength in Over Hill settlements. More importantly, they had to grapple with the reality that Cherokees lacked a unified identity around which Britons could build a one-to-one alliance. As they accelerated their emphasis on the trans-Appalachian South, the British struggled to overcome tension between their geopolitical reach and the reality of Indian agency.

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