Erected in honor of the Cherokee Nation by the United States Government in 1931 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 Cherokees became Christianized, and attained a high degree of civilization.
In 1821, Sequoyah, a native Cherokee, invented an alphabet. The first newspaper in the Indian language, "The Cherokee-Phoenix," was published in New Echota by Elias Boudinot, an educated Cherokee, whose wife, formerly Harriet Gold of Cornwall, Connecticut is buried in the tribal cemetery here.
In 1802, the United States agreed to extinguish the Indian title to the lands adjacent to Georgia in return for the cession of Georgia territory now comprising the states of Alabama and Mississippi. A treaty was negotiated December 29, 1835, at New Echota whereby the entire Cherokee territory was ceded to the United States for five million dollars and a joint interest in lands in Oklahoma and Kansas occupied by the western Cherokees. The removal was completed in 1838.