The state's official bird, the cardinal, is also the state bird of six other states.
Cherokee County, located in the western part of North Carolina, has a rich and complex history dating back thousands of years. Before European colonization, the area was primarily inhabited by indigenous peoples, including the Cherokee tribe. The Cherokee Nation had a significant presence in the region, with a strong culture and established settlements.

In the 18th century, European settlers began migrating to the area, establishing trading posts and small communities. However, tensions between the settlers and the Cherokee escalated in the early 19th century due to conflicts over land and resources. This led to the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their ancestral lands in the infamous Trail of Tears in 1838, where thousands perished during the forced relocation to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

After the removal of the Cherokee, the area went through a period of decline and stagnation. However, in the late 19th century, the arrival of the railroad sparked economic growth and development in Cherokee County. Agriculture and logging played a crucial role in the county's economy during this time, with timber being a major export.

In the 20th century, Cherokee County faced the challenges of the Great Depression, which slowed down its economic progress. However, the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Fontana Dam project provided employment opportunities for locals and stimulated growth in the county. Today, Cherokee County is known for its natural beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and as a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The county continues to honor its Native American heritage and has taken steps to preserve and celebrate its history.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Cherokee County, North Carolina.

  • 1550: Cherokee Native American tribes inhabit the region that will eventually become Cherokee County.
  • 1540s - 1800s: European settlers, primarily of Scottish-Irish descent, arrive in the area and establish trading relationships with the Cherokee.
  • 1839: The Cherokee are forcibly removed from their lands in what becomes known as the Trail of Tears.
  • 1841: Cherokee County is created, named after the Native American tribe.
  • 1851: Murphy, the county seat, is established.
  • Late 1800s: Logging and mining industries contribute to the economic growth of Cherokee County.
  • 1935: Construction of Hiwassee Dam begins, leading to the displacement of hundreds of residents.
  • 1940s: The creation of the Nantahala National Forest attracts tourists and outdoor enthusiasts to the area.
  • Late 1900s - present: Cherokee County experiences population growth and diversification of its economy, with tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing playing significant roles.