Red Clay State Historical Park
From the years 1832-1838, Red Clay served as the capitol of the Cherokee Nation. It is located about 12 miles south of Cleveland, on the extreme southwest corner of Bradley County, with the Georgia-Tennessee state line forming its southern boundary.
In 1832 the state of Georgia stripped the Cherokees of their political soverignity and made it illegal for them to meet for any reason other than to treaty away their land. At the time the Cherokees were a civilized nation, far from the wandering nomads first encountered by the early European explorers. Their capitol in New Echota, north Georgia, was set up with a constitution and political system patterned after that of the United States. They had Christian churches, schools, and a newspaper, the Phoenix, in both Cherokee and English.
The Cherokees found temporary refuge here at Red Clay, just over the Georgia line into Tennessee. Here was the actual beginning of the infamous "Trail of Tears," as the Cherokees finally accepted their unhappy fate and began the long dreadful march to new settlements in the Oklahoma Territory. Thousands would die along the way before they ever reached their new home.