Battle of Taliwa

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The Battle of Taliwa was fought in Ball Ground, Georgia in 1755. According to Cherokee folklore, it was mainly fought over land disputed between the Cherokees and Creek, with the Cherokees winning. However, the invading Overhills Cherokee army was over 100 miles away from Taliwa, and Taliwa was an Apalachicola town.

Cherokee folklore describes the war between the Cherokee who had moved from the mountains into the upper Tennessee River valley, and the Muskogee, who were indigenous to Tennessee, over disputed hunting grounds in what is now North Georgia. The last phase of the war lasted from 1753–1755. However, the war actually began in 1715 after the Cherokees invited all of the Muskogean leaders (there was no Creek tribe then) to a diplomatic conference in the Cherokee town of Tugaloo, at the headwaters of the Savannah River. At the behest of a Cherokee priest, the Cherokee hosts murdered all of the Creek leaders in their sleep, thus precipitating a 50-year war. The English and French maps of the period show only a very small area in the northeastern tip of what is now Georgia, ever being occupied or claimed by the Cherokees.

The Cherokee remembered the Battle of Taliwa as a great victory over the Muskogee-Creek. Archives from the period tell a different story. At the time northwestern Georgia was occupied by the Apalachicola, allied with and claimed by France. The Muskogee-Creek were allies of the Colony of Georgia and Great Britain. The Muskogee were known to have lived in eastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia during Hernando de Soto's 1540 trek, and claimed the area, also known as 'Coosa', as their territory. The word Taliwa is Apalachicola word for "town", related to the Muskogee-Creek term, "edowah".

French military maps of the period show all of what is now northwestern Georgia to be occupied by tribes allied with France until 1763. In 1757 a large contingent of Upper Creeks, allied with France, relocated from what is now north-central Alabama to northwestern Georgia to reinforce the Apalachicola. They remained in the region till 1763. The Cherokee may have burned the Apalachicola town of Taliwa, but they did not occupy northwest Georgia until given that region by the British in 1763.

Evidence which refutes the Cherokee version of the Cherokee-Muskogee War is in the archives of the Georgia Historical Society. The letters and reports of Georgia colonial officials and traders describe a series of devastating attacks between 1750 and 1755 on the Valley Cherokee towns in North Carolina and Lower Cherokee towns in northeastern Georgia, which left the region depopulated and being used as Creek hunting grounds. These reports are confirmed by a map prepared by Dr. John Mitchell in 1755, which shows all of the Valley and Georgia Cherokee towns burned and abandoned in that year.

The State of Georgia historical marker described below, reflects the Cherokee folklore version of the Cherokee-Muskogee War.

Historical landmark[edit]

The Georgia State Historical Landmark is located on Georgia State Highway 372 by Ball Ground's downtown railroad crossing. It states:[1]


Two and one-half miles to the east, near the confluence of Long-Swamp Creek and the Etowah River, is the traditional site of Taliwa, scene of the fiercest and most decisive battle in the long war of the 1740's and 50's between the Cherokee and Creek Indians.

There, about 1755, the great Cherokee war chief, Oconostota, led 500 of his warriors to victory over a larger band of Creeks. So complete was the defeat that the Creeks retreated south of the Chattahoochee River, leaving their opponents the region later to become the heart of the ill-fated Cherokee Nation.