History of Kentucky

Abduction of Daniel Boone's daughter, Jemima, by Cherokee and Shawnee Indians Kentucky 1776

Names of the Kentucky Indian Tribes
Until the arrival of the first white settlers Shawnee tribes from north and the Cherokee and Chickasaw tribes from the south of the Cumberland river fought for control of the region. During this time, no one Indian nation held possession of the region that would eventually become Kentucky.

There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Kentucky. The names of the Kentucky tribes included the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Mosopelea, Shawnee and Yuchi.

Fast Facts about the History of Kentucky Indians
The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Kentucky resulted in the adoption of the Southeast culture.

  • Name of State: Kentucky
  • Meaning of State name: Believed to be derived from the word “Kenta,” meaning “Field” or “Meadow.”
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Kentucky: Mountains in the east; rounded hills in the north; Bluegrass, wooded rocky hillsides
  • Culture adopted by Kentucky Indians: Southeast Cultural Group
  • Languages: Muskogean
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunter gatherers and hunter farmers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Asi Wattle and Daub houses

History Timeline of the Kentucky Indians

  • 10,000 B.C. : Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison.
  • 7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools
  • 1000 AD: Woodland Period including the Adena culture (mounds, a burial complex and ceremonial system. The Adena lived in a variety of locations, including: Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and parts of Pennsylvania and New York.) and Hopewell cultures
  • 1000: Mississippian Culture established. This was the last of the mound-building cultures of North America in Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States
  • 1739: Captain Charles de Longueuil explores Kentucky. The French claimed most of land, established trading posts with help of local Indian tribes
  • 1750: Thomas Walker explores Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap
  • 1751: Christopher Gist explores the region along the Ohio River
  • 1754: 1754 - 1763: The French Indian War is won by Great Britain against the French so ending the series of conflicts known as the French and Indian Wars
  • 1763: Treaty of Paris
  • 1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.
  • 1776: 1776-1794 Chickamauga Wars aka the Second Cherokee War, a series of conflicts of the Cherokee against the encroachment into their territory.
  • 1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence
  • 1785: Northwest Indian War (1785–1795) in Indiana and Ohio. The Americans suffered 2 humiliating defeats by the American Native Indians until they won the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794
  • 1794: General "Mad Anthony" Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers in Ohio ends Indian attacks in Kentucky
  • 1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land
  • 1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence
  • 1830: Indian Removal Act
  • 1832: Department of Indian Affairs established
  • 1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.
  • 1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers
  • 1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy
  • 1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers
  • 1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.
  • 1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History of Kentucky Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Kentucky had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Kentucky Indians.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

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