History rewritten on Cherokee demise

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A slow, lethal combination of external pressures including warfare, rather than a lack of natural resources, led to the demise of the Cherokee Indians, two new studies suggest.

The date of the Cherokee society's collapse is often cited as 1785, when several tribes signed the Treaty of Hopewell and came under the jurisdiction of the new United States of America. Resource scarcity was the major factor in the dissolution, many historians have thought, based on an eyewitness narrative of sparse settlement patterns.

But the Cherokee of the Southeastern United States actually had plenty of land, crops and animals to go around, the new land-usage research indicates. The collapse was more likely instigated by a series of events that occurred over a period of a few decades, said University of Georgia anthropologist Ted Gragson.

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