Native Americans were the first inhabitants of what is now Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The Piedmont section of the Carolinas was the homeland of the Catawba Indians. The Surgeree people who lived within the Catawba nation also dwelled in this area and hunted wild turkey, deer, buffalo and bear in the rich woodlands of Mecklenburg County. The agreeable climate also allowed the Catawbas to grown corn, beans, squash and grounds in the summer to supplement their diet.
The Catawba, many of whom lived in North and South Carolina, dwelled in villages of circular, bark-covered houses, and dedicated temple structures were used for public gatherings and religious ceremonies.
The Catawbas controlled this area until English settler of the mid-18th century crowded them westward and southward. The Catawbas, the Cherokees and many other Indian nations in the region bravely resisted encroachment. By the 1760’s, warfare and disease brought by early settlers had reduced the Native American population dramatically.
Map of the United States during the presidency of Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845), with the demarcation of Catawba Indian territory.
The City of Charlotte was established on the former Occoneechee Trail, the north-south trading path used by American Indian tribes long before the arrival of English colonists. This area was part of over eight million acres ceded by the Catawba Nation in the 1760 Treaty of Pine Tree Hill and affirmed in 1763 at Augusta in exchange for a 15 square mile homeland in South Carolina.
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Information taken from:
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport
Additional commentary added.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass