Early colonization of America, mainly confined to the malarial coastal wetlands, did not excessively impinge on the Indian heartlands. The Yamasee Wars (1715–17) ended with the effective destruction of that loose tribal group, and the remaining tribes, particularly, the Creeks became more astute, playing off colonial powers against one another. Indeed, the ‘Five Civilized Tribes’ (Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Seminole) to a degree adopted colonial customs, developing prosperous estates. However, the rapid expansion of plantation agriculture greatly increased the colonial population, both of settlers and slaves, and steadily eroded Indian territory. In the Revolutionary War, the northern ‘Chickamauga’ Cherokee sided with the British and conflict with settlers continued until 1794. There followed a series of treaties (including Tellico, Hopewell and Colerain) by which the various tribes ceded territory to the federal government for redistribution to settlers. Eventually, post-1810, rising tensions exploded into a series of wars.
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