Land of the Brave

The Backcountry

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Definition of the Backcountry
The Meaning and Definition of the Backcountry: The Backcountry is a term used to describe a wilderness or remote, isolated areas that are difficult to access with primitive trails, “off the beaten track”. A Backcountry is a territory that is not within the recognized boundary line of existing regions. The word Backcountry was used to describe the uncolonized lands in North America during the period of colonialism.

The Backcountry - The First Settlers
The location of the American backcountry lay beyond the colonies in the American region now referred to as Appalachia.

The Backcountry stretched all along the western borders of the colonies. The Appalachian Mountains are a system of mountains in eastern North America. As the 13 colonies began to fill European immigrants began pushing further westward into the lands around the Appalachian Mountains. Between 1730 and 1763 European immigrants slowly started to move into west Pennsylvania and west Maryland and the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia.

The Backcountry 1750 - The Cumberland Gap
The Cumberland gap was discovered by Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750. The Cumberland gap is a pass through the Cumberland Mountain region of the Appalachian Mountains and is located just north of the spot where the modern states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia meet. The Cumberland Gap pass was named in honor of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, is 12 miles long (19 km) and was formed naturally by an ancient creek.

The Backcountry: 1790 - 1784
The Backcountry opened up still further between the years of 1790 and 1840 when additional peace treaties opened up lands in the Cumberland Plateau regions, north Georgia, north Alabama, the Tennessee Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains. The last of these treaties culminated in the removal of the Five Civilised Tribes.  President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830 which authorized the negotiation of treaties to buy tribal lands in the east in exchange for lands further west, which ultimately led to the infamous Trail of Tears. Between 1831 and 1838 the Cherokee Nation together with the Choctaw, Seminole, Creek and Chickasaw were forced from their homelands in the Backcountry to distant Indian reservations.

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