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Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Rome is the largest city in and the county seat of Floyd County, Georgia, United States. It is the principal city of the Rome, Georgia, Metropolitan Statistical Area, population 96,250 (2009), which encompasses all of Floyd County. At the 2010 census, the city alone had a total population of 36,303. It is the largest city in Northwest Georgia and the 19th largest city in the state.
Rome was built at the confluence of the Etowah and the Oostanaula rivers, forming the Coosa River. It is on seven hills with the rivers running between them, a feature that inspired the early European-American settlers to name it for Rome, the capital of Italy. It developed as a market and trading city due to its advantageous location on the rivers, sending the cotton commodity crop downriver to the Gulf Coast.
It is the second largest city, after Gadsden, Alabama, near the center of the triangular area defined by the Interstate highways between Atlanta, Birmingham and Chattanooga. It has developed as a regional center in such areas as medical care and education. In addition to its public school system, there are several private schools. Higher-level institutions include private Berry College and Shorter University, and the public Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Georgia Highlands College.
In the late 1920s a United States company built a rayon plant in a joint project with an Italian company. This project and the American city of Rome were honored by Italy in 1929, when its dictator Benito Mussolini sent a replica of the statue of Romulus and Remus nursing from a mother wolf, a symbol of the founding myth of the original Rome.
Rome's 7 hills and 3 rivers
Location of Rome and major highways
Rome is located at the confluence of the Etowah and the Oostanaula rivers, whose merging forms the Coosa River. This gave it access to the waterways, the major transportation routes of the era. Because of this water feature, Rome developed as a regional trade center, based originally on King Cotton. As cotton plantations were developed in the area, Rome was an increasingly important market town, shipping the commodity downriver to other markets. It was designated as the county seat of Floyd County, Georgia.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.8 square miles (77 km2) of which 29.4 square miles (76 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) is water. The total area is 1.54% water.
The seven hills that inspired the name of Rome are known as Blossom, Jackson, Lumpkin, Mount Aventine, Myrtle, Old Shorter, and Neely hills. (The latter is also known as Tower or Clock Tower Hill). Some of the hills have been partially graded since Rome was founded.
Native American era
People of the Mississippian culture are known to have inhabited the area from about 1000 CE. These people are believed to have died off from disease brought by exposure to the Spaniards in the late 16th century. The Cherokee migrated into the Southeast and established themselves in the early 17th century.
Specifics before the Spanish expeditions in the 16th century are largely unknown, but archeologists have found evidence of thousands of years of indigenous cultures along these rivers.
Native American territories in the Southeastern area of North America in 1715. State outlines are from later times.
There is some debate over whether Hernando de Soto was the first Spanish conquistador to encounter Native Americans in the area now known as Rome, but it is usually agreed that he passed through the region with his expedition in 1540. In 1560, Tristán de Luna sent a detachment of 140 soldiers and two Dominican friars north along de Soto's route. They established relations with the Coosa chiefdom as they recorded assisting the Coosa in a raid against the rebellious province of Napochín, in what is now known as Tennessee. Exposed to new Eurasian infectious diseases, these mound builder peoples suffered high mortality rates, as they lacked immunity and within 20 years the community was abandoned. The Creek emerged in the area, one of the major Muscogee-speaking tribes.
The Abihka tribe of Creek in the area of Rome later became part of the Upper Creek. They merged with other Creek tribes to become the Ulibahalis, who later migrated westward into Alabama in the general region of Gadsden. By the mid-18th century, Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee had moved into the area and occupied it. They had moved down from areas of Tennessee, under pressure from settlement by European Americans migrating from eastern territories.
A Cherokee village named Chatuga was settled in this area during the late eighteenth century, in the period of the Chickamauga Wars during and after the American Revolutionary War. The Cherokee referred to this area as "Head of Coosa." Several Cherokee leaders settled here, developing plantations, including chiefs Major Ridge and John Ross. In the 20th century, Ridge's home here was preserved as Chieftains House. It has been adapted by the state for use as the Chieftains Museum and is used to represent the history of the Cherokee in this area, especially Major Ridge.
In the 18th century, a high demand in Europe for American deer skins had led to a brisk trade between Indian hunters and white traders, and as a result, a few white traders and some settlers (primarily from the British Colonies of Georgia and Carolina) were accepted by the Head of Coosa Cherokee. These were later joined by missionaries, and then more settlers. After the American War of Independence, most new settlers came from the area of Georgia east of the Proclamation Line of 1763.
1802 map of Georgia-Yazoo lands. The triangular section labeled "Assigned to Georgia 1802" was Cherokee land claimed as part of the Compact of 1802 between Georgia and the United States.
In 1793, in response to a Cherokee raid into Tennessee, John Sevier, the Governor of Tennessee, led a retaliatory raid against the Cherokee in the vicinity of Myrtle Hill, in what was known as the Battle of Hightower.
In 1802, the United States and Georgia executed the Compact of 1802, in which Georgia sold its claimed Western lands (a claim dating to the colonial era) to the United States. In return, the federal government agreed to ignore Cherokee land titles and remove all Cherokee from Georgia. The commitment to evict the Cherokee was not immediately enforced, and Chiefs John Ross and Major Ridge led efforts to stop their removal, including several Federal lawsuits.
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