New Echota was the name the villagers of the Cherokee Nation adopted when they renamed the town of Newtown and made it their capital on November 12, 1825. The Cherokee?s National Council wanted to throw away their traditional clan system of rule and adopted a government similar to that of the United States and agreed to name their new Capital after Chota, a beloved town situated in present-day Tennessee, which was also the former Capital of the Overhill Cherokee. With the establishment of a new government system, the Cherokee Council built a two-story Council House, a Supreme Court, and later the office (Printer Shop) of the first Native American newspaper written in English and Cherokee, the Cherokee Phoenix.
Five years later, the town of New Echota?s population grew to 50 and its community had been developed by constructing a main street that is 60 feet wide and a town square that is two acre in size. With only a few people dwelling in the town, it was tranquil most of the years except when council meetings are being held when hundreds of Cherokees would gather here, arriving by foot on horseback or in elegant carriages.
However, the town only lived for 10 years. Because of the Georgia's Sixth Land Lottery (an early nineteenth century system of land distribution in Georgia), the Cherokee land was given away to Anglo-American settlers but the Cherokees refused to yield their land that led to Georgia Guard conducting a form of vigilante justice against the Cherokee. Because of fear, Cherokees slowly moved out of New Echota and started holding their meetings elsewhere that by 1835 only a few people were left and the printing press and type were destroyed. And by 1838, the Cherokees were forcefully removed from the State of Georgia.
Since then the town has been silent and was abandoned for almost a century. However, in the early 1900s the now Department of Defense acquired some of the land the Cherokees once occupied. In 1930 the Congress approved a creation of a memorial to Cherokee and was completed near the town center in 1931. In 1933 the National Park Service took over the land. In March 1954, excavations were done to discover the history and culture of the Cherokees and because of the archeological findings the town of New Echota was ordered, on March 13, 1957, to be reconstructed as a Georgia State Park. The Council House, the Supreme Court, the office of the Cherokee Phoenix, a common Cherokee cabin (representing a home of an average Cherokee family) and a Middle-Class Cherokee home were rebuilt and the New Echota Historical Park was opened to the public in 1962. In 1969, a small museum was added and over the years, several changes were made to the historic park. In 1973, the site was turned over to the Department of Natural Resources that continues to operate and maintain the park. Today, New Echota is listed as a National Historic Landmark.