Regular contacts between Europeans and the Cherokee began after 1650. Until that time, the Cherokee population totaled about 20,000 and occupied some sixty independent towns located in five regions. These were the Lower Towns set in South Carolina’s western foothills along the Keowee River, the Valley Towns across the first range of the Appalachians on the upper part of the Hiwassee River, the Middle Settlements situated due east of the Valley Towns along the Little Tennessee River, the Out Towns northeast of the Valley Towns, and seven Overhill Towns along the upper branches of the Little Tennessee. Although the total area occupied by the Cherokee in the mid-seventeenth century was only about 150 miles long and 40 to 50 miles wide, a sense of cohesiveness was absent. Cherokee life was town centered and in fact three dialects were spoken in these regions, suggesting little interaction among the groups of towns 1