Historians theorize that in 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto and his band of six hundred soldiers were the first civilized men to visit the area of Northwest Georgia that is now Floyd County. Searching for gold and pearls, DeSoto camped for about thirty days at Chiaha, the site where the Oostanaula and the Etowah Rivers meet to form the Coosa River. In the years that followed, the Cherokee Indians occupied the land they called "The Enchanted Land." Major Ridge, a prominent Cherokee leader, lived a log cabin on the banks of the Oostanaula that was later named Chieftains. Today Major Ridge's house is a museum with exhibits that range from Floyd County's Indian heritage to its current industrial growth. When gold was discovered in North Georgia in 1830, the Cherokees were moved to Oklahoma and their land given to white settlers by means of the Cherokee Land Lottery. Floyd County, GA AHGP
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