Tanasi (also spelled Tanase, Tenasi, Tenassee, Tunissee, and other such variations) is a historic Overhill Cherokee village site in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The village is best known as the namesake for the state of Tennessee. Although now submerged by the Tellico Lake impoundment of the Little Tennessee River, Tanasi served as the de facto capital of the Cherokee from as early as 1721 until 1730, when the capital shifted to Great Tellico.

The town of Chota developed immediately north of Tanasi (the two sites were divided by an unnamed stream) and by the 1740s had become the more prominent of the two towns. Although Chota and Tanasi had distinct political, social, and demographic traits, excavators in the late 1960s determined that the two towns are archaeologically indistinguishable.[1] The two towns are grouped as a single listing on the National Register of Historic Places, although Tanasi was given its own site designation (40MR62) in 1972.[2]

In the 1980s, the Tennessee Valley Authority placed a monument on the shoreline above the submerged site of Tanasi that commemorates its history and its legacy as the origin of the name Tennessee. This monument is approximately 12 miles (19 km) south of Vonore, just off Hwy. 455 (Citico Road). The site is managed by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.



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