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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.11.

Primary culture
Cherokee (Iroquoian)

Capital province
Cheraw (936)

Native CouncilGovernment tribal.png

State religion

Technology group
North AmericanNorth American technology group
Ideas and traditions
Traditions.png Traditions:
Advisor cost.png -10% Advisor costs
Enemy core creation.png +25% Hostile core-creation cost

Build cost.png Moundbuilders Legacy

-15% Build cost

Stability cost modifier.png Massacre of the Ani-Kutani

-10% Stability cost modifier

National manpower modifier.png Red Chiefs

+20% National manpower modifier

Idea cost.png Cherokee Adaptability

-10% Idea cost

Morale of armies.png Ghigau

+10% Morale of armies

Defensiveness.png Mountainous Isolation

+10% Fort defense

Diplomat.png Cherokee Emperor

+1 Diplomat

Idea bonus.png Ambitions:

Technology cost.png -10% Technology cost

The Cherokee are a Native American tribe that resides in Eastern North America, on a region historically known as the Thirteen Colonies. In 1444, it borders the Shawnee Shawnee to the north, the Choctaw Choctaw and the Creek Creek to the south and the Powhatan Powhatan, a migrating tribe, to the east.

They are also the country in question for the No Trail of Tears achievement.

Its national ideas are geared towards turning the country into an efficient, innovative and militaristic power that can compete with western countries.


The strategy for playing the Cherokee nation is somewhat similar to what one would expect from any North American native group. With the Cherokee, however, the player's goals may be more pronounced due to the desire to complete the No Trail of Tears achievement. Thus the ultimate goal is to colonize and own all of Eastern United States from the Georgia region up through Ohio Valley and New Hampshire/Vermont area.

Early-game: first 50 years

Your most immediate goal is rapid expansion. Due to the myopic nature of tribal federations in the New World, it may seem somewhat difficult to begin a war. Your bet is to ally with the most powerful somewhat distant nations possible while simultaneously rivaling nearby major nations such as Chickasaw and Choctaw. While preparing for war and building up troops, it may also be wise to build a few taxation buildings so the player does not go in debt during initial wars. Unless you are very lucky and have acquired a war mission, it's very likely that you will need to take a stability hit in order to war. Keep in mind that rivaling OPMs that get near the player is likely to result in war/acquisition missions, so these are often easy early pick-ups. When warring, it is generally a better idea to vassalize as opposed to full-annexation due to the high necessity of admin points early on—it is absolutely necessary to get to admin level 4 asap for exploration ideas.

As far as tribal ideas are concerned, obviously your ultimate goal is to get all of them. The most immediate goals, however, are the colonist diplomacy idea and the reduced tech cost admin idea. Once you have reduced admin tech cost, it's probably wiser to rush tech level 4 so you can get exploration ideas going. This means buying the most expensive advisers you can afford, with preference to admin and diplo.

Preparing for Europe

The next phase of tribal expansion can end as quickly as 1500-1550 or last as long as 1600, depending on what's happening in Europe. If Iberian and/or British powers have been compromised, you'll have a much easier go of it. That said, this is not likely and is not something you should depend on. Your main goal in this phase is to continue conquering/vassalizing anything and everything. It may be tempting after a certain point to believe that you are powerful enough to not have to worry about tribal coalitions and alliances, but this is simply not the case. Manpower goes incredibly fast, and what seems like a big army can disappear rather quickly. In extended conflicts, make liberal use of mercenaries, and don't forget that you can fire your high-level advisers if you need to fix an income deficit.

As far as colonial expansion is concerned, it may seem very tempting to colonize along the coast. Here's the problem with that: when Europe comes, they want colonies. If you own the entire East Coast, you are now a target. This doesn't mean don't do it, it just means be careful. If you spread too far toward the Southwest region, Portugal or Castile/Spain may get involved. This is a war you cannot win, and it is a war that will begin anew every time your truce expires. England is less likely to attack, and thus they are the more obvious choice for Westernization. England generally lands around Acadia region. It may seem somewhat of a stretch to get up there from Georgia area, but if you colonize one or two coastal areas, you can jump around any other coastal nations so long as you have the colonial range to do so.

As already stated, however, too much coastal expansion can be dangerous. You need to have massive reserves of provinces far enough inland that most of your nation will appear as Terra Incognita to EU countries. It is also extremely wise to move your capital as far inland as possible (Iowa region is a safe bet) to avoid massive warscore loss if you are attacked.

By the time Europe arrives, you will hopefully have at least half of your Exploration ideas completed, allowing you to continue expansion quickly.


This can go really easily, or it can be hellishly difficult. Your first step is of course to reform your government. This will give you a massive tech boost and a bunch of new idea groups. While it may seem tempting to immediately invest your points into these idea groups, it may be wiser to save excess points to rapidly tech upon beginning westernization. The first thing you'll notice upon reformation is that your gold values suddenly drop drastically. Replace your level-3 advisers with level-1 advisers to stave off gold loss. Build a few constables in your high-value regions and temples everywhere else if you have excess reserves of gold, which you probably should have. Basically, you need to stabilize your economy before you begin westernization.

As far as idea groups are concerned, it's really a rather wide-open field at this point. Innovative is a wise choice if you want to rapidly catch up on techs when finishing westernization, but economic is also very tempting due to a decreased building cost that compounds with your Cherokee ideas. As far as military ideas are concerned, Defensive and Quality are both excellent choices. Offensive is all right, but the main draw of Offensive as opposed to Defensive is forcelimit. If you've expanded enough, however, this should not be an issue, and your points are better spent increasing the overall power of the troops you do have.

When you are ready, begin westernization. As stated previously, this can be very easy or very difficult. A wise choice is to wait until your manpower reserves are maxed and your coffers are full of ducats. You should probably split your army into 2-3 groups, depending on how many troops you have. Because of the vastness of American region, you are going to have a lot of trouble rushing one big army to deal with the many rebellions you'll likely have. When you've begun westernization, it is very likely you will get a choice to convert to Catholic. The big pro of conversion is that if you are Catholic, European nations probably will be more hesitant to mess with you. The big con is...well...see that filled-up manpower reserve? Take a screenshot because you're not going to see that number again for a long, long time.

Another thing that may happen during Westernization is war. If war begins, it's not the end of the world. Basically avoid high-attrition battles because you are going to lose the attrition war. Make the wars last as long as possible while avoiding War-exhaustion build-up. Eventually, European nations will either get tired of fighting or get involved in another war, and you can negotiate a low-cost peace. Oh, and they're also going to have to deal with your rebellions—especially if you turned Catholic. If you've moved your capital inland as previously suggested, you'll be perfectly fine.

    • Special notes for turning Catholic. Yeah, this is pretty horrible. Hello rebellions everywhere. Basically, start converting as quickly as possible. Thankfully, it's super-easy to convert your provinces, so you've got that going for you. Start in one area (preferably areas far away from European nations) and convert your way across the country. If one entire area is converted, the chance of rebellion in that particular area is gone. The reason you want to start far from European nations is because if they attack you, your rebels are your first line of defense.


Generic text about continuing on whatever personal goals you have set for yourself. Each game is different, but here are a few steps to follow: 1) Tech up your military. Other techs are nice too, but especially military. 2) Don't be afraid of colonial nations, especially when they're involved in other wars. Sure, their parent-country likely has lots of troops. But they have European concerns too, and if they seriously cart all their troops over to America, other nations will notice. How did George Washington win the Revolutionary War? Simple: He minimized his losses, maximized his victories, and took full advantage of the fact that it took a few months before mainland Britain could react to his maneuvers and decisions. 3) Build a navy. Yeah, your boats aren't as cool as your neighbor's boats, but this is 'Murica and just having a boat is enough to prove your worth. When you get higher diplo level, you buy better boats. It's as simple as that. 4) If you want to aim for overseas ambitions, aim at controlling your region first. This means go for the Caribbean. The islands are so full of riches, and if you can grab a few or all of them, it's going to be much easier to cart your men over to the Old World. 5) Become Holy Roman Emperor. Ok, not really. But if you can do that, respect points will be given.

Addendum for 1.7.3[edit]

There are a number of notable differences in the current (1.7.3) version of the game that need to be taken into account with the above strategy:

Initial Expansion[edit]

Whenever possible, make a federation with another minor nation yourself as this gives you a morale bonus in combat which can win you wars early on when fighting multiple opponents. Groups of native nations tend to accept each other's culture as they are in the same culture groups, so you can vassalise one nation and then annex the others, selling the annexed territory to your new vassal (same religion and accepted culture is ok). Coring time is low because of the low base tax.


It is not possible to see what native advancements other nations have, however, after 15–20 years many of them will have taken the native colonist idea but will not use it. To encourage them to use this you can give them a subsidy of at least 8-9 ducats for one or two months, they will then begin colonisation of a neighbouring province; you are free to cancel the subsidy once they have sent their colonist. If you choose to do this, you can help even non-allied or vassal nations and have a lot of the N.American territory colonised by the native nations before Europeans arrive. Bear in mind it is not advisable to encourage a nation to expand beyond 5 or 6 provinces if you intend to vassalise or annex them before you westernise as you will potentially need >100% warscore.

If you are going for the 'No trail of tears' achievement, you can colonise all the necessary provinces yourself that are coastal and leave the inland ones alone until later to make sure you have all the strategic provinces to keep yourself secure, and prevent a European nation snatching one of them unexpectedly. The most difficult ones to reach initially are the NE ones such as Kennebec.

It is not essential to rush admin 4 to get exploration if you encourage native colonisation as you can take this and fill it out when you reform, as you will lose the native colonist at this point anyway.


If you take the path of keeping 3-4 vassals and selling them your provinces to keep yourself no larger than 10 provinces then you will have everything Cherokee culture. If you are much bigger than it is important to culture convert to avoid the added national unrest when you westernise. You will have very little to spend your dip points on once you have the native ideas completed, and possibly exploration filled out.

Reform and Westernisation[edit]

This can make or break your game so it is important to be prepared.

If possible do not reform until the nation you will reform from has at least 12 admin tech, as you will jump to tech 10 and have access to 3 idea groups which you can easily fill out with the excess points you have stored. Once you've reformed, you can wait until you have around 1500 admin points and 1500 mil points before you westernise. This can be around 1510 or as late as 1540.

At some point during westernisation you will get the choice to convert to Catholic or Protestant (possibly reformed although unlikely), depending on who borders you. If you took religious ideas and have 2 missionaries, you can convert then cancel westernisation if you have started early, then work on converting your provinces and westernise again. This will avoid the extra unrest from religious rebels which can be a game-breaker if you are big and unlucky with -stab events. If you stayed small you can convert and westernise simultaneously.

Forum discussion here: Playing Cherokee:is luck a big factor?

Relevant Reddit here:

Country guides
Western technology group Western.png United States of America.png USA
Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican.png Aztec.png Aztec Maya.png Maya
North American technology group North American.png Cherokee.png Cherokee Creek.png Creek Huron.png Huron Iroquois.png Iroquois
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Ethiopia.png EthiopiaThe Mamluks.png The MamluksTunis.png Tunis
Indian technology group Indian.png Mutapa.png Mutapa
Sub-Saharan technology group Sub-Saharan.png Kongo.png Kongo Mali.png Mali Mossi.png Mossi
Eastern technology group Eastern.png Jerusalem.png Jerusalem
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Arabia.png Arabia Hejaz.png Hejaz Khiva.png Khiva Mughals.png Mughals Oman.png Oman Persia.png Persia Shammar.png Shammar
Indian technology group Indian.png Assam.png Assam Bahmanis.png Bahmanis Bengal.png Bengal Ceylon.png Ceylon Gujarat.png Gujarat Jaunpur.png Jaunpur Nepal.png Nepal Orissa.png Orissa Vijayanagar.png Vijayanagar
Chinese technology group Chinese.png Ayutthaya.png Ayutthaya Bali.png Bali Brunei.png Brunei Dai Viet.png Dai Viet Japan.png Japan Khmer.png Khmer Korea.png Korea Lan Xang.png Lan Xang Malaya.png Malaya Ming.png Ming Qing.png Qing Ryukyu.png Ryukyu Sulu.png Sulu Sunda.png Sunda
Nomad technology group Nomad.png Manchu.png Manchu Timurids.png Timurids Uzbek.png Uzbek
Andean technology group Andean.png Muisca.png Muisca
South American technology group South American.png Charrua.png Charrua Guarani.png Guarani