This week’s #MarkerMonday examines a Brasstown Bald historical marker in Towns County. Brasstown Bald is the highest mountain in Georgia sitting at 4,784 feet above sea level. The name Brasstown comes from a misinterpretation of the Cherokee name, ltse’yi, meaning “a place of fresh green.” White settlers mistook ltse’yi for Untsaiyi, meaning “brass” and they knew of a settlement named Brasstown on the Hiwassee River, so the mountain became known as Brasstown. The name Bald derives from the naturally clear mountaintop, offering unobstructed views of the four surrounding states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Brasstown Bald is within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest and part of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain of the Appalachian Mountains. It is unclear who named the Appalachian Mountains; some accounts credit Hernando de Soto, René Goulaine de Laudonnière, or Alvar Núnez Cabeza de Vaca, but it is likely the term originated from the area’s native inhabitants. The Apalachee Indians living in the region around today’s Tallahassee, Florida, met the Spanish expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez¬, including de Vaca, in 1528, and Hernando de Soto eleven years later. The conquistadors were told the gold they wanted could be found in Apalachee. However, the first written occurrence of “Apalchen” in relation to the mountains was on a map drawn by Diego Gutiérrez and published in 1562.
Americae Sive Qvartae Orbis Partis Nova Et Exactissima Descriptio, drawn by Diego Gutiérrez, not only maps the Appalachian Mountain region, but it also depicts the west coast of Europe and Africa, eastern United States and Canada, Mexico, and South America. Gutierrez also places the first occurrence of the name “California” on a map. The details display cultures found in South America, lost ships, and creatures such as mermaids and flying fish.
Explore the links below to learn more:
Related Marker Text – Brasstown Bald