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Cleveland is a city in Bradley County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 41,285 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat and largest city in Bradley County, and the principal city of the Cleveland, Tennessee metropolitan area (consisting of Bradley County and neighboring Polk County), which is included in the Chattanooga–Cleveland–Dalton, TN–GA–AL Combined Statistical Area. Cleveland is the fourteenth-largest city in Tennessee and the fifth-largest industrially, having thirteen Fortune 500 manufacturers.
Long before the time of European encounter, this area was part of a large territory occupied by the Cherokee Nation, which extended into the South to present-day western North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. During and after the American Revolutionary War, European Americans came into increasing conflict with the Cherokee by migrating west of the Appalachian Mountains and encroaching on Cherokee territory. The Cherokee had tolerated traders but resisted settlers who tried to take over their territory.
In 1819, the Cherokee Agency— the official liaison between the U.S. government and the Cherokee Nation— was moved to the Hiwassee area, a few miles north of what is now Cleveland. The Indian agent was Colonel Return J. Meigs. By the 1830s, white settlers had begun to move rapidly into the area in anticipation of the Cherokee Removal, which began with the Treaty of New Echota in December 1835. Several sites in Bradley County, including Fort Cass in Charleston, Rattlesnake Springs, and Red Clay State Park, as well as Blythe Ferry, about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Cleveland in Meigs County, were important sites during the Cherokee Removal.
The legislative act on February 10, 1836 that created Bradley County, which was named for Colonel Edward Bradley of Shelby County, Tennessee, authorized the establishment of a county seat, which was to be named "Cleveland" after Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, a commander at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolution.
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