Tahlequah ( TAL-ə-kwah; Cherokee: ᏓᎵᏆ) is a city in Cherokee County, Oklahoma, United States located at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is part of the Green Country region of Oklahoma and was established as a capital of the 19th-century Cherokee Nation in 1839, as part of the new settlement in Indian Territory after the Cherokee Native Americans were forced west from the American Southeast on the Trail of Tears.
The city's population was 15,753 at the 2010 census, an increase of 8.96 percent from 14,458 at the 2000 census. The 2019 estimated population is 16,819.
Tahlequah is the capital of the two federally recognized Cherokee tribes based in Oklahoma, the modern Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. Tahlequah is also the county seat of Cherokee County. The main campus of Northeastern State University is located in the city.
By 1842, Tahlequah was a growing community and already had four stores. The townsite of 160 acres was surveyed in 1843, and in the same year an intertribal council attracted ten thousand participants representing 21 different tribes. In 1844 the National Hotel was built, and the newspaper Cherokee Advocate issued its first edition using a printing press installed in the brand-new Supreme Court building. The first school opened in 1845, and the Tahlequah post office opened in 1847.