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air date: 12/05/12 1:00 AM
Appalachia was America's first frontier. The Appalachian mountains include the Alleghenies, the Cumberlands, the Blue Ridge and the Great Smokies. It is an ancient range, rugged and beautiful. For centuries, it was home to many Indian tribes, including Shawnee, Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee. In the 17th century, European explorers and traders came into Appalachia; they traded and intermarried with the Indians. By the 1740's, streams of immigrants left England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and Wales seeking a better life in the new world. The population in the mountains swelled and it was more difficult to share resources. The British, the Indians and settlers endured decades of combat on the Appalachian frontier, which marked the edge of British territory in the colonies. One of the dominant groups in the mountains was the Scotch-Irish. The early pioneers brought their folkways and their music from the old country. Mountain life was isolated, and traditional culture was preserved. The old ballads and fiddle tunes were greatly beloved, and handed down through generations. The men of Appalachia fought bravely in the American Revolution. Afterwards, they railed at taxes and regulations imposed by the new American government. They found comfort in religion, which was enlivened by a series of evangelical revivals in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Traditional music was mingled with the
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