A sequoia is a giant conifer. Of its several varieties, the redwood tree is especially well-known. These trees are the tallest living things on earth. The term sequoia was taken from the name of the Cherokee Indian who devised the Cherokee syllabic alphabet.
   Sequoyah (known in English as Sequoia) lived with the Cherokee tribe in Tennessee. He was the son of a white trader named Nathaniel Gist and a Cherokee woman related to a legendary warrior, King Oconostota. Sequoyah's English name from his father was George Guess, a slight change from Gist. The word sequoyah means "guessed it." Sequoyah became a silversmith and enjoyed singing and athletics. One day while hunting, he had an accident that crippled him for life. Restricted from many of his usual activities, Sequoyah looked into something that had bothered him for a long while, the "talking leaf." Sequoyah and other Indians could not understand how white people could look at paper and read. He decided that the secret of writing, this "talking leaf," was in sounds. After twelve years of work (1809—1821), and carefully noting the sounds uttered by the Cherokees, he came up with eighty-six characters representing all the sounds spoken. This alphabet—really a syllabary—enabled the Cherokees to publish in their own language.
   The Indian chiefs were not easily convinced that the alphabet had merit and were reluctant to adopt it. The turning point came when the chiefs devised a test by having Sequoyah write a secret message on a piece of paper. They then handed the paper to Sequoyah's little daughter, who proceeded to read aloud what had been written. The chiefs were amazed, and the Cherokee written language was born. When Sequoyah was in his seventies, he learned that some Cherokees lived in New Mexico. He set out with a small group to find the legendary lost band of Cherokees. Whether he located his tribal Indians is not known. He died in, Mexico shortly after he began his search in 1843. Sequoyah was immortalized in 1847 by having a giant conifer named for him, the sequoia, by the Hungarian botanist Stephen Endlicher (1804-1891).

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sequoia — Séquoia Pour les articles homonymes, voir Séquoia (homonymie). Nom vernaculaire ou nom normalisé ambigu : Le terme « Séquoia » s applique, en français, à plusieurs taxons distincts …   Wikipédia en Français

  • séquoia — [ sekɔja ] n. m. • 1870; lat. bot. sequoia (1847), du nom d un célèbre chef indien See Quayah ♦ Conifère (taxodiacées) originaire de Californie, remarquable par sa longévité et sa hauteur (jusqu à 150 mètres). ⇒ wellingtonia. Une forêt de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sequoia — steht für: Sequoyah, der Erfinder der Cherokee Schrift Küstenmammutbaum (Sequoia sempervirens), die einzige Art der Gattung Sequoia Riesenmammutbaum (Sequoiadendron giganteum), die einzige Art der Gattung Sequoiadendron Sequoia Capital, US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sequoia — s.m. Arbore gigant din California care poate atinge înălţimea de 150 m, circumferinţa de peste 40 m şi vârsta de 5000 de ani (Sequoia gigantea). [pr.: – cvó ia] – cuv. lat. Trimis de claudia, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  SEQUÓIA s. (bot.; Sequoia… …   Dicționar Român

  • Sequoia — Se*quoi a, n. [NL. So called by Dr. Endlicher in honor of Sequoyah, who invented the Cherokee alphabet.] (Bot.) A genus of coniferous trees, consisting of two species, {Sequoia Washingtoniana}, syn. {S. gigantea}, the big tree of California, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sequóia — s. f. [Botânica] Conífera da Califórnia que atinge 140 m de altura e pode viver mais de 2 000 anos. = WELLINGTÔNIA   ‣ Etimologia: [George Gist] Sequoyah, antropônimo [índio americano criador do alfabeto cherokee]   ♦ Grafia de sequoia antes do… …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Sequoia — Sequoĭa Endl., Pflanzengattg. der Nadelhölzer, mit zwei kaliforn. Arten. S. gigantĕa Endl. (Wellingtonĭa gigantĕa Lindl., Washingtonĭa gigantĕa Winsl., Mammutbaum [Abb. 1726; a Zweig mit Zapfen]) erreicht riesige Höhe und Dicke (der »Vater des… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • sequoia — f. Variante ortográfica de «secuoya» (árbol taxodiáceo). * * * ► femenino BOTÁNICA Secuoya …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sequoia — → secuoya …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • sequoia — large American coniferous tree, 1866, from Mod.L., tree genus name given by Endlicher (1847), in honor of Sequoya (1760 1843), Cherokee man who invented a system of writing for his people s language, whose name is from Cherokee (Iroquoian)… …   Etymology dictionary

  • sequoia — |ói| s. f. [Botânica] Conífera da Califórnia que atinge 140 m de altura e pode viver mais de 2 000 anos. = WELLINGTÔNIA   ‣ Etimologia: [George Gist] Sequoyah, antropônimo [índio americano criador do alfabeto cherokee] …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

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