Davidson County is the oldest county in Middle Tennessee. It dates to 1783, when the North Carolina legislature created the county and named it in honor of William L. Davidson, a North Carolina officer who died in the Revolutionary War on January 1, 1782. The county seat, Nashville, is also the oldest permanent white settlement in Middle Tennessee, founded by James Robertson and John Donelson during the winter of 1779-80. The initial white settlers established the Cumberland Compact in order to establish a basic rule of law and to protect their land titles. Through much of the early 1780s the settlers also faced a hostile response from Native American tribes. As the county's many known archaeological sites attest, the resources of Davidson County had attracted Native Americans for centuries. In fact, the first whites to encounter the area were fur traders, then long hunters, who came to a large salt lick, known as French Lick, in present-day Nashville to trade with Native Americans and to hunt the abundant game.