Removal of the Cherokee Nation, 1802-1835:
A Collection of Primary Documents
" In a short period, the idea of an Indian on this side of the Mississippi will only be found in the page of the historian."
-- Henry Knox to George Washington, 7 July 1789
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The Treaty of New Echota, signed on December 29, 1835, officially removed the Cherokee nation west of the Mississippi river. In 1838, the year stipulated for removal, 17,000 Cherokee embarked on an 800-mile journey west. Hardship (illness, exposure, starvation) during the exodus cost approximately 8,000 Cherokee their lives. For this reason, the route taken by the Cherokee nation became known as the "Trail of Tears." The removal of the Cherokee nation represents a monumental tragedy in the history of America. The Cherokee, however, were not removed easily. In 1802, Georgia initiated efforts to gain title to Cherokee land within the state. The actions of Georgia in the thirty years prior to the Treaty of New Echota initially prompted and ultimately forced the Federal government to commit absolutely to a policy of removal of the Cherokee Nation.
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