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HISTORIC ARTICLE

HISTORIC ARTICLE

May 28, 1830 CE: Indian Removal Act

May 28, 1830 CE: Indian Removal Act

On May 28, 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, beginning the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans in what became known as the Trail of Tears.

Grades

5 - 11

Subjects

Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, U.S. History

On March 28, 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, beginning the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans in what became known as the Trail of Tears. Not all members of Congress supported the Indian Removal Act. Tennessee Rep. Davey Crockett was a vocal opponent, for instance. Native Americans opposed removal from their ancestral lands, resulting in a long series of battles with local white settlers. But the forced relocation proved popular with voters. It freed more than 25 million acres of fertile, lucrative farmland to mostly white settlement in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. More than 46,000 Native Americans were forced—sometimes by the U.S. military—to abandon their homes and relocate to “Indian Territory” that eventually became the state of Oklahoma. More than 4,000 died on the journey—of disease, starvation, and exposure to extreme weather. Today, the Trail of Tears is a National Historic Trail stretching from Tennessee to Oklahoma. It specifically chronicles the removal of the Cherokee in 1838-1839, the largest contingent on the Trail of Tears.

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Writer
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Producer
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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