They were not allowed time to gather their belongings, and as they left, whites looted their homes. Then began the march known as the Trail of Tears, in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.
At Least 3,000 Native Americans Died on the Trail of Tears. Check out seven facts about this infamous chapter in American history. Cherokee Indians are forced from their homelands during the 1830’s.
Estimates based on tribal and military records suggest that approximately 100,000 indigenous people were forced from their homes during that period, which is sometimes known as the removal era, and that some 15,000 died during the journey west.
When the Europeans arrived, carrying germs which thrived in dense, semi-urban populations, the indigenous people of the Americas were effectively doomed. They had never experienced smallpox, measles or flu before, and the viruses tore through the continent, killing an estimated 90% of Native Americans.
As many as 4,000 died of disease, starvation and exposure during their detention and forced migration through nine states that became known as the “Trail of Tears.”
European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passes through the present-day states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Due to the trail’s length, you may decide to travel its entirety or just one or two sites.
By 1836, a removal treaty, contested within the Cherokee nation, had been signed by The Ridge and westward exodus had begun. General Winfield Scott sped the removal along as well as put many Indians into stockades along the way. The Trail of Tears found its end in Oklahoma.
A Trail of 4,000 Tears.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal of the Cherokee and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward. Today the trail encompasses about 2,200 miles of land and water routes, and traverses portions of nine states.
War and violence. While epidemic disease was by far the leading cause of the population decline of the American indigenous peoples after 1492, there were other contributing factors, all of them related to European contact and colonization. One of these factors was warfare.
By combining all published estimates from populations throughout the Americas, we find a probable Indigenous population of 60 million in 1492.
The People. In 1492 the native population of North America north of the Rio Grande was seven million to ten million. These people grouped themselves into approximately six hundred tribes and spoke diverse dialects. European colonists initially encountered Native Americans in three distinct regions.
Cherokees Forced Along Trail of Tears A considerable force of the U.S. Army—more than 7,000 men—was ordered by President Martin Van Buren, who followed Jackson in office, to remove the Cherokees. General Winfield Scott commanded the operation, which became notorious for the cruelty shown to the Cherokee people.
Then, they marched the Indians more than 1,200 miles to Indian Territory. Whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation were epidemic along the way, and historians estimate that more than 5,000 Cherokee died as a result of the journey.
In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the “Trail of Tears,” because of its devastating effects.