Timeline Description: Following the Indian Removal Act of 1830, many members of the "five civilized tribes" did not wish to assimilate. Those members of the Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw were forced to relocate in Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. Those who stayed were allowed citizenship, and those who left faced disease, starvation, and exposure to the unforgiving elements.
|1830||Autonomous tribes were living in the Deep South
The Indian Removal act forced them to assimilate into the laws of the settlers. Those who refused were forced northwest by means of the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory (later known as Oklahoma).
|1831||The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek(1831-1833)
Choctaw from Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana were forced to travel to Oklahoma in below freezing temperatures and flooding. Almost six thousand perished along the trail, while only five thousand remained in their native territory, subject to legal conflicts, harassment, and abuse.
Seminole Indians were instructed to settle with the Creek reservation and assimilate into their tribe. However, the Muscogee Creek considered them deserters. The Seminoles resisted peacefully.
|December 28, 1835||Dade Massacre
A group of African-Americans joined the Seminole in an ambush against the U.S. Army and physically battled relocation. Sugar plantations were demolished, and many Seminole were forcibly displaced to take their trail west of the Mississippi. As a result, the Seminole were the only tribe federally known for never renouncing sovereignty.
|December 29, 1835||The Treaty of New Echota
Cherokee land was taken and they were given five million dollars and a reservation in Oklahoma. The Cherokee never saw the money. It was spent on public facilities in the land they were removed from to "grind their corn."
|July 4, 1837||Chickasaw monetary removal
After paying the Choctaws $530,000 for a segment of their land, the Chickasaws gathered with all of their belongings in Memphis and traveled their Trail of Tears route to Indian Territory to merge with Choctaw nation.
|February, 1838||Peaceful petitioning was done
The Cherokee tried to speak with congress to protest the Treaty of New Echota. Congress did not listen and troops were ordered to begin roundup of the Cherokee.
|May, 1838.||Cherokee roundup began
Forced into concentration camps full of disease and starvation, Cherokee Indians that were not bought as slaves were held until the first wave of Cherokee was sent on the Trail of Tears.
|1838||Cherokee forced to relocate
Forcibly remove from their southeastern U.S. land to Oklahoma, over 5,000 of the already small Cherokee tribe died on the trail. Cherokee named the trail "Nu na da ul tsun yi," or "the place where they cried." After 13,000 Cherokee were placed in concentration camps where they faced starvation, cold, and diseases, their property was destroyed and they were sent to Indian Territory.
|December 1838||The last group of Cherokee took to the trail
In the winter, the Cherokee began marching the one thousand miles on foot with no shoes and light clothing. They started from Red Clay, Tennessee. They were not allowed to stop in any towns due to the possibility of passing on diseases. They were charged to cross the river on Berry's Ferry. The Ferry was normally twelve cents, but the Cherokee were forced to pay a dollar.
|January, 1839||The Ross party arrives in Indian Territory
The first overland group of Cherokee arrives in Oklahoma. A riverboat brings many sick and injured Cherokee, along with Chief Ross.
|March, 1839||The last group arrived in Oklahoma
The one thousand mile journey had been completed by the last group of Cherokee and they began to rebuild houses, clear out land for planting, and build their nation in Indian Territory.
|July 12, 1839||The Cherokee Act of Union
Eastern and western Cherokee nations were joined by the Act of Union. Also, the Cherokee party attempted to negotiate with the native Sequoyah.
|September 6, 1839||The capital city of Tahlequah was established as capital of the Cherokee nation with the adoption of the Cherokee constitution.
The Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole tribes were forced off their land as westward expansion of European settlers was carried out. Although the Trail of Tears is predominantly known as a Cherokee historical event, the other four tribes were forced along the trail as well, with each of them taking a different route from their native land to Indian Territory, which later became the state of Oklahoma.