Copyright 2007 by Dale Cox
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The Trail of Tears
ExploreSouthernHistory.com
American Tragedy: The Trail of Tears
During the 1830s and 1840s, the United States government forced
tens of thousands of Native Americans from the Cherokee, Choctaw,
Chickasaw, Creek (Muskogee) and Seminole Nations from their
lands east of the Mississippi River. The Trail of Tears was the
largest forced migration in American history and resulted in the
deaths of thousands of men, women and children.

The name "Trail of Tears" actually refers to the Native American
removal as a whole more than it does to a single path or route.
There were, in fact, many different routes used by Native American
people as they made their way west from Tennessee, Georgia,
Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. Each nation followed several
different paths during the forced migration. Some nations, like the
Choctaw and Chickasaw, more or less accepted the inevitability of
their situations and moved west with little resistance. Many of the
Cherokee, on the other hand, were forced from their homes at
bayonet point and driven into holding pens by U.S. soldiers. The
Creeks and Seminoles fought the army and much of Alabama,
Georgia and Florida was plunged into bloody warfare.

In the end, one of the greatest tragedies in the history of the North
American continent was enacted. Tens of thousands of people were
torn from their homes, lands and the graves of their ancestors and
driven west for hundreds of miles through brutal conditions.
Thousands died along their way and their bones still remain
scattered along the routes they followed.

To begin your exploration of historic sites associated with the Trail of
Tears, please follow the links below. If you have questions, please
feel free to email us by clicking the "Contact Us" button at the top of
this page. We will do our best to obtain answers for you.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
An ongoing effort is underway to mark the primary
westward routes used by Native Americans during
their forced migration to Oklahoma.
Trail of Tears Overlook
The Trail of Tears Overlook at Fort Smith National
Historic Site in Arkansas looks across the Arkansas
River to the former Indian Territory.
The Creek (Muskogee) Trail of Tears
The westward trail of the Creek or Muskogee Nation
began here at Fort Mitchell in today's Russell
County, Alabama.
Creek (Muskogee) Trail of Tears: