United States - The Native American Purge

Though native tribes and settlers had been involved in conflicts since Europeans began colonizing North America, it wasn't until the 1800's and the massive westward expansion that the tribes and the government of the United States came into real conflict. In 1830, President Jackson signs into law the Indian Removal Act, which allows the government to exchange Indian land east of the Mississippi River for land west of it. These exchanges were intended to be voluntary, but most occured under intense pressure from the government. Nearly 100,000 natives were relocated under this act. One treaty signed under the act was the treaty of New Echota. The treaty was supposedly between the government and the Cherokee people, but was actually negotiated and signed by rivals of the Cherokee leadership. President Jackson ordered the military to forcibly remove the Cherokee, in what is known as the Trail of Tears, an estimated 4000 Cherokee died in the camps and on the trail to the west. As the United States continued expanding westward, the new land given to the natives was now needed again, and many natives were forced out or killed in skirmishes and massacres by settlers and the military. Eventually, Native Americans were rounded up and sent to reservations, land set aside for them by the government.

Estimates are difficult to come by, but the population of Native Americans in North America dropped from 600,000 in 1800 to less than 250,000 in 1890 in this atrocity.

Trail of Tears
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