Indian Removal Act Timeline
Timeline Description: The Indian Removal Act took Native Americans from their traditional lands, moving them westward in a brutal and horrifying journey and resettling them west of the Mississippi. Eventually, these actions led to the creation of reservations.

Date Event
November 28, 1785 Hopewell Treaty

Georgia officials and Cherokee Indians agree to the treaty that began the ultimate disposession of Indian land. The treaty, signed in Hopewell, GA, established boundaries for Cherokee hunting grounds and set limitations on culturally significant land.
1791 Holston Treaty

This treaty further set boundaries and eroded Cherokee land rights on non-hunting grounds. The language, including words like cede and relinquish, was particularly specific. Non-Cherokee were also granted rights to a road through Cherokee land.
1802 Compact of 1802

The Compact of 1802 was an agreement between the federal government and state government of Georgia. The federal government agreed to eliminate the Indian land title and to remove the Cherokees from the state. In return, Georgia ceded claims to specific western lands.
1805 Lotteries to Distribute Cherokee Lands(1805 to 1833)

Between 1805 and 1833, Georgia held some eight lotteries to distribute former Cherokee lands.
1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend

Andrew Jackson led a U.S. military action against the Creek peoples living in present-day Alabama. The Creeks were defeated and forced to sign a treaty surrendering much of their land.
1817 Treaty of Cherokee Agency

The goal of the Treaty of Cherokee Agency was to further divide the Cherokee people, and progressively continue the goal of taking Cherokee lands for the use of whites in the Georgia region.
1817 New Cherokee Government(1817 to 1827)

Between 1817 and 1827, the Cherokee developed a new government, in part in an attempt to resist the loss of lands. The new Cherokee government was based on the model of the United States.
March 3, 1819 Act Regarding the Civilization of the Indian Tribes

In theory, this act was designed to provide education and other services to Native Americans, encouraging them to take on white patterns of behavior and learning. While the intentions may have been rather benign, the end result was that that President had near-unlimited authority over native peoples.
1825 Monroe Announced Relocation of Indians

Monroe announced, in 1825, his belief that all Native Americans should be relocated to unsettled lands west of the Mississippi, freeing up lands on the east coast for white settlers.
May 6, 1828 Treaty of Washington

The Treaty of Washington provided incentives to Cherokee who moved west voluntarily, including compensation for lost property and provisions for the move and year following.
December 20, 1828 Georgia Stripped Cherokee of Rights

In December 1828, the state legislature of Georgia stripped the Cherokee of legal rights in an attempt to force them to leave the state.
May 28, 1830 Indian Removal Act

The Indian Removal Act authorized the government to negotiate the trade of lands east of the Mississippi for lands west of the Mississippi River. The government was to pay all costs associated with migration.
March 18, 1831 Cherokee Nation v. State of Georgia

The decision, by Chief Justice John Marshall in Cherokee Nation v. State of Georgia identified Native American tribes as dependent nations within the United States. They were, therefore, not afforded the protections of the Constitution.
1831 Choctaw Removal(1831 to 1832)

Between 1831 and 1832, the Choctaw were forcibly removed from their lands. They were marched westward, regardless of age or infirmity.
1833 Removal of Chickasaws and Creeks

The Chickasaw and Creeks were forcibly removed from their native lands, and marched westward in 1833. Conditions for the march were quite poor, with many people dying along the way.
1838 Trail of Tears Began

U.S. president Van Buren ordered the U.S. Army into the Cherokee Nation. The army rounded up as many Cherokees as possible into temporary stockades and then marched the captives, led by John Ross, to the Indian Territory.
1839 Cherokee Act of Union

In 1839, the Cherokee united, in an attempt to preserve their rights and work together, rather than remaining separate nations.
1851 Indian Appropriations Act

The Indian Appropriations Act consolidated Native Americans onto designated reservations, freeing up land for westward settlement and the development of the railroads.