Global Encyclopedia of Territorial Rights

Living Edition
| Editors: Michael Kocsis

Destruction by Territorial Expulsion: The Cherokee Removal

Living reference work entry



From May 16, 1836, to June 1, 1839, the state of Georgia forcibly removed Native Americans, including the Cherokees, from their ancestral homeland in the Southeastern states to “Indian Territory” west of the Mississippi River, now the state of Oklahoma.


The Cherokee Nation is the largest of the Five Civilized Tribes (the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole). Prior to European contact, the Cherokees inhabited much of the Southern part of the United States: the Ohio River to Atlanta, Georgia; Virginia across to Tennessee; and Kentucky and Alabama to the Illinois River (Thornton 1984). However, by the mid-1830s, Cherokee territory only consisted of the area where Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama converge (Thornton 1984). The Cherokees’ original 124,000 square mile territory was reduced to 17,000 square miles (Anderson 1991). While the appropriation of Cherokee...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political StudiesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lavonna L. Lovern
    • 1
  1. 1.Valdosta State UniversityValdostaUSA