How Did the Trail of Tears Get Its Name and Where Was Indian Territory Located?

Americans have been a people on the move since the nation’s beginnings.

But as European settlers moved in, Native Americans lost out.

The population of Native Americans was between 5 million and 10 million when English colonists first landed in the 1600s, but by 1900 fewer than 250,000 Native Americans were left.

Many died from disease, they had little immunity to European infections, and in fights with settlers.

In the late 1830s, the U.S. government moved about 17,000 Cherokees from their homelands in the southeastern United States to the Indian Territory, in what is now Oklahoma.

The road they traveled became known as the Trail of Tears because 4,000 died while making the journey.

Today the National Park Service administers the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.