The Trail of Tears was the journey of the eastern Cherokees to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) during the Indian Removal of 1838. By the treaty of New Echota, signed by a minority of the tribe in 1835, the Cherokees were to surrender their lands in Georgia and move west of the Mississippi River to the Indian country. The majority bitterly opposed the plan and refused to leave until troops under Gen. Winfield Scott forced them into concentration camps. From here, they were later release and detachments sent out on the journey.
In October and November, 1838, over 15,000 started west, the majority by foot since wagon were only provided for small children, the old, and the infirm. During the winter, rain and poor food brought sickness, which killed many. Exact figures are not available but an estimated 10% of the emigrants died on the journey.