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Indian Removal Era

In the early part of the nineteenth century, white settlers emigrating into the territory now forming the central and southern states, found the country occupied by tribes of American Indians who had lived there from time immemorial. From time to time, Congress enacted legislation and made treaties with Indians to take their land and drive them farther and farther west.

With the election of General Andrew Jackson as president, Indian removal became established as a national policy. Jackson responded to the pressure of white farmers, speculators, and political leaders of state governments for access to Indian land. Under his leadership, Congress passed a bill to remove the "Civilized Tribes" from the South. Jackson sent agents throughout the South to make treaties with the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole to give up their land in the east and move west of the Mississippi River. The Choctaw and Chickasaw lands were located in Alabama and Mississippi. Both states passed laws forbidding Indians to testify against whites in court. The Alabama legislature even created eight new counties out of Creek land and placed Indians under Alabama law. Some Creek Indians fled to Florida and joined the Seminole, one of whom was the famed Osceola, who was born in Alabama and who was also known by his English name as Billy Powell. The era of removal was a tense time in the new state. In the summer of 1836 the U.S. Army began rounding up Indians to remove them from Alabama. Skirmishes between whites and Indians resisting deportation resulted in the Creek Indian War of 1836-1837. The Cherokee in northeast Alabama were the last to be removed from Alabama, and by 1838 most Indians had been moved westward out of Alabama.


1830—Choctaw Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek

1832—Chickasaw Treaty of Pontotoc

1832—Creek Treaty of Cusseta

1835—Cherokee Treaty of New Echota