Treaty of New Echota
The discovery of gold in north Georgia led to the Cherokee Removal Bill in 1830, and whites swarmed over Cherokee land. Without authorization from Cherokee Chief John Ross, Ridge and a few other Cherokee signed the Treaty of New Echota and agreed to removal west of the Mississippi in exchange for $5 million.
Though ratified by one vote in the U.S. Senate, the Cherokee Nation rejected the treaty, leading directly to forced removal in 1838. In retaliation, Major Ridge, his son John, and Elias Boudinot were all assassinated by other Cherokees in 1839, compounding the tragedy of the treaty signed on December 29, 1835, Today in Georgia History.
More than 4,000 out of 15,000 Cherokees died during the Trail of Tears.