In 1830, at President Andrew Jackson’s urging, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in order to free up land for the nation’s expanding white population. The act granted the president the power to negotiate treaties with Native American tribes to relinquish their lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for unsettled lands west of the river. While some Indians complied peacefully, the Cherokee, among other tribes, resisted. In 1838, U.S. troops rounded up the Cherokees from their traditional lands in the southern Appalachians, held them in camps then forced them to relocate to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma. An estimated 15,000 to 16,000 Cherokee people made the grueling journey west, following one of several routes that collectively became known as the Trail of Tears. Along the way, some 3,000 to 4,000 of them died from disease, malnutrition and exposure. Check out seven facts about this infamous chapter in American history.