The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States. The Native Americans were moved west to areas designated as Indian Territory. These forced relocations were carried out by government authorities following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The Cherokee Indians were forced from their homes in 1838 after gold was discovered near Dahlonega, Georgia. Approximately 2,000–8,000 of the 16,543 relocated Cherokee perished along the way.