Though you may have never hear of the the Treaty of New Echota you have heard of its outcome, the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears began on December 29, 1835 when the Treaty of New Echota was signed by a Cherokee leader named Major Ridge. For $5 million dollars, Major Ridge agreed that the Cherokee would move to Indian Territory which is present-day Oklahoma. Unfortunately, Major Ridge did not speak for the majority of the Cherokee people but only a small group. The United States government wanted Cherokee land because of the discovery of gold in north Georgia. As we have learned in class, the Cherokee fought the treaty in court. They won the court case but lost the war. The Cherokee traveled more than 1,200 miles. Whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation compounded the journey. It is estimated that 5,000 Cherokees died on the trail. In the end, Major Ridge, the signer of the Treaty of New Echota, was assassinated by the Cherokee in 1839.