The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of approximately 60,000 Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States, to areas to the west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as Indian Territory. The forced relocations were carried out by government authorities following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their new designated reserve, and approximately 4,000 died before reaching their destinations or shortly after from disease. The forced removals included members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, as well as their African slaves. The phrase “Trail of Tears” originates from a description of the removal of many Native American tribes, including the Cherokee Nation relocation in 1838.