1852 Dahlonega Gold Coin
The Trail of Tears, in which the Cherokee were forcibly removed from Georgia, remains one of the most infamous acts in American history. The discovery of gold in North Georgia (an 1852 Dahlonega gold coin is pictured here) led to the Cherokee Removal Bill in 1830, and whites swarmed over Cherokee land. Major John Ridge and a few other Cherokee signed the Treaty of New Echota without authorization from Chief John Ross 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 by the federal government in 1838.