On this day in Alabama history: Second Treaty of Washington ratified

On this day in Alabama history: Second Treaty of Washington ratified
This print from the 1832 "The History of the Indian Tribes of North America" was likely made from a portrait of Opothle Yoholo by famed painter Charles Bird King. Opothle Yoholo (ca. 1798-1863) was a leader of the Tuckabatchee Creeks and became the principal chief of the Creek Nation. He was one of the most outspoken opponents of Creek removal. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, print by McKenney and Hall, Birmingham Public Library Tutwiler Collection of Southern History and Literature)

April 22, 1826

The Treaty of Washington was a compromise between the Creek nation and the United States, replacing a fraudulent treaty signed a year earlier that ceded huge swaths of Indian territory to Alabama. Under the new agreement, the Creeks retained about 3 million acres in the Coosa and Tallapoosa River watersheds that had been promised to the state in the previous Treaty of Indian Springs.

An investigation ordered by President John Quincy Adams concluded that the Treaty of Indian Springs was illegitimate. But the victory for the Creeks was short-lived. Many Alabamians believed the new treaty cheated them. Over time, they illegally extended Alabama law into Creek territory, with the support of Andrew Jackson, who became president in 1828. Four years later, the Creeks ceded all territory east of the Mississippi in the Treaty of Cusseta. Under that treaty, and the previously approved Indian Removal Act of 1830, the path was now clear for the forced relocation west by the U.S. military of the Creeks and other Native Americans in Alabama, in what later became known as the Trail of Tears.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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