In the early nineteenth century a movement began in the United States to remove Indian tribes from their ancestral lands in the rapidly developing eastern states and settle them in the newly acquired lands west of the Mississippi River. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 established the government policy of relocating the eastern tribes to a separate, reserved "Indian Territory" on the Great Plains. A chronology of contemporaneous maps of the Indian territory reveals the continuous loss of portions of this reserved land, owing to the pressure from non-Indian settlers and the commercial interests in opening Indian lands for non-Indian use. By the 1870s, Indian Territory — which had once extended from the present Texas-Oklahoma border to the Nebraska-Dakota border — had shrunk to encompass only what is today most of the state of Oklahoma. The Geography and Map Division has a strong collection of maps, both federally and commercially published, which document the diminishing of Indian Territory. There is also good coverage of Indian and Oklahoma Territories from the post-Civil War period to 1907 (when the remaining portions of Indian Territory were incorporated into the newly formed state of Oklahoma), and maps of individual parcels of land, such as the "Cherokee Outlet," which were ceded to the United States and opened for non-Indian settlement.
The maps in this section have been digitized by the Library and are available for viewing and download online. Select the link on the map or in the caption to view a copy of the map that can be enlarge to view the detail.
This map of the northern Mississippi River basin shows Indian occupied lands, lands ceded to the federal government, and lands assigned to Indians removed from the eastern United States.
Shows boundaries of lands assigned to the individual tribes current with U.S. government treaty commitments of the 1830s. Also includes a checklist of tribes that had migrated west of the Mississippi River, the acreage assigned to each tribe, and the tribes remaining in the east, and population figures for both.
Map is annotated to illustrate the reduction of Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, and Creek tribal territories resulting from Indian involvement in the Civil War on behalf of the Confederate cause.
This map contains extensive cultural detail relating to the reservations composing Indian Territory. It has also been annotated to illustrate the boundaries of the formation of Oklahoma Territory within the Indian Territory.
Map depicts the lands occupied by various tribes and includes details about land transfers and cessions.
This map, issued by the major American map publisher of the late-nineteenth century, is an example of a mass-produced commercial map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories.
General Land Office map depicting Indian areas, districts, treaty dates, roads and trails, the named railroads, drainage, and relief by hachures.
This 1899 set of three sheets is the third of nine editions of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Tahlequah published between 1894 and 1949. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps provide detailed information about buildings in urban areas. This edition in the Tahlequah series depicts structures of significance to the Cherokee Nation, such as the Cherokee Male and Female seminaries, the Cherokee National Capitol, and the Cherokee National Penitentiary, as well as local homes and businesses.
One of several maps appearing in the annual reports of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, this one indicates the progress of land allotments and selections, as well as approved coal leases under the Choctaw and Chickasaw agreement.
Map depicts the Creek and Seminole Nations, Indian Territory, just after the turn of the century.
One of several maps appearing in the annual reports of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, this one illustrates the coal and asphalt regions, with the portion shaded in red indicating the progress of the allotments made between April 15 and June 30, 1903.
Map of eastern Oklahoma (Indian Territory) depicts the state of Sequoyah, as proposed by the Sequoyah Constitutional Convention in 1905. Threatened by the breakup of tribal governments, delegates from the Five Civilized tribes attempted to draft a constitution and form a state out of Indian Territory as a way of retaining governance over their lands. Voters in the Territory approved the measures, but the petitions for statehood were defeated by a Republican-led Congress. A compromise joined Indian Territory with the Oklahoma Territory to form the State of Oklahoma. Map depicts the names of land owners, railroads, streams and rivers, and proposed counties. In the northwest corner of the map is an illustration of the proposed Great Seal of the State of Sequoyah 1905.
This atlas of 239 cadastral maps of townships identifies the names, statuses, and allotment numbers of the individual owners, as well as other geographical features, in the Cherokee Nation. Under a policy of assimilation and land-allotment, federal legislation promoted the break-up of tribal lands and the allotment of 160-acre parcels to the heads of Indian families. Unassigned properties could be purchased by or leased to non-Indians. The Cherokee refused to participate in the allotment program, but in 1898 Congress dissolved their tribal government and extended the policy to them. The inclusion of numerous Indian names on the various plates attests to the landownership by numerous Cherokee Indians.The entire atlas is available through the Library of Congress Website.
The following maps are only available at the Library of Congress in the Geography and Map Reading Room in the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress.