Time-lapse vision of America's theft of Native American land, 1776—1887

Between 1776 and 1887, the United States seized over 1.5 billion acres from America’s indigenous people by treaty and executive order.

Watch Native Americans’ land evaporate at The Invasion of America, an interactive map that illustrates how the U.S. took over an eighth of the world.

Produced by University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt to accompany his new book West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776, the site is a time-lapse vision of the transfer of Indian land between 1776 and 1887.

As blue “Indian homelands” disappear, small red areas appear, indicating the establishment of reservations.

[via the invaluable Rebecca Onion]

Notable Replies

  1. I'm amused by the way California (save the deserts) is "Indian Homeland" right up until the 1850s, when it's invaded by America.

    Here in the LA area , the local indigenous people (the few that had survived the missions) were mostly working as vaqueros on the vast Mexican land-grant ranchos at that time, or providing chain-gang labor to work off public-intoxication arrests (for which they were paid in aguardiente at the end of their weekly sentence).

    Yeah, everything would have been just peachy in the ol' Indian Homeland if those Exceptional Americans hadn't invaded.

  2. Why not call it what it is, a genocide map. European conquest lead to the extermination of 15 million native Americans and about 100 million throughout the entire continent.

    Where's the holocaust museum for that?

  3. Yeah but most of it was unintentional, or rather not from direct actions.

    It's hard to maintain a hold on your land when 80-90% of your population dies off from disease. This world would be a very different one had Native Americans not been ravaged by disease. I'm utterly fascinated with the "what if" of having the Indians make contact and adopt the new technology and ideas brought by the Europeans, but retained control of their lands and culture. How many smaller "countries" would North America be made up of?

    I really find this map very interesting. You can even use it to find specific tribes. I'm Pottawatomie and the band I belong to is known as the Citizen Band. We were the first tribe to take US citizenship, hoping having rights as citizens would help in future land agreements (spoiler, not so much). Coincidentally I am leaving in about 30 min for a 5 hour trip to Oklahoma where the tribe holds the annual "family reunion". I'm finally getting my kiddo officially enrolled.

  4. Yes, people died of disease. People being worked to death in the silver mines and plantations of the Americas died of disease. Cash crops like tobacco, sugar, cotton and cocoa as well as the extermination of the buffalo meant that men, women and children died of hunger and malnutrition. Holocaust denial is widespread in the United States.

  5. You make rapacious, racist, religiously justified theft and genocide sound like a natural process, instead of the selfish and self-justifying land- and resource-grab that it was.

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