The Seminole Indians are a tribe of Indians who now have territory and
reservations in Florida and Oklahoma. They once belonged to the Muskogee tribe that lived
along streams in what are now southern Georgia and Alabama. The Seminoles moved to Florida
and Oklahoma around 1708 when the white men drove them out of their homes and took their
land. The Seminoles adjusted well to life in Florida.
In the late 1700's and early 1800's Florida was a territory of Spain,
that made the Seminoles Spanish citizens. Like white men, they had black slaves, but they
treated their slaves with respect. In the early 1800's General Andrew Jackson attacked the
few Seminole villages left in Georgia and forced most of the Indians to flee to their
relatives in Florida. Among them were a young woman and her son, Osceola, who would grow
up to become a great Seminole leader. This attack started the First Seminole War.
Florida was sold to the United States by Spain in 1819. In 1823 the
Seminoles signed a treaty giving up most of their land. Once they moved into their new
reservations in Central Florida Andrew Jackson who was president at the time signed the
Indian Removal Act which required all Seminoles to move to the Indian Territory, which is
now known as Oklahoma. Most of the Seminoles wouldn't go. This started the Second Seminole
War. During the Second Seminole War many of the Seminoles gave up and went to Oklahoma.
The ones that didn't had to hide deep in the Everglades where the white men couldn't find
them. Osceola was taken prisoner by the United States government. He died in prison.
The Florida Seminoles never signed a formal peace treaty with the United
States. The Seminole Indians are still living in reservations in Florida and Oklahoma, The
Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc., has its headquarters in Hollywood, Florida, where there
is a replica of a traditional chickee village.
The Seminole Indians have been in what is now The United States of
America for over fifteen thousand years. They have been through many wars and have had
many tragedies along the way. The Seminoles always were a strong tribe and continue to be
a strong tribe.