The Florida Seminoles
Teacher’s Guide for Portraits of Seminole Leaders of the Second Seminole War

Background Information:

The United States waged three wars against the Seminoles in the 19thcentury. There were three primary causes of the Seminole Wars: conflicts over land, slavery, and trade. The largest of these conflicts, the Second Seminole War, was the longest and most costly Indian war in U.S. history.

The lithographs included here feature prominent Seminole leaders during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842).  

By the era of the Seminole Wars (early 1800s), Native Americans in the southeast, including the Seminoles, had interacted with Europeans and Africans for almost 300 years. These interactions influenced Seminole dress, language, and customs. While Native Americans incorporated elements of European and African dress, they retained distinct styles. These lithographs provide insight into Native American cultural change, in this case using the example of clothing.

Some Useful Questions to Ask:

  • How did Florida Seminoles dress? What did their clothes look like? What kinds of fabric, decoration and accessories do you notice?
  • How do you think contact with Europeans and Africans impacted Native American clothing styles?

Use to Illustrate:

  • Pioneer life in Florida.
  • Seminole culture in the early 1800s.
  • The Seminole Wars.

Document Analysis Worksheets
Created by the National Archives

Document analysis is the first step in working with primary sources. Teach your students to think through primary source documents for contextual understanding and to extract information to make informed judgments. The document analysis worksheets created by the National Archives and Records Administration are in the public domain.

Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

  • SS.4.A.4.2: Describe pioneer life in Florida.
  • SS.8.A.4.18: Examine the experiences and perspectives of different ethnic, national, and religious groups in Florida, explaining their contributions to Florida's and America's society and culture during the Territorial Period.

Florida Standards

  • LAFS.910.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • LAFS.1112.RH.1.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.