Exploring the Seminole Wars Through Maps

Events Leading to the Second Seminole War

: Identify the causes and effects of the Seminole Wars.

The United States waged three wars against the Seminoles in the 19th century.

This episode describes the period between the First and Second Seminole Wars, including the treaties of Camp Moultrie (1823) and Payne’s Landing (1832).

  1. Events Leading to the Second Seminole War (PowerPoint | PDF)
  2. Accompanying Teacher Notes (PDF)

SS.4.A.3.10: Identify the causes and effects of the Seminole Wars.

Episode Four: Events Leading to the Second Seminole War

Map of Florida by H.S. Tanner (1823)
Map of Florida by H.S. Tanner (1823)

Map of Florida by Anthony Finley (1831)
Map of Florida by Anthony Finley (1831)

General Map of the United States by Henry D. Rogers (1857)
General Map of the United States by Henry D. Rogers (1857)

(Slide One)

Episode Four discusses the origins of the Second Seminole War.

(Slide Two)

The resources for Episode Four are two maps of territorial Florida and one map of the eastern United States. The first map of territorial Florida was published by H.S. Tanner in 1823; the second (Slide Three) by Anthony Finley in 1831. The eastern U.S. map (Slide Four) is by Henry D. Rogers and was published in 1857.

(Slide Five)

The United States acquired Florida in 1821 as a result of a treaty with Spain known as the Adams-Onís Treaty.

(Slide Six)

One of the most pressing tasks for the U.S. government was to establish a boundary between American and Seminole settlements in the newly acquired Florida territory.

Major American settlements are noted on the map by blue triangles.

(Slide Seven)

The Seminoles inhabited lands stretching from the Panhandle to southwest Florida, but were mainly concentrated in the area between the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers. The Americans desired the Seminoles’ land for the same reason Native Americans had inhabited the area for thousands of years: rich, well-drained soil and access to forest and coastal resources.

The Seminoles were determined to hold onto their lands in the face of American pressure for them to move further down the peninsula, or leave Florida altogether.

(Slide Eight)

In 1823, leaders representing the Seminoles negotiated an agreement with the United States, known as the Treaty at Camp Moultrie.

(Slide Nine)

According to the treaty, the Seminoles agreed to relocate to a reservation in Central Florida, shown in green on this map, restrict the movement of runaway slaves into their territory, cease trade with other European nations, and remain at peace with the United States.

In return, the Seminoles were guaranteed their land for 20 years, provided with an annuity, agricultural tools, and provisions to make the journey south.

The problem with the Camp Moultrie treaty is that it did not represent the wishes of all Seminoles in Florida. Many Seminole leaders who did not sign the treaty felt the land contained within the reservation could not support their agriculture and cattle herding. Others feared that this agreement represented a dangerous step towards warfare or forced removal.

(Slide Ten)

The 1820s were difficult times for the Seminoles. American settlers poured into the Florida territory, bringing with them a strong desire for land and a belief system that relegated most African-Americans to a life of servitude. Some of the early American settlements are indicated on this map by blue triangles.

The Seminoles found it increasingly difficult to live on the lands allotted to them by the Treaty of Camp Moultrie. Drought led to poor crop yields in the late 1820s. American settlers repeatedly ignored the boundaries of the Seminole reservation and entered the Seminole territory in search of escaped slaves and cattle.

In response, Seminole warriors left the reservation to secure their property. Tensions increased when encounters between Seminoles and American settlers turned to bloodshed.

(Slide Eleven)

Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States in 1828. One of the central goals of his administration was to remove Native Americans living in the east to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.

In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. This act required all Native Americans living east of the Mississippi River to move West. Each tribe was required to negotiate a separate removal treaty.

(Slide Twelve)

In the spring of 1832, Seminole leaders met representatives from the U.S. government at Payne’s Landing on the Ocklawaha River. There, it was decided that a group of Seminoles would visit the lands assigned to them in the west before agreeing, as a people, to leave Florida.

(Slide Thirteen)

The delegation left Florida in October 1832 and traveled to Fort Gibson in the Arkansas Territory. At Fort Gibson, the Seminole delegation signed an agreement certifying that the lands met their criteria.

Many Seminoles erupted into rage when news of the Fort Gibson Treaty reached Florida. The delegation themselves claimed to have been harassed and coerced into signing the agreement at Fort Gibson. Among the opposition to the removal was a young warrior named Osceola whose vigorous opposition symbolized Seminole resistance.

The Treaty of Payne’s Landing established 1835 as the date for Seminole removal. Events late in that fateful year demonstrated that the Seminoles did not intend to abide by the agreements forced upon them.