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.
SS.4.A.3.10: Identify the causes and effects of the Seminole Wars.
The United States waged three wars against the Seminoles in the 19th century. The largest of these conflicts, the Second Seminole War, was the longest and most costly American Indian war in U.S. history.
This episode describes the aftermath and legacy of the Seminole Wars, including Seminole settlement in and adjustment to life in South Florida.
Episode Seven: Aftermath of the Seminole Wars
Episode Seven discusses the aftermath of the Seminole Wars.
The resources for Episode Seven are an 1844 surveyor’s map of Florida, (Slide Three) an 1859 map of Florida by the firm of Charles Desilver, (Slide Four) an 1873 map of Florida by Asher Adams, and (Slide Five) a 1940 map of Seminole camps created by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The Seminole Wars spanned more than 40 years. In that time, Florida became a territory of the United States and in 1845, the 27th state.
When fighting between Americans and Seminoles first occurred in 1812 with the invasion of the Patriot Army, European settlement in Florida was limited to St. Augustine and Pensacola, with a few tiny settlements along the coast.
With the influx of Creek refugees following the Creek civil war in 1813-14, Native Americans known as Creeks and Seminoles became the majority population in Florida.
The American desire to obtain Florida led directly to the series of conflicts known as the Seminole Wars. And, it was through the Seminole Wars that Florida became part of the United States.
The influence of the Seminole Wars is evident throughout Florida today, especially in its place names.
The landscape of Florida is dotted with places named for generals, like Andrew Jackson, Thomas Sidney Jesup, and Zachary Taylor; (Slide Eleven) for Seminole leaders like Osceola and Micanopy; and (Slide Twelve) with Muscogee language words like Okeechobee, Tallahassee, and Caloosahatchee.
Places that are today modern cities, such as Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Brooke (now Tampa), and Fort Dallas (now Miami), owe their early settlement to the era of the Seminoles Wars.
The removal of the vast majority of Seminoles and their Black Seminole allies from Florida also brought about changes in the natural, social, and economic history of the state.
Planters who moved onto Seminole lands brought large numbers of African-American slaves and ushered in an economy and social system dominated by slavery.
For the Seminoles, the long period of warfare meant trauma and displacement; it meant leaving an area capable of sustaining subsistence farming, cattle herding, and hunting for one characterized by flatness and water.
The adjustment to life in southern Florida was not an easy one, but the Seminoles did adapt and eventually thrived in their new homes.
The 200 or so Seminoles remaining in Florida after the Seminole Wars rebounded. They reinvigorated their culture and became an integral part of the history of the state in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Today, secured in their reservations, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida stand poised to impact Florida’s future as much as its past.