Early 1700s - The Formation of The Seminoles
In the early 1700s, various groups of Native Americans began migrating south to the land of Florida.
These groups were mainly composed of theMuscogee people (called Creeks by the English) who lived north of present-day Florida.
The Creek migrants included: Hitchiti and Mikasuki speakers. There were also some non-Creek peoples: the Yamasee and Yuchi.
These groups merged to form the new Seminole tribe.
A series of threeSeminole Wars with the United States resulted in the removal of most of these Natives to what is now Oklahoma and the remainder merged, by ethnogenesis, into the currentSeminole and Miccosukee tribes of Florida.
It is believed that the Seminoles were named by the Creeks, but the derivation of the word Seminole is uncertain:
The name is a possibly a corruption of the Creek ishti semoli, which means 'wild men', an epithet applied by the Creeks.
The Upper Creeks refered to them as Aulockawan in recognition of their place of residence .
Some have suggested that the term Seminole is a Native corruption of the Spanish word Cimarron, which could mean wild or unruly.
The Florida Tribes, indigenous and immigrant (Seminole), continued being annihilated in Florida by disease, by the Europeans, or by their own kind.
The Seminoles shared the Florida Keys with the Creeks until around 1770.
In 1771 the Florida Creeks and their associates began to be referred to as Seminoles.
During the first Seminole Indian War, the Seminoles attacked the early settlements.
Forts were built throughout the east coast, then known as Mosquito County, to defend the settlers against the Seminoles.
In 1823, at the Treaty of Moultie Creek, the Seminoles were ordered to live in a reservation, much of which was located in modern day Lake County.
In 1842, at the end of the Seminole War, Congress passed the Armed Occupation Act. It offered 160 acres of land in Florida to any man who would take up arms to protect the area against potential renewed Native hostilities. So long as he would build a habitable dwelling and live on the property for five years, while cultivating at least five acres of his homestead.
Many men accepted the challenge and joined the blacks who were already engaged in farming the area.
Settlements and small towns began to quickly appear and some vanished just as fast.
In 1880, after less than 200 years of the tribe being formed, it is reported that only 208 Seminoles remained.
[Contributors: Jason Brown]