Seminole history begins with bands of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama who migrated to Florida in the 1700s. Conflicts with Europeans and other tribes caused them to seek new lands to live in peace.
The Seminole are a Native American people who developed in Florida in the 18th century.
Seminole, North American Indian tribe of Creek origin who speak a Muskogean language. In the last half of the 18th century, migrants from the Creek towns of southern Georgia moved into northern Florida, the former territory of the Apalachee and Timucua.
The ancestors of today’s Seminole people migrated to Florida in the 1700s and early 1800s. These Indians came primarily from Alabama and Georgia, and although they were simply known as “Creeks” to the British, they spoke different languages and lived in independent towns.
By May 8, 1858, when the United States declared an end to conflicts in the third war with the Seminoles, more than 3,000 of them had been moved west of the Mississippi River. That left roughly 200 to 300 Seminoles remaining in Florida, hidden in the swamps.
The Seminoles are said to believe that life spins in a circle, beginning in the east, then north, west and south. The bands of color in the flag symbolize those points of the compass: yellow for east, red for north, black for west, and white for south.
Interesting Facts about the Seminole Tribe Escaped slaves from some southern states also joined the Seminole tribe. “Chickee” is the Seminole word for house.
Seminoles are all members of a clan, and there are eight today: Panther, Bear, Deer, Wind, Bigtown/Toad, Bird, Snake, and Otter. Other clans have gone extinct, including the Alligator clan. Children inherit their clan through their mothers and husbands traditionally go to live in the camp of his new wife’s clan.
The indigenous Indians immediately to the north of Florida were given names such as Creek, Mikasuki, Yamassee, Yuchi, Oconee, Guale, Eufala, etc.
What was Seminole clothing like? Seminole women wore wraparound skirts, usually woven from palmetto. Shirts were not necessary in Seminole culture, but men and women both wore poncho-style mantles in cool weather. Like most Native Americans, the Seminoles wore moccasins on their feet.
Osceola moved from Georgia to Florida, where, although not a chief, he came to be acknowledged as a leader of the Seminoles. He led the young Indians who opposed the Treaty of Payne’s Landing (1832), by which some of the Seminole chiefs agreed to submit to removal from Florida.
Today, the members of the Seminole tribe speak one or both of two languages: Maskókî and Mikisúkî. These are the only two left from among the dozens of dialects that were spoken by their ancestors here in the Southeast. Maskókî, erroneously called “Creek” by English speakers, is the core language.
The First Seminole War (1817–18) began over attempts by U.S. authorities to recapture runaway black slaves living among Seminole bands. Under General Andrew Jackson, U.S. military forces invaded the area, scattering the villagers, burning their towns, and seizing Spanish-held Pensacola and St. Marks.
First Seminole War, conflict between U.S. armed forces and the Seminole Indians of Florida that is generally dated to 1817–18 and that led Spain to cede Florida to the United States.