external image Second_Seminole_War_map-fr.svg
Seminole Village, 1835
Seminole Village, 1835

Overview of the Seminole Wars from the Seminole Nation Museum

  • First Seminole War: 1817-1818
  • Second Seminole War: 1835-1842
  • Third Seminole War: 1855-1858

Overview of the Seminole Wars from University of South Florida

Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson

Adams-Onis Treaty (1819)

Portraits of Seminole Leaders of the Second Seminole War

Histories and Source Documents

Florida Indian leader Osceola
Florida Indian leader Osceola

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 12.34.37 PM.pngOsceola: Chief of the Seminoles from National Park Service

A Seminole Warrior Cloaked in Defiance, Smithsonian Magazine (October 2010)

Multimedia.pngOsceola's Last Words, a song by Will McClean, sung by David Summerford

The Seminole Nation and the Violence of US Expansion/Manifest Destiny

December 25, 1837: Christmas Day Freedom Fighters: Hidden History of the Seminole Anticolonial Struggle, Zinn Education Project

The true histories and nuances of the Seminole Nation's resitance to US expansionist violence is often quickly pass over in traditional curriculums.

The Seminoles had established southern Florida as their sovereign homeland after fleeing from ethnic cleansing taking place under the Creek nation which lived in Alabama and Georgia. The Seminole Nation was (before the start of the Seminole wars) not part of the territorial US and escaped slaves would flee to Seminole territory where they were welcomed and given total freedom to live amongst the Seminole peoples. As a result, the Seminoles were a multicultural and multiracial community of both free blacks and native peoples. Southern plantation owners hated the fact that the Seminole Nation was an outpost of freedom and saw it as a threat to their economic system. The motivation for invading the Seminole Nation was thus one of racist economic motives - to stamp out what was seen as a threat to US colonial slavery and political power.

Throughout the Seminole Wars, the African and Native fighters of the Seminole nation put up a serious fight. The Florida terrain was treacherous to the US army and the Seminole fighters often engaged in guerilla-style attacks that decimated US army troops. The US army engaged in "scorched Earth" ethnic cleansing of Seminole villages and farms, which eventually wore down the Seminoles ability to fight back. The eventual result was that Seminole leaders, like Chief Osceola, were captured and killed and the Nation had to forcibly agree to relocation along the Trail of Tears to modern day Oklahoma. The few remaining Seminole were forced onto reservations in Southwest Florida.

The Seminole Wars, though often not seen as such, are an important event in understanding the shared history between Natives and freed black slaves in the US.