In the 1740s following the demise of the Calusa and Tequesta, in southern Florida, the Native Americans were referred to as “Spanish Indians” due to friendlier relations with Spain. When the Creek invaded the Florida peninsula. They conquered and assimilated what was left of the pre-Columbian societies into the Creek Confederacy. Remnant Indian groups joined them and formed the Seminole, a new tribe.
Seminoles originally settled in the northern portion of the territory along with free blacks and fugitive slaves that had made their way to Florida. Spain had promised slaves freedom and arms if they converted to Catholicism and pledged loyalty to Spain. Gradually these African Americans created communities near those of the Seminole. They became known as the Black Seminoles and the two groups acted as allies.
The First Seminole War was in 1817 when Andrew Jackson invaded Florida to hasten its annexation to the United States. Florida became a U. S. territory in 1821 and soon thereafter, conflicts between the Seminole and settlers increase as the settlers tried to acquire more land.
A Second Seminole War lasted from 1835 to 1842. Afterward, the U. S. forcibly removed about 3,000 Seminole and 800 Black Seminole to what was known as the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Today that area is known as Oklahoma. Many of them died during the war.
Between 1855 to 1859, a Third Seminole War broke out when a few hundred Seminole fought off U. S. forces from the swamps of the Everglades. Since the Seminoles could not be dislodged, the U. S. finally decided to them alone. The had been a very costly and long drawn out war.
In 1913, the Seminole in the Everglades numbered no more than 325. Raising domesticated animals, and trading with the white settlers, they made a living. Their villages consisted of hardwood hammocks or pinelands, and their diets consisted of hominy and coontie roots, fish turtles, venison, and small game. Due to the limited size of the hammocks, their villages were not large. By the end of the last Seminole War and 1930, the people lived in relative isolation.
Construction of the Tamiami Trail began in 1928 and spanned from Tampa to Miami. This altered the Seminoles way of life, with some beginning to work on local farms, ranches, and souvenir stands. In 1940 some who interacted more with European Americans began to move to the reservations. In 1957 they became federally recognized as the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
For those who wanted to keep more traditional ways had settlements along the Tamiami Trail. They tended to speak the Mikasuki language, and in 1962 were federally recognized as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida.