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Seminole (tribe)

The Seminole are a Native American Indian people, originally of Florida. They were conquered and largely exiled by the United States in the early 19th century, after the United States took Florida from Spain.

In 1784, the treaty ending the American Revolution returned all of Florida to Spanish control.

After attacks by Spanish settlers on Indian towns, Indians based in Florida began raiding Georgia settlements, purportedly at the behest of the Spanish. The United States Army led increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory, including the 1817-1818 campaign against the Seminole Indians by Andrew Jackson that became known as the First Seminole War[?]. Following the war, the United States effectively controlled East Florida.

The Adams-Onís Treaty[1] (http://alamo-de-parras.welkin.org/archives/documents/adams_oniz_treaty) was signed between the United States and Spain in 1819 and took effect in 1821. According to the terms of the treaty, the United States acquired Florida and, in exchange, renounced all claims to Texas.

As American settlement increased after the treaty, pressure grew on the United States government to remove the Indians from their lands in Florida. Many Indian tribes harbored runaway black slaves, and the settlers wanted access to Indian lands.

In 1832, the United States government signed the Treaty of Payne's Landing[?] with a few of the Seminole chiefs, promising them lands west of the Mississippi River if they agreed to leave Florida voluntarily. The remaining Seminole prepared for war. White settlers pressured the government to remove all of the Indians, by force if necessary. In 1835, the US Army arrived to enforce the treaty.

Seminole chief Osceola led the vastly outnumbered resistance during the Second Seminole War[?]. Approximately 4,000 Indian warriors effectively employed hit-and-run guerrilla tactics with devastating effect against over 200,000 United States Army troops for many years. Osceola was arrested when he came under a flag of truce to negotiations in 1837. He died in jail a less than a year later.

The war only ended after a full decade of fighting, in 1842. The US government is estimated to have spent about $20,000,000 on the war, at the time an astronomical sum. Many Indians were forcibly exiled to Creek[?] lands west of the Mississippi; others retreated into the Everglades.

The contemporary Seminole, in both Oklahoma and Florida, are descended from a mixture of Native Americans and African Americans.

The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma has about 6000 enrolled members, who are divided into fourteen bands. Two are called "Freedmen Bands" because they count their descent from escaped slaves who took refuge with the Seminole. Band membership is matrilineal: children are members of their mother's band. The group is ruled by an elected council, with two members from each band. The capital is at Wewoka, Oklahoma.



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