History -Where we came from
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, or follow the links below for more complete details about the Tribe's history.
Seminole Tribe Timeline
Look at a graphic or text only version of a Seminole timeline spanning history as far back as the early 1500s.
The unique confluence of culture and circumstance which would become today's Seminole Tribe of Florida can be traced back at least 12,000 years, say researchers.
In the early days of its existence, the fledgling United States government carried out a policy of displacement and extermination against the American Indians in the eastern US, systematically removing them from the path of "white" settlement. Until 1821, Florida remained under the control of the government of Spain but the US Territories of Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana were its covetous next-door neighbors. It was clear that the US wanted the Spaniards out of Florida and was willing to consider any means, including warfare, to acquire the rich land.
Though his exploits were not as well publicized, Seminole medicine man Abiaka may have been more important to the internal Seminole war machine than Osceola.
By May 10, 1842, when a frustrated President John Tyler ordered the end of military actions against the Seminoles, over $20 million had been spent, 1500 American soldiers had died and still no formal peace treaty had been signed.
The Seminoles began the 20th century where they had been left at the conclusion of the Seminole Wars - in abject poverty, hiding out in remote
camps in the wet wilderness areas of South Florida.
A special generation of Seminole leaders - children of that last generation to hide in the swamps - began to meet regularly beneath a huge oak tree on the Hollywood reservation.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has matured both politically and financially.
The challenge of maintaining the unique Seminole culture while operating in the mainstream economy is the priority for today's Seminole Tribe of Florida.
For more information about the government of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, please see these articles in the Extracts of the 40th Anniversary edition of the Seminole Tribune:
Tribal Founders' Interview Series