Unconquered: A Seminole History

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“You have guns, so do we. You have powder, so do we. You have lead, so do we. You have men, and so do we. Your men will fight and so will ours, till the last drop of the Seminole’s blood has moistened the dust of his hunting ground.”. These were the words uttered by Osceola, a famous Seminole Indian chief who led the Seminole tribe against the American forces attempting to remove them from their land in Florida. Osceola - Wikipedia

As a result of European customs steadily degrading the culture and morality, and encroaching further and further on their land, many Indians fled to the untamed wilderness of Spanish controlled Florida peninsula. Together the Creek, Cherokee, Muscogee Indians as well as many black runaways from slavery known as “Gullahs” who, coming from Africa, were more suited for the tropical climate. These fugitives of injustice formed a new, free settlement in the Floridian jungles. The Americans coined them the Seminole tribe, adapted from the Spanish word “Cimarron”, literally meaning Renegade.

 However, In 1817 the Americans, under the command of a rogue General Andrew Jackson invaded the Seminole land without a declaration of war, forcing them out of the panhandle into the more southern jungles of central Florida.  In 1819 the Florida peninsula was acquired by America which created further tension as America wanted the whole of Florida to themselves. 

In 1830, Andrew Jackson, now the President by the votes of a less educated poor white majority who were  hungry for land, signed the infamous Indian Removal Act forcing millions of native tribes including the Seminole to move west of the Mississippi river into the barren desert of the Oklahoma territory.. But the day the removal treaty was to be signed, an Indian chief by the name of Osceola famously declared, ”The only treaty I will execute will be this one!” and stabbed the treaty with his dagger and initiated a war in order to defend the sacred homeland of the Seminole.

A drawing depicting the often told story of Osceola stabbing a treaty with his knife.

The American’s offer: Move west or die. 

 And Osceola’s counteroffer.

For 6 years the Seminole army of a few hundred fought off thousands of Yankee soldiers to a stand still in the water lodged wilderness, refusing to surrender to the very end.  For 6 years the Americans treaded through the knee-deep water, putty like earth and treacherous snakes and gators all to exterminate a free people in the name of imperialism. The toll ran much higher on the invaders than on the Seminole;  of the 7,000 American soldiers who entered the Florida peninsula, only 2,000 returned (an environment and casualty rate eerily foreshadowing the outcome of a similar war over a century later)


During a parley, Osceola was knocked unconscious and arrested, all under flag of truce depriving the Seminole of their top commander. But they still defiantly resisted until the combined force of Yankee arms, dishonesty, and savagery could finally get many Seminole to move from their lands, but by that point the Americans had run out of steam and the Second Seminole-American War was officially declared over.

No man is meant to be subjugated by another…