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(ŏsēō`lə, ō–), c.1800–1838, leader of the SeminoleSeminole,
Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They separated (their name means "separatist") from the Creek in the early 18th cent.
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. He was also called Powell, the surname of his supposed white father. In the early 1830s, Osceola was living close to Fort King, near the site of Ocala, Fla. Although not a chief, he rose to a position of prominence among the Seminole and led the young warriors who denounced the treaties of 1832 and 1833, which provided for the removal of the Native Americans to the West. In Dec., 1835, Osceola's warriors killed Wiley Thompson, the Indian agent in charge of the removal. U.S. troops under General Jesup drove his band southward into the Everglades, but Osceola, skillfully using guerrilla tactics, resisted capture. Fighting ceased early in 1837, only to break out again in June. Overtures for peace were sent to Osceola, and he agreed to meet with Jesup in St. Augustine under a flag of truce. Jesup, never intending to discuss peace, had Osceola seized and imprisoned at Fort Moultrie, S.C., where he died shortly afterward.


See study by W. and E. Hartley (1973).

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