Seminole

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Seminole,

Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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). They separated (their name means "separatist") from the Creek in the early 18th cent. and settled in the former territory of the Apalachee in Florida. They gradually grew in strength, absorbing many runaway black slaves and some members of the Apalachee tribe. While still under Spanish rule, the Seminole became involved in several major confrontations with the United States, particularly in the War of 1812 and again in 1817–18. In the retaliatory expedition of 1817–18, Gen. Andrew Jackson invaded Florida with more than 3,000 men to punish the Seminole. By the Treaty of Paynes Landing (1832), the Seminole were bound to move W of the Mississippi River within three years. Most Seminole, led by OsceolaOsceola
, c.1800–1838, leader of the Seminole. 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.
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, refused to go and prepared themselves for resistance.

In 1835 began the Seminole War, which proved to be the most costly of the Indian warsIndian wars,
in American history, general term referring to the series of conflicts between Europeans and their descendants and the indigenous peoples of North America. Early Conflicts
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 in which the United States engaged. Lasting for nearly eight years, it cost the lives of thousands of Seminole and 1,500 U.S. soldiers, as well as at least $30 million. Finally defeated in 1842, the Seminole consented to move to Oklahoma, where they became one of the Five Civilized TribesFive Civilized Tribes,
inclusive term used since mid-19th cent. for the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes of E Oklahoma. By 1850 some 60,000 members of these tribes were settled in the Indian Territory under the Removal Act of 1830, which provided that
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. A few Seminole remained isolated in the EvergladesEverglades,
marshy, low-lying subtropical savanna area, c.4,000 sq mi (10,000 sq km), S Fla., extending from Lake Okeechobee S to Florida Bay. Characterized by water, sawgrass, hammocks (islandlike masses of vegetation), palms, pine and mangrove forests, and solidly packed black
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. In 1990 there were about 15,500 Seminole in the United States, mostly in Florida and Oklahoma.

Bibliography

See J. K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War (1967); J. H. Howard, Oklahoma Seminoles (1984); M. S. Garbarino, The Seminole (1988).

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