A Group Of Seminoles And Escaped Slaves Ambush A U.S. Army Company Attempting To Forcibly Remove The Seminole

The US acquired Florida from Spain via the Adams-Onís Treaty and took possession in 1821.

In 1832 the Seminoles were called to a meeting at Payne's Landing on the Ocklawaha River. The treaty negotiated called for the Seminoles to move west, if the land were found to be suitable. They were to be settled on the Creek reservation and become part of the Creek tribe. The Seminole Indians who originated from the Creek were considered deserters by the Creek, and the Seminole did not wish to move west to where they were certain that they would meet death for leaving the main band Creek Indians. The delegation of seven chiefs who were to inspect the new reservation did not leave Florida until October 1832. After touring the area for several months and conferring with the Creeks who had already been settled there, the seven chiefs signed on March 28, 1833 a statement that the new land was acceptable. Upon their return to Florida, however, most of the chiefs renounced the statement, claiming that they had not signed it, or that they had been forced to sign it, and in any case, that they did not have the power to decide for all the tribes and bands that resided on the reservation. The villages in the area of the Apalachicola River were more easily persuaded, however, and went west in 1834. On December 28, 1835 a group of Seminoles and escaped slaves ambushed a U.S. Army company attempting to forcibly remove the Seminole. Out of 110 army troops only 3 survived, and with that the Second Seminole War had begun.

In the late 18th century, the members of the Lower Creek Nation began to migrate into Florida to remove themselves from the dominance of the Upper Creeks. They intermingled with the few remaining indigenous people there, some recently arrived as refugees after the Yamasee War such as the Yuchi, Yamasee, and others. They went on to be called "Seminole", a derivative of the Mvskoke' (a Creek language) word simano-li, an adaptation of the Spanish "cimarrón" which means "wild" (in their case, "wild men"), or "runaway" [men]. The Seminole were a heterogeneous tribe made up of mostly Lower Creeks from Georgia, Mikasuki-speaking Muskogees, and escaped African-American slaves, and to a lesser extent, Indians from other tribes and white Europeans. The unified Seminole spoke two languages, Creek and Mikasuki (a modern dialect similar to Hitchiti), two different members of the Muskogean Native American languages family, a language group that includes Choctaw and Chickasaw. It is chiefly on linguistic grounds that the modern Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida maintain their separate identity today.

The Seminole were on good terms with both the Spanish and the British. In 1784, the treaty ending the American Revolutionary War returned all of Florida to Spanish control. The Spanish Empire's decline allowed the Seminole to settle more deeply into Florida. The Seminole were led by a dynasty of chiefs founded in the 18th century by Cowkeeper. This dynasty lasted until 1842, when the majority of Seminoles were forced to move from Florida to the Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma) after the Second Seminole War.