What Were the Seminole Wars?


Quick Answer

The Seminole Wars were three conflicts within Florida that occurred between 1816 and 1858. The First Seminole War was against the Spanish, who still had control of Florida. The Second and Third Seminole Wars were fought to displace and relocate the Seminole tribes from their lands in Florida. The wars resulted in the removal of the Seminole and Spain ceding the territory to the United States to avoid further conflict.

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What Were the Seminole Wars?
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Full Answer

The First Seminole War was in response to attacks on United States forces and territory by Seminole forces, often at the behest of the British. Andrew Jackson led forces into Florida after the passengers of a riverboat were massacred by the Seminoles, which created an international incident and disrupted negotiations between Spain and the United States.

The Second and Third Seminole Wars were fought to force the Seminoles out of territory the United States wished to occupy. Originally, the Seminoles were forced onto a reservation in central Florida, and the Second Seminole War was due to their reluctance to leave this land for the western territories. They were forced onto another reservation in the southwest corner of the state before being compelled to leave for Oklahoma in the Third Seminole War.

The Seminole people were an amalgamation of Native American tribes and African Americans, mostly escaped slaves. After 1850, most lived in Oklahoma, but a small remnant escaped the relocation and survived in Florida.

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