Over 1,000 years ago, the Timucua (tee-MOO-quo) people established villages in this area. They fished, hunted, and grew crops such as maize, squash, and beans.
By the 1700s, the Timucuans began to disappear as they succumbed to war and disease brought by the English, French, and Spanish colonists as well as being assimilated into European culture and religion. In 1763, the last Timucuans were taken to Cuba by the Spanish.
Evidence of the Timucuan way of life can be found in middens: mounds of bones, shells, tools. These mounds can be found throughout Florida as protected archeological resources.
The Seminole people moved into Florida, including this area, from Georgia and Alabama in the 1700s as the Timucuans disappeared. The word Seminole comes from the Spanish term cimarrones meaning "free people."
Many Seminoles left the area in the early 1800s after the U.S. government passed the Indian Removal Act in order to open land for non-native settlers. The passage of that act led to clashes between the Seminole people, who did not want to leave their land, and the U.S. Army. It was during these conflicts, known as the Seminole Wars, that Osceola emerged as one of the best-known Seminole leaders. After the wars, some of the Seminole people took refuge in the Everglades, where their descendants still live today.
Seminole County is named for the "Free People."
[ Illustrations ]
· A sketch of a Timucuan Indian village.
· Timucuan Indian leaders leading their troops into battle.
· A sketch of a traditional Seminole Indian village.
· Chief Osceola, a Seminole leader who defeated U.S. troops in several early battles of the Second Seminole War.
Images courtesy of Sanford Museum