The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were a series of three battles between the Seminole Indians and the U.S. military from 1816-1858. They were the longest, most expensive Indian wars in U.S. history both monetarily and in human lives lost.
They began in the early 18th century when General Andrew Jackson led excursions on the north and west sides of Florida, forcing the Seminoles and other tribes to move to one large preservation in the center of the state. The government began building forts and trading posts in native territories enforcing the movement of the Indians by treaty. Their resistance began the First Seminole War in 1816.
In 1830 the Indian Removal Act sparked the second war as it required all natives to move to "Indian Territory"- the eastern side of the state of Oklahoma. A fleet of 200 Navy soldiers was sent to the east coast of Florida to capture and remove Indian tribes from the state. Navy Lt. Levin Powell found a trail inside of the Jupiter Inlet that led him and 75 soldiers to a Seminole camp near the Loxahatchee River. When the officers invaded they were outnumbered, and a long battle ensued resulting in the loss of five military men including Lt. Powell. The U.S. retreated from the Battle of the Jupiter Inlet and set up "Fort Jupiter," where over the next four years they captured and transported 600 Seminoles to Oklahoma.
At the end of the third war in 1858, American forces destroyed the remaining natives' food supply, forcing them to agree to be shipped to Oklahoma in exchange for safe passage. It is estimated 200 remaining Florida Seminoles still refused to move to Indian Country and retreated to hide in the Everglades.
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