The ancestors of the Seminole people were either among the indigenous tribes who lived in Florida or members of the Creek confederacy living in Georgia and Alabama. The people in Florida adapted to the climate and geography of the area and lived in houses built on stilts called Chickees. Those who had settled in Georgia and Alabama lived a similar lifestyle to the Creeks as hunters and farmers, living in villages of wattle and daub houses and wearing breechcloths made from deer skin or bark fabric. Their numbers diminished due to the diseases brought by the Europeans including the Spanish, French and the British.

The Creek Confederacy were allied to the British colonies during the French and Indian Wars (1688-1763). Close contact and trade with the colonists led to the establishment of strong cultural ties between the Creek and the newcomers. The Native American Indians began to adopted the European style dress and log-cabin houses. The white encroachment of their lands in Alabama and Georgia led to the conflict known as the Creek War (1813–1814). Many Creeks fled to the former territory of the Apalachee in Spanish Florida. It was at this time that the people began to be referred to as the Seminoles. The name 'Seminole' means ""wild people" or "runaway." The Seminoles were joined by black runaway slaves, to whom they gave refuge. The Seminole and the escaped slaves were seen as a threat to Georgia, which led to the 1818 raid on Florida by General Andrew Jackson, sparking the start of the First Seminole War (1817-1818) and the Seminoles began to live in Chickee Houses that could be erected quickly and easily erected when pursued by U.S. troops. The Adams Onis Treaty was made in 1819 by which Spain sold Florida to the U.S. for $5,000,000. The Treaty of Fort Gibson was signed by which the Seminole people relinquished all claims to land in the Florida Territory. In 1832 about 3,800 Seminole people were forcibly removed to Indian Territory and organized into the "Seminole Nation" and became one of so-called "Five Civilized Tribes." Billy Bowlegs and Chief Osceola became the leaders of a Seminole resistance movement against their forced re-location to Oklahoma, and the Second Seminole War erupted. The Seminole were eventually forced to surrender and were required to move to Oklahoma where they were resettled in the western part of the Creek reservation there. A few Seminole remained in Florida.

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