led the Seminole Indians in Florida
~1804 - 1838
Osceola led the Seminole Indians in Florida during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). He fought attempts by the United States Army to move the tribe west of the Mississippi River to the Indian Territory.
Osceola was born in a Creek Indian village near the Tallapoosa River in what is now eastern Alabama. The name Osceola, or Asi-Yaholo, comes from asi, a drink containing caffeine; and Yaholo, a cry shouted by the men who served asi during tribal ceremonies. After the Creek War (1813-1814), Osceola and many Creeks retreated to Florida and joined the Seminole.
During the 1820's, Osceola became known as a successful hunter and war leader. His warriors defeated United States troops in several battles early in the Second Seminole War. In 1837, Osceola met with U.S. troops under a flag of truce to discuss peace. But General Thomas Jesup ordered the troops to capture him and put him in prison. Osceola died soon afterward in the Fort Moultrie prison near Charleston, S.C.
Many Americans were outraged by Jesup's trickery, and the Army's reputation fell sharply. Osceola won widespread respect. Several towns and counties were named for him.
Contributor: Michael D. Green, Ph.D., Prof. of History, Univ. of Kentucky.
SOURCE: IBM 1999 WORLD BOOK
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