When West African slaves were brought to America, they were forced to work long, brutal hours on the rice plantations of the South. A small number of slaves known as the Black Seminoles managed to escape and build new lives across America.
The name “Black Seminoles” can be traced back to the Spanish language. The word “Cimarron” is a Spanish word which means untamed, and it is also where the word “Seminole” is derived from. Due to their skin color, they became known as the Black Seminoles.
During this time period, Native Americans still inhabited parts of the South like Florida. The escaped Black Seminoles joined forces with the Native Americans in order to stop American expansion, and to protect themselves from returning to slavery. The two forces developed a stronghold in Florida and fought to resist the Americans, but the outcome was a grim one for them.
The Americans forced the Black Seminoles and Native Americans deep into the wilds of Florida and gained control circa 1818. Regardless of the American victory, the Black Seminoles began guerrilla warfare in the 1830s. The resistance of the Seminoles and natives took the lives of nearly 2,000 American soldiers. However, by 1842, Native Americans and Black Seminoles had been forcibly removed from the South by the American Army.
The Black Seminoles and Native Americans were relocated to Oklahoma and placed under government control; this left a yearning for freedom yet again. In 1850, small numbers of Native Americans and Black Seminoles escaped and made their way into Mexico. Finally out of reach from the Americans the two groups were able to fabricate a free society for themselves. Descendants of these Black Seminoles and Native Americans still live across North America and Mexico today.