Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why didn't I know about this?

I like to consider that I'm fairly well-read, that I know more about history than the most obvious. Most people know about World War One and the Russian Revolution; but few know about the more than 170 thousand Allied troops (mostly American and Japanese) who took part in the Allied Powers' military intervention in Russia during 1918-1920.

But every now and again, I come across something which I should have know but didn't. When we think about the Indian wars in the USA, we think of the stereotypical "Western": John Wayne against the Apaches. Sometimes, if we're especially well-read, we might even think of The Last of the Mohicans.

But why had I never heard of the Seminoles before?

After you read this post, you won’t look at a 20 dollar bill - the one with Andrew Jackson’s face on it - the same way again. When you think of the wars in American history, a standard list - including the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq - come to mind. What about the Pequot War, King Philip’s War, Pontiac’s Rebellion, the Creek War, or the Black Hawk War? These were also wars we fought (King Philip’s War was the bloodiest, pound for pound, in our history), but they’re invisible. The reason - the “enemy” was native American. In this episode, I will discuss how the Seminole Indians fought three wars in Florida, holding the United States Army at bay for nearly 4 decades, resisting the Indian removal policy. The Seminoles, in fact, were never defeated in the field.

Forty years. Imagine that.

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