• banner-2
  • Culture

    1510—First recorded European contact with Seminole ancestors.

    Spanish slave ship reaches South Florida peninsula.

    1513—Spaniards claim Eastern U.S., and call it La Florida.

    1539–1543—Hernando DeSoto explores Southeast; this is the first contact with a white person for many tribes.

    1565—Spaniards establish St Augustine–first permanent European city in North America.

    1670—English settle Charles Towne, begin coastal skirmishes with Spanish.

    1690s—French settle Louisiana.

    1704–1708—English destroy Floridian Spanish missions; kill or enslave thousands of natives.

    1740—Alachua, earliest recorded Seminole town, established in North Florida.

    1763—Spain cedes Florida to England.

    1776—Revolutionary War creates United States of America.

    circa 1804—Osceola (William Powell) born near

    Tuskegee, Alabama.

    1813–1814—Creek War in Alabama forces native survivors to flee southward, where they join Florida natives. General Andrew Jackson rises to power.

    1816—First Seminole War begins after Jackson crosses into Northern Florida.

    1823—Treaty of Moultrie Creek. Seminoles give up 28 million acres, and retain 4 million.

    1833—Treaty of Payne’s Landing ratified by Congress. Promised 5 million acres in Southwest Florida to Seminoles.

    Dec. 28, 1835—Osceola leads Seminoles at Battle of Withlacoochee, slays U.S. Indian Agent Major Francis Dade,

    105 soldiers killed en route to Fort King (Ocala). Second Seminole War (1835–1842) begins.

    1837—Osceola captured under flag of truce, removed to South Carolina prison.

    Dec. 25 1837—Battle of Okeechobee. One thousand federal troops under General Zachary Taylor fight fewer than 500 Seminoles, led by Alligator, Abiaka, Jumper and others. Twentysix of 37 dead are U.S. soldiers, most of them Missouri Volunteers.

    Jan. 1838—Osceola dies in prison.

    1855—Billy Bowlegs leads attack on

    U.S. Army surveyors. Third Seminole

    War begins.

    1858—Third Seminole War officially ends with capture of Billy Bowlegs. A few hundred Seminoles, including Abiaka, remain in Big Cypress and other isolated parts of Florida. U.S. government abandons efforts to remove all Seminoles.

    1888—Trail of Tears forces 16,000 Cherokees from their eastern homeland to Oklahoma. At least 2,000 die along the way. About 3,000 Seminoles, including Wild Cat (Coacoochee) and Alligator are shipped to Oklahoma.

    1890s—Seminoles and whites begin to trade peacefully on the borders of the Everglades.

    1914–1918—Flu epidemic wipes out entire Seminole families.

    1925—Hurricane devastates Everglades wilderness, many Seminoles are left homeless.

    1928—Tamiami Trail opens, fueling the boom in South Florida tourism. Seminoles begin to sell crafts and

    wrestle alligators. Killer hurricane hits Lake Okeechobee region, whips up a tidal wave that drowns 4,000 in

    the worst natural disaster before Hurricane Andrew.

    1933—First formal education at Brighton Indian Day School, opened by teachers William and Edith


    1934—Indian Reorganization Act, promotes native self-determination. “Five Civilized Tribes;” a book written

    by Grant Foreman, arbitrarily designates Seminoles, along with Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Creek

    as civilized.

    1936—Herd of half-starved cattle arrive in Brighton from Apache. Seminole cattle industry begins.

    1946—Creation of United Indian Claims Commission.

    1947—Seminole Indians file petition with Claims Commission for a settlement to cover lost lands. Florida

    State University (FSU) students choose Seminole as official school mascot.

    1953—U.S. House Resolution proposes termination of Seminole Tribe.

    1957—Seminole Constitution ratified by vote of 241-5. Tribe gains federal status as the Seminole Tribe of

    Florida. First Tribal Council is elected; Billy Osceola, is first elected chairman; first president, Frank Billie

    resigns and is succeeded by Bill Osceola. First annual budget: $11,000.

    1962—Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida gain federal recognition.

    1963—First Seminole newspaper, Smoke Signals, published. It is renamed Alligator Times in 1973, and

    The Seminole Tribune in 1981.

    1967—Betty Mae Jumper, first woman elected to chair any tribe in North America.

    1968—Oath of Unity signed by Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes, leading to formation

    of United South and Eastern Tribes (USET).

    1971—Howard Tommie elected chairman. Eight-year term sees advent of tax-free cigarette sales, which

    boosted tribal budget to $4.5 million annually by 1976, introduces bingo, initiates negotiations for bingo.

    1979—James E. Billie elected tribal chairman. Bingo becomes biggest source of tribal income. Immokalee

    and Tampa reservations established.

    1981—U.S. Supreme Court affirms tribe’s right to high-stakes bingo on Hollywood reservation in Seminole

    Tribe of Florida vs. Butterworth. Tampa bingo hall opens.

    1987—Big Cypress and Brighton host ribbon cutting ceremonies for new Multi-Purpose Centers, aided by

    a $250,000 Federal Community Development block grant. The two centers will consist of a senior center,

    headstart center, kitchen and tribal offices.

    1988—National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act passed, limits placed on Class III games, including electronic

    video machines. Limited casinos set up on Hollywood, Immokalee and Tampa reservations.

    1990—The Seminole Tribune receives Robert F. Kennedy journalism award from Ethel Kennedy.

    The Timuguanas lived across Northeast Florida and up the St. Johns River in

    the 1500s. A Frenchman, Jacques Le Moyne, sketched Saturiwa, a great

    leader, in 1564.

    1991—Seminole Tribal Housing Authority holds groundbreaking on Brighton reservation for creation of 15

    new homes.

    1992—Seminoles in Florida and Oklahoma collect land claims against the U.S. for unconscionable acts

    during the Seminole Wars. With interest, Seminole Tribe of Florida nets almost $10 million. Independent

    Seminoles refuse to settle; funds are held in trust.

    1995—Tribe moves headquarters to new four-story building in Hollywood.

    1996—Fort Pierce reservation established.

    1996—Cattleman Fred Smith, who was tribal president longer than anyone, dies in Brighton. James Billie

    elected to record fifth term as tribal chairman. Tribal budget exceeds $100 million.

    1997—Sovereignty of tribe challenged by National Indian Gaming Commission, U.S.

    Attorney. Seminoles assume full management of gaming activities on Hollywood reservation.

    Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum opens in Big Cypress.

    1998—Tribal budget exceeds $127 million. Seminole Marketplace online shopping plaza

    opens for business. Termination of lease, and buy out of Hollywood reservation lease for

    66.85-acre property known as Candlelite Park. First Seminole sugarcane crop harvested

    reaping 10 percent more than estimated tonnage. Micco SP20, first aircraft

    produced by tribally owned Micco Aircraft Company. Tribe purchases

    1984 Gulfstream III Jet. Billie Swamp Safari receives

    200,000 visitors per year. Seminole Okalee Village re-opens.

    Tribe is largest beef producer in the United States.

    1999—First Kissimmee Slough Shootout and

    Rendezvous Re-Enactment. Gulf Stream IV-SP jet purchased.

    Groundbreaking for Coconut Creek and Brighton Casinos.

    2000—Micco SP26 Aircraft certified by FAA. Resolution passed to upgrade Tampa Four Points

    Hotel and Casino and Build Gaming complex at

    Candlelite Park property in Hollywood. Tribe manages

    all Seminole casinos: Immokalee, Hollywood,

    Coconut Creek, Brighton and Tampa.

    March 2000—Grand opening of Coconut Creek Casino.

    December 2000—Seminole Bingo and Gaming Casino opens new version of Bingo Hall from late-70s.

    2001—Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood groundbreaking, Tampa Four Points Hotel closed to make way for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.

    May 13, 2002—Official signing ceremony of Phase I for construction on Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in both Hollywood and Tampa.

    2003—Mitchell Cypress elected as chairman, Moses Osceola elected as president. Tribe sells Micco Aircraft assets.

    April 2003—Phase II construction of Hard Rock Casino Hollywood begins.

    July 2003—Grand opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. Phase I complete.

    2004—Ribbon cutting for Fort Pierce satellite office and senior center. Groundbreaking of new home sites at Hawks Landing in Fort Pierce. Seminole Tribe Motocross opens in Big Cypress.

    March 2004—Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa officially

    opens for business.

    May 2004—Grand Opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

    2007—Mitchell Cypress re-elected as chairman. Richard Bowers Jr. elected as president.

    March 5, 2007—Seminole Tribe of Florida acquires Hard Rock International. This marks the first purchase of a major corporation by a native American tribe