Rebellion October 25, 1834     
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Osceola by Catlin
Osceola, from the 1838 oil painting by George Catlin. Smithsonian American Art Museum.
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More on Osceola: his name, plus one officer's perspective

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The English variant of his name came from the Creek words Asi-Yaholo, meaning "Black Drink Singer," which referred to a Southeastern ritual of drinking a pungent black tea (and then crying out to the deity) before important events.

By the time of the Fort King negotiations, many white officers knew Osceola under his English surname, Powell. As a leader, however, he was just establishing himself among his adopted people. His bold opposition to the Treaty of Payne's Landing fired the imaginations of both his fellow warriors and his future adversaries, as reflected in Lieutenant Sprague's account:

"What he said and did was the result of a momentary feeling, without previous consultations or understandings, which caused the experienced counsellors of the nation to treat him with great respect. He threw aside the ridiculous mummery of sages and prophets ... and openly declared his views and opinions, regardless of consequences.... Feeling conscientiously right himself, he infused the same spirit into others, who with renewed resolution adhered to their opposition to the treaty."

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Sources: Sprague Origin 100-1.
Part 2, War: Outline  l  Images
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 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 + Early Years: 1812-1832
 - War: 1832-1838
+ Prelude to War
Jackson's Rise
Payne's Landing
Creek Country
Seminole Outrage
Before the Storm
+ Revenge
+ Deceit
+ Liberty or Death
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion


A factual look at the abolitionists' legend

Porter's assessment of the legend

More on Osceola: his name, plus one officer's perspective

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