The Territorial Period (1821-1845)
Only three Spanish soldiers were in residence at Fort Matanzas when the United States took possession in 1821. The interior was in ruins, and the gun platform's east wall and its foundation had cracked. The U.S. Army sent an inspector who reported that the tower was obsolete and had only historical value. Although owned by the War Department, Fort Matanzas was never occupied by the United States army.
These early years as part of the United States were years of conflict for Florida. For years Indian groups who had been pushed off their land in Georgia and Alabama by white settlers had found refuge in Spanish Florida. These Indians, primarily Creeks, along with escaped African slaves, became known as Cimmarones or wild ones, the probable origin of the word Seminole. However, once Florida became a territory of the United States, these Indians were no longer safe. The US Army raided their settlements, and the Seminoles and whites engaged in a series of long, expensive wars ending with 4000 -5000 Seminoles being shipped to reservations in Oklahoma, and the tattered remnants of a proud people finally finding some refuge in the wilds of the Everglades. Read More . . .