Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Brent R. Weisman, Ph.D

Committee Member

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D

Committee Member

Trevor R. Purcell, Ph.D.


Social capital, Political economy, Black seminoles, Illicit trade, Slaves, Ranchos, Wreckers, Slave resistance, Free blacks, Indian wars, Indian negroes, Maroons


The Second Seminole War in Florida, 1835-1842, was a time of disruption and upheaval for all of those unfortunate enough to occupy the territory of Florida during the seven years of this protracted battle over Seminole removal to the West. Illicit trade was a major factor which enabled the Seminoles to resist removal for such an extended period. Illicit trade requires outside assistance. Documentary evidence suggests that such assistance was rendered by Spanish fishermen, English and American wreckers, slaves, free blacks, Native Americans and white American settlers. This thesis examines the evidence for plunder and illicit trade, and the possible outlets for various classes of plunder. Evidence is examined within a political economy theoretical framework. An archaeological research design is also developed to aid in identifying and recognizing war camps and war caches in the archaeological record. Because the events and stresses of the Second Seminole War may have contributed to Seminole ethnogenesis, it is important to recognize and preserve Seminole and Black Seminole war camps and war caches.