The pale green of the sawgrass forms a perfect background for
the delicate color of the hyacinths and water lilies that crowd the
waterways. As infrequent alligator or crocodile rolls sluggishly in the
waters, and otters move slickly and silently.
Foxes, boars and panthers roam the 'Glades as well as deer and
raccoons. Water moccasins, rattlers and coral snakes menace the
explorer. Birds soar and drop and soar again. And over all is the loud
silence of uninhabited places.
When the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821,
Indian troubles began and for more than two decades the United States
Army was called upon to protect settlers and drive the Indians from
lands coveted by the white man. It was believed that all trouble could be
stamped out by the apparently simple plan of removing the Indians to a
reservation in Arkansas. The fiercely home-loving Seminole fought
bitterly every stop of the way.
Isti-si-me-le had been corrupted in time to the word "Seminole."
Some authorities assert that 'Insti' means human being and others claim
Insti-si-me-le meat wild men. One thing is certain, however, and that is
that these people were not only wild in war, but wild with the love of
home. Little wonder then that they fought savagely and with cunning,
fearful of capture; the Maroons by their side, fearful of re-capture.