After destruction of the Ocali (around 1700), the interior of Florida once again became a 'Forest Preserve' inhabited only by the animals. All the people were gone.
Into Florida came bands of Yamassee, Creeks, and others to distance themselves from the 'Whites' and farm the abandoned Ocali corn fields. Speaking a variety of languages but mostly variants of Muskogee, the Spanish called them 'Cimarron's' or runaways. By the latter half of the 18th century, the conglomerate would become known by the Americanized word 'Seminoles'. The mid-1700's was a time of peace in Florida. Deep in the Forest, unmolested by invaders, the Seminoles bartered with the Spanish , trading deerskins, furs, dried fish, beeswax and honey for coffee, sugar, liquor, and tobacco. It was an exchange of healthy products of the Forest for unhealthy products of the Plantations. By the time William Bartram visited the Seminoles at their main town of Cuscowilla (modern Micanopy) in 1774, they had become cattle ranchers. Their chief's English name was 'Cow Keeper' reflecting his position as business manager of the Seminole's vast cattle herds. In Florida, the first 'cowboys' were Indians.
The Seminole's 'Good Times' were about to end. Encroaching on them from the north were wave after wave of American Pioneers from Georgia and South Carolina seeking new lands to settle. Following in ranks behind the Settlers were whiskey peddlers, cattle thieves, and slavers.
The general peace lasted another 30 years after Bartram's visit, but Florida was becoming increasingly violent. Murderous border raids typified the first 20 years of the 19th Century. These raids, mostly initiated by American Settlers, were retaliated in kind by Seminoles. It was an eye for an eye, a scalp for a scalp. All that was needed to ignite the powder keg into a full-fledged war was a broken treaty, an insulting lack of justice, and a firebrand leader. By late 1835 all pieces of the powder keg were in place and awaiting a spark. The 'Land of Flowers' was about to be painted red with blood.