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MICANOPY (ca. 1780-1848)

Hereditary Seminole leader Micanopy (Micco-nuppe, Michenopah) probably was born about 1780 near St. Augustine, Florida. "Chief of Chiefs," "Head Chief," "Pond Governor," or "The Governor" are translations of his name. When his predecessor, Bolek, died circa 1819, Micanopy became chief. He employed some one hundred escaped African American slaves to manage his livestock and cultivate the soil. His chieftainship included the period when, in 1819, the United States purchased Florida from Spain. As Euroamericans settled in northern Florida, the Seminoles withdrew into Florida's interior.

Pressure for Seminole removal led to the May 9, 1832, signing of the Treaty of Payne's Landing, which ceded the Seminoles' Florida homeland for lands in Indian Territory. Micanopy backed leaders such as Osceola, who opposed removal. After Osceola killed the Seminole agent, Gen. Wiley Thompson, in December 1835, Micanopy's warriors annihilated the troops of Maj. Francis L. Dade, initiating the Seminole wars.

During June 1837 a war-weary Micanopy prepared to move to Indian Territory. Later that year he was deceived and captured by Gen. Thomas S. Jesup. Micanopy was incarcerated at Charleston, South Carolina, and then removed to Indian Territory in 1838, where his authority declined. He died at Fort Gibson in December 1848.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Carolyn Thomas Foreman, "The Jumper Family of the Seminole Nation," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 34 (Autumn 1956). Bruce E. Johansen and Donald A. Grinde, Jr., The Encyclopedia of Native American Biography: Six Hundred Life Stories of Important People, From Powhatan to Wilma Mankiller (New York: Henry Holt, 1997). Edwin C. McReynolds, The Seminoles (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1957).

Bruce E. Johansen

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