The Seminole Indians began to emerge as a distinct community in the late 1700s. Without a cohesive identity at first, they gradually formed as a coalition of tribes from the Southeast. A few members of the coalition descended from Florida's pre-colonial residents, such as the Timucuas, Apalachees, and Yuchis, communities that were decimated by colonial conflicts but never completely wiped out.
The vast majority of people who came to be known as Seminoles, however, were recent emigrants. Driven south by civil conflicts and the allure of a free wilderness, Hitchiti- and Muskogee-speakers descended on the region in waves from 1740 to 1820. Most of the newcomers had strong ties to the Muskogee Creeks of Alabama and Georgia. Even after the Seminoles gained their own identity, many were still referred to as "Lower Creeks," designating their cultural origins to the
Covington Seminoles 13, Mulroy 6-7, Mahon 4-7.