Rebellion 1800 - 1860     
spacerHomespacer spacerOverviewspacer spacerTrail Narrativespacer spacerHighlightsspacer spacerMapsspacer spacerResourcesspacer spacerImagesspacer spacer

John Ross, Cherokee chief and slaveholder

John Ross, the famous Cherokee chief, owned 100 African slaves in the early 1800s. Cherokees were valuable allies of American slaveholders from at least the Yamasee War (1714) through the U.S. Civil War, when the Cherokees sided with the confederacy. Hand-colored lithograph from the McKenney-Hall History of the Indian tribes of North America (1858), after an 1825 painting by Charles Bird King.
View an image enlargement
Previous slide Next slide
Seminole slavery slide tickerslide ticker

Indians from the Cherokee, Creek, and other "Civilized Tribes" of the Southeast emulated the southern American approach to slavery. Their practice of the institution had roots in the colonial period, when the British encouraged Indians to hold African slaves as a way to control their own problems with runaways. By the early 1800s, the southeastern tribes were adopting increasingly harsh slave codes and individual Indians were enlarging their slave holdings. Not long after John Horse's birth, chiefs in Georgia and Mississippi would rank among those states' largest slaveholders.

Previous slidespacerspacer

Sources: Genovese 74, Littlefield Creeks 159-161, Littlefield Seminoles 200-201, Bolt 5, 164.
Part 1, Early Years: Outline  l  Images
spacer spacer
 Trail Narrative
 + Prologue
 + Background: 1693-1812
 - Early Years: 1832-1838
+ World at Birth
spacer spacer 1812
Seminole Slavery
Living Conditions
Afro-Indian Culture
+ Encroaching America
+ A New Country
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion