Cameo of Chief Billy Bowlegs

  • This important cameo brooch features the visage of Seminole Indian chief Billy Bowlegs
  • Bowlegs was among the last and the most resilient Seminole War leaders
  • This cameo represents the man's enduring legacy and historic importance
  • Carved from labradorite, the piece shimmers with a lovely blue iridescence
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-8581

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One of history's most important American Indian leaders, Seminole Indian chief Billy Bowlegs (also known as Holata Micco, or "Alligator Chief"), is represented in this exceptionally rare cameo brooch. He is faithfully depicted in the distinctive clothing of the Seminole tribe, including a feather headdress and large hoop earring. Intricately carved from a stunning specimen of labradorite, the cameo shimmers with a lovely blue iridescence that brings this legendary figure to life. 

Descended from a line of Seminole Indian chiefs, Bowlegs was among the last and the most resilient Seminole War leaders. He rose to power during the Second Seminole War, when his successful use of guerrilla warfare frustrated the attempts of American military forces to remove American Indians from Florida. Bowlegs' warriors were counted among the most fearsome of the Seminole tribes - when hostilities ended in 1842, they were considered the most prominent survivors. 

Peace lasted for several years, until fighting broke out again in 1855 after a group of surveyors destroyed plants and property in Seminole territory. Bowlegs responded by again engaging in guerrilla warfare, beginning the Third Seminole War. After several years of attacks, Bowlegs and his tribe agreed to relocate to Indian Territory in Arkansas in 1858.

Tales of Bowlegs' resistance remain legendary in Florida and beyond. After his death in 1859, a number of Seminole warriors adopted the name Billy Bowlegs to honor the fallen chief, while a spring in Fort Myers, Florida also bears his name. This cameo represents the man's enduring legacy and historic importance.

Circa 1855

1 5/8" high x 1 5/16" wide
Cameo of Chief Billy Bowlegs
Period: 19th Century
Origin: America
Type: Brooches
Depth: 0.5 Inches
Width: 1.31 Inches
Height: 1.63 Inches

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