In the 18th century Native Americans groups, collectively called “Seminoles”, moved into the areas left vacant. In 1823 the United States and the various tribes in Florida signed the Treaty of Moultrie Creek, which created a reservation in central Florida that included what is now Polk County. Starting in 1832 the United States government tried to move the Seminoles in Florida west to the Indian Territory. Most of the Seminoles resisted, resulting in the Second Seminole War, 1835–1842. By the end of that war, most of the Seminoles had been sent west, with a few remnants pushed well south of what is now Polk County. Florida became a state in 1845, and Polk County was established in 1861. After the American Civil War, the county seat was established southeast of Lakeland in Bartow. While most of Polk County’s early history centered on the two cities of Bartow and Fort Meade, eventually, people entered the areas in northern Polk County and began settling in the areas which became Lakeland.
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