The Seminole arose from the merging of various Native American groups who settled in Florida in the 18th century, most significantly Creeks from what is now northern Florida, Georgia and Alabama. They distanced themselves increasingly from other Creek groups, and expanded and prospered owing to their thriving trade network during Florida's British and second Spanish periods (c. 1767–1821). These settlers joined with the survivors of Florida's ancient Native American communities (Tequesta, Calusa, etc.) in the interior of south Florida. During this period, the largely autonomous Native American villages developed alliances with African-American maroons, mostly self-emancipated former slaves from the South's Low Country and some free blacks from the Spanish period of rule. These people became known as Black Seminoles, establishing towns near Native American settlements. During the Seminole Wars against the United States in the 19th century, however, particularly after the second war, most Seminole and Black Seminole were forced by the US to relocate west of the Mississippi River to Indian Territory. A smaller group – possibly fewer than 500 – refused to leave Florida and moved deep into the Everglades, where they avoided settlers and thrived in pseudo isolation. They fostered a culture of staunch independence. The modern Florida Seminole, about 17,233 at the 2010 census, Miccosukee and Traditionals descend from these survivors.