Dade County got its name from Maj. Francis L. Dade, a hero of an earlier era whose saga is captured at this lovely piece of old Florida just off I-75 north of Tampa. Major Dade met his fate here in 1835 in a battle that started the Second Seminole War. He and all but three of his 106 men were killed in an ambush by Seminoles, who were resisting the U.S. government's attempts to move them to Oklahoma. The battlefield, now a peaceful park shaded by magnificent live oaks, is an interesting stop because the modern perspective is so clearly different from the historic one. The park's video is sympathetic to the Seminoles, who had welcomed former slaves as brothers, much to the chagrin of the white Southerners who were trying to force them from their land. A stroll around the park and through its exhibits is a thought-provoking history lesson. Each year, on the weekend after Christmas (the original battle was Dec. 28), the Dade Battlefield Society sponsors a reenactment of the battle. Visit the park's official site for more information.
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