Creek Indians, a group of American Indian tribes, the largest in the Muskhogean language family. Their Indian name is Muskogees. They are one of the Five Civilized Tribes. The Muskogees were living mostly on the Georgia coast when white colonists drove them inland to an area on both sides of the present Georgia-Alabama boundary. The colonists called them Creeks after a group that settled on Ocheese Creek (now the Ocmulgee River). At this time, they numbered about 18,000.
The Muskogees were a warlike people who absorbed many weaker Indian groups into a loosely organized nation known as the Creek Confederacy. After destroying many Indian groups in Florida, some Creeks moved to that area, where they and others became known as Seminoles. The Creeks tried to control white encroachment by negotiating treaties, especially in the late 1700's, when Alexander McGillivray was chief of the Creek nation. The Upper Creeks—those in east-central Alabama—rose against the United States during the War of 1812, but were defeated in what was called the Creek War (1813–14) by troops under Andrew Jackson. In the peace treaty they gave up much land, and many fled to Florida and joined the Seminoles.
In 1825 William Mclntosh and other Creek leaders were forced to cede the last of their lands to the United States. During 1836–37, all but a few Creeks were removed to what is now Oklahoma.