Group Title: Florida : from the beginning to 1992 : a Columbus jubilee commemorative
Title: Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00025122/00010
 Material Information
Title: Florida from the beginning to 1992 : a Columbus jubilee commemorative
Physical Description: xii, 204 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Coker, William S
Shofner, Jerrell H., 1929-
Morris, Joan Perry, 1935-
Malone, Myrtle Davidson
Publisher: Pioneer Publications
Place of Publication: Houston Tex. (12345 Jones Rd. Suite 103 Houston 77070-4843)
Publication Date: c1991
 Subjects
Subject: Industries -- Florida   ( lcsh )
History -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 201-203) and index.
Statement of Responsibility: by William S. Coker and Jerrell H. Shofner ; Joan Perry Morris, photo editor ; edited by Myrtle D. Malone.
Funding: Funded by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00025122
Volume ID: VID00010
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: Board of Trustees of the University of Florida on behalf of authors and contributors. All rights reserved.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001747568
oclc - 25790765
notis - AJG0402
lccn - 91066897

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Chapter 10
Spanish West Florida, 1781-1821


Spain re-conquered West Florida from the British in three military
campaigns between August 1779 and May 1781. In 1783, Britain officially
returned the colony to Spanish by Treaty. From the outset, Spanish governors
faced a new problem: a young and aggressive nation, the United States,
intent upon expanding its horizons. The history of Spanish West Florida from
1783 until 1821 is a series of conquests some diplomatic, a few military -
that ultimately resulted in Spain's loss of Florida.

West Florida Characterized

In 1783 West Florida was the largest of the two Floridas in area. The
Mississippi River and the chain of lakes north of the Isle of Orleans formed
the western boundary of the colony. The northern border was set at 32
degrees 28 minutes north latitude. The Chattahoochee and Apalachicola
rivers set the eastern limits, and the Gulf of Mexico the boundary on the
south. The northern boundary was disputed by the United States. The young
American republic claimed all of the lands north of 31 degrees north latitude.

There were only four towns or villages of any consequence in West
Florida in 1783: Pensacola, the capital; Mobile, Baton Rouge and Natchez.
Besides the forts at these towns, there were Fort Toulouse and Fort Choiseul
(York) in the interior.

Population

A very general estimate of the population of Spanish West Florida
(French, Spanish and American) would be approximately 3,660 in 1785 and
about 8,393 in 1795. This count did not include the Indian population.

The religious censuses of Pensacola, 1796-1801, indicate that about 25
per-cent of the population of Pensacola during those years was Protestant.
Figures for all of West Florida in 1795 suggest that perhaps 15 percent of the
population was Protestant.





1
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









Substantial territorial losses to the U.S. between 1795 and 1813 reduced
the area of Spanish West Florida by more than 50 percent and the overall
population decline was significant.

Panton, Leslie and Company

In 1785, Gov. Arturo O'Neill was fortunate to have William Panton and
John Forbes come to Pensacola. Together with their friend Robert Leslie,
they ran a British Indian trade company (Panton, Leslie & Co.), and were so
influential among the southern Indians that Spain granted them a license to
stay in the Floridas and continue their business. Leslie ran the company in
East Florida, while Panton came to West Florida to secure as much of the
Indian trade there as possible. He was a long-time fiend of Alexander
McGillivray, an influential Upper Creek chief (and also a silent partner in the
company). With McGillivray's assistance Panton won a virtual monopoly of
the Indian trade of West Florida. Eventually, this included the Choctaw,
Chickasaw, Upper and Lower Creeks and the Seminoles.

The company traded European-made goods mostly guns, powder, and
flints, but other goods also to the Indians in exchange for furs. Deerskins
were the most common Indian trade item. It was not unusual for a quarter of a
million deerskins to be processed through Pensacola each year. They were
sent to London for manufacture into clothing and leather goods. The company
extended credit to the Indians. This gave the tribes buying power, but it also
put them in debt. Eventually, they owed the company nearly $300,000.

To regain some of this money, the company sometimes brokered land
deals with the Indians. The company would pressure the Indians into making
huge land grants to the United States. The American Treasury would pay the
Indians in cash, then the Indians would have to pay back their debts to the
company. The United States acquired nearly nine million acres of land in
present-day Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee in this fashion.

At its peak, the Indian trade company ran trading posts extending from St.
Augustine to New Orleans, and north to Chickasaw Bluffs (Memphis).









2
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









Manifest Destiny


Beginning in 1783 and continuing until 1821, the United States began to
acquire West Florida a piece at a time. Sometimes it persuaded Spain to give
up claims to lands; sometimes it bought land through Spain or France; and
later the United States simply took land, using soldiers to occupy places like
Baton Rouge and Mobile. By 1821, the only bit of West Florida left to Spain
was the area of today's Florida Panhandle.

Treaty of 1795 (Pinckney's Treaty)

The U.S. and Spain negotiated about the territory north of the 31st parallel
for a dozen years until 1795. Then Spain finally agreed to recognize U.S.
claims north of 31 degrees north latitude. In the Treaty of 1795 (Pinckney's
Treaty), the U.S. gained sovereignty over all of the land north to the Great
Lakes and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River. This
included the Natchez district and its great agricultural lands, which were on
the threshold of the cotton boom.

The Louisiana Purchase

In 1800, Spain ceded its colony of Louisiana to France. Napoleon
Bonaparte planned to use Louisiana as a breadbasket for the French sugar-
producing islands of the Caribbean. When a great slave uprising shook the
French island of Saint Dominigue (Haiti), Napoleon needed money to send
troops there, and so in 1803 he sold Louisiana to the United States. Spain
protested, saying France could not sell the colony. It either had to keep it or
give it back to Spain. Napoleon paid no attention, and neither did President
Thomas Jefferson, who knew he had just doubled the size of the United
States by buying Louisiana.

What did the U.S. purchase? The Louisiana territory was much bigger at
that time than the present state of Louisiana. It included virtually all the lands
south of Canada, from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. Thomas
Jefferson and others argued that Louisiana also included parts of Spanish
Texas and parts of Spanish West Florida. Spanish officials were furious at
this claim, and nearly went to war with the United States over them. But there
was no armed trouble in West Florida until about 1810.





3
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









John Forbes Describes the Spanish Floridas (1804)


In order to substantiate its claim to all of West Florida after the Louisiana
Purchase, Spain commissioned the writing of a number of histories of the
area. Among those who contributed to the project was John Forbes, head of
John Forbes & Co., the successor firm to Panton, Leslie & Co.

Forbes recommended that the boundaries of West Florida be expanded.
East Florida, he said, should be reduced to roughly the eastern half of the
Florida peninsula. A captaincy general with its capital at Pensacola should be
created to govern the enlarged province of West Florida. The colony then
should be divided into two lesser political subdivisions with the governors
located at Tampa and Baton Rouge.

Forbes also suggested three things that Spain should do: reestablish
Spanish influence among the Indians; take over rights to Indian land; and
attract immigrants to occupy and make profitable the land obtained from the
Indians. To accomplish these objectives, the Spanish government should
provide $15 million, the same amount of money that the U.S. had just paid for
Louisiana. With this expenditure, the Floridas would flourish, he said.
Unfortunately, Spain had too many problems after 1804 to implement any of
Forbes' recommendations, even if they had been seriously considered.


The Republic of West Florida

As the year 1810 arrived, the country of Spain was in great trouble.
French troops had moved into much of Spain and deposed the king.
Colonies like Venezuela and Mexico were starting to call for their
















4
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









independence. There were armed uprisings against Spanish rule. Some of
this was felt even in Texas and the Floridas. In West Florida, people called
for a break with Spain. On September 23, 1810, a rebel force of 80 men
attacked the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge and quickly occupied it. Two days
later, the rebels declared their independence and created the Republic of
West Florida. They soon adopted a constitution based on the U.S.
Constitution and elected an American resident, Fulwar Skipwith, as governor.
Their flag, a white star on a blue field, made West Florida the first lone star
republic. On October 27, 1810, President James Madison decided to annex
this "republic" to the United States. He issued a proclamation that
incorporated all of the territory between the Perdido and Mississippi rivers into
the U.S. and authorized the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana to occupy
the area. As a result, the U.S. occupied the Republic of West Florida in
December 1810.

The Florida Parishes of Louisiana

In 1812, the U.S. added the former Republic of West Florida to the
Territory of Orleans and it later became a part of the state of Louisiana. The
four new parishes of Louisiana were: East Baton Rouge, New Feliciana, St.
Helena and St. Tammany. Even today, they are known as Louisiana's
"Florida" parishes.

Growth of the Mississippi Territory at Spanish Expense

The U.S. had created the Mississippi Territory in 1798. It included much of
the present-day states of Alabama and Mississippi. In 1811 the U.S.
extended its military and civil jurisdiction over the Spanish lands along the
Gulf of Mexico. Another chunk of West Florida disappeared into the United
States. In 1812, this coastal area was incorporated into the Mississippi
Territory.

The Mobile Area

The port of Mobile was the next section to go. Americans had been
unhappy with Spanish officials at Mobile. They felt the customs duties were
too high. The outbreak of the War of 1812 gave U.S. military officers in New
Orleans the excuse they needed to end Spanish rule in Mobile. On April 15,
1813, Gen. James Wilkinson took Mobile without firing a shot. In 1817, this
area of the gulf coast was incorporated into Alabama Territory and in 1819, it


5
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









became a part of the state of Alabama. Again Spain protested, but to no avail.
Spanish West Florida was now reduced to less than 50 percent of its size in
1783.


The War of 1812

Although Spain was not at war with the United States in 1812, the Spanish
Floridas felt the impact of war between America and Great Britain. American
troops moved into East Florida before the war even began. The war came to
Spanish West Florida a bit later. In 1814, British troops began to set up forts
along the Apalachicola River. They hoped to gather slaves and Indians, and
lead an invasion into the southern states of the U.S. They also wanted to use
the harbor at Pensacola for their navy, and planned to occupy Mobile as well.
All of this would lead up to an attack on New Orleans, one of the United
States' most important ports, and the one that controlled the Mississippi
River.


Andrew Jackson Invades West Florida











American military forces invaded East Florida in
1812 and West Florida in 1814. Although the
United States was not officially at war with
S- Spain, its war with England constantly spilled
over into Spanish territory.
From William Walton's History of the Army and
S.Navy of the United States, George Barrie &
SSon, Publishers, Philadelphia, 1900.

General Jackson decided to hit the British forces at Pensacola and in
November led an army out of Mobile for that purpose. The British called upon
the Spanish to help in the defense of Pensacola, but since Spain was not at
war with the U.S., they refused. When Jackson reached Pensacola, the


6
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









British evacuated the town, but they destroyed most of the forts and defenses
as they left. The British boarded their ships and went to the Apalachicola area
for their final preparations to attack New Orleans.

New Orleans and the Second Baffle for Fort Bowyer

The story of the Battle of New Orleans has often been told. Suffice it to
say that General Jackson was well prepared to defend the "Crescent City"
and the British were defeated on January 8, 1815. After the battle, the British
returned to the Mobile area and established their headquarters on Dauphin
Island. Nearby Fort Bowyer was a tempting target and in February, the British
decided to take out their frustration by attacking the fort. With forces far
superior to anything the Americans had in the area, the British surrounded
Fort Bowyer with some 38 warships and several thousand soldiers. They met
with the fort's American commander, Lt. Col. William Lawrence. They warned
him that they would utterly destroy the fort and everyone in it if he did not
surrender. Lawrence had no alternative but to give up. Two days later, the
British received word that the war was over. They abandoned Fort Bowyer
and quickly departed Mobile Bay. Thus the British won the last battle of the
War of 1812.


The Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River

After the War of 1812, a large number of blacks including some slaves
from Pensacola established themselves in an old British fort located at
Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River. A group of Creek Indians joined
them there. The fort's leader, a man named Garcon, began organizing more
than 300 people to defend the area against slave hunters and raiders. For a
while, the community of runaways on the Apalachicola was the largest group
of maroons and escaped slaves to live in Florida since the days of Fort Mose.
Plantation owners in the South, however, were determined to wipe out the
fort. As with Fort Mose, they feared the runaways at the fort would encourage
more slaves to flee from their masters or take up arms and rebel. U.S.
gunboats began to patrol the Apalachicola River, and in April 1816, a group of
blacks and Indians opened fire on one of the boat crews. Soon after,
American troops moved against Prospect Bluff. On April 27, Lt. Col. Duncan
L. Clinch and sailing master Jairus Loomis put their boats and soldiers into
position to attack the fort. A hot shot from one of Loomis' gunboats hit the
powder magazine in the fort. It exploded, killing 270 men, women, and
children. Few escaped. Garcon was captured by Indian allies of the


7
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









Americans and tortured to death. Others fled south and disappeared into the
territory of the Seminoles.



Ip













This image of Gopher John shows a black maroon who lived
\ among the Seminoles in the 1830s. Slaves, runaways, and
free men of color may have dressed like this in the early
_- "1800s if they were living in Indian territory.
..' From J.T. Sprague's Origin, Progess, and Conclusion of the
S. Florida War, D. Appleton Co., New York, 1848.


General Jackson and the First Seminole War (1817-1818)

Only a year after the destruction of the Negro Fort, the Apalachicola area
erupted into war again. This time the fight was between American troops and
the Creek and Miccosukee Indians who lived in the area. A Miccosukee
leader named Neamathla warned American settlers and soldiers to stay out of
Indian lands. When an American force came to arrest Neamathla, fighting
broke out. American troops burned down Neamathla's village of Fowltown,
and a few days later the Miccosukees retaliated by ambushing an American
supply boat as it traveled on the Apalachicola. The First Seminole War had
begun.

Gen. Andrew Jackson took charge of American troops and swept into
Florida in March 1818. He moved first against the Miccosukee towns at Lake
Miccosukee, burning 300 houses and taking away 1000 head of cattle. Then
he went south and captured the Spanish fort at San Marcos de Apalache.

8
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.









Inside the fort he found a Scottish trader named Alexander Arbuthnot and
took him prisoner, saying he was agitating the Indians against the United
States. Two Creek chiefs, Hillis Haya (also Hadjo) and Homathle Mico, were
also discovered in the fort and Jackson had them executed.

Jackson next marched to the Suwannee River against the town of the
leader Bowlegs, but the Indians and blacks living in that area abandoned it
and escaped. However, Jackson did discover and arrest two more British
subjects, Robert Ambrister and Peter Cook. He shocked his officers and
caused an international scandal by executing Arbuthnot and Ambrister as
spies and enemies of the American republic. Arbuthnot was hanged from the
yardarm of his own ship, The Last Chance, and Ambrister was shot by a firing
squad.

Probably Jackson's most daring action, however, was to move against the
city of Pensacola. The Spanish governor, Jose Masot, had no means to fight
off an American army. He abandoned Pensacola and took refuge in Fort San
Carlos de Barrancas. Jackson's forces attacked the fort, and a brief skirmish
ensued. Outmanned, outgunned, and threatened with mutiny from within,
Masot soon surrendered. Jackson ordered the Spaniards to leave Pensacola,
and an American ship took them to Havana. From May 1818 until February
1819, U.S. forces occupied Pensacola.

Jackson was already an American hero for defeating the British at New
Orleans. Now everyone knew who he was, and although many people
accused him of acting unfairly in Florida, he would eventually become the
state's first governor, and then president of the United States.


The United States Acquires the Floridas

Like East Florida, West Florida was ceded to the United States by the
provisions of the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. At the time of the transfer in
1821, there was very little left of West Florida just Pensacola and the areas
immediately around it. Andrew Jackson came back to Florida to take
possession from Col. Jose Callava on July 17, 1821. The American era of
Florida history had begun.








9
From:
Coker, William S., et al. Florida :from the beginning to 1992. Houston, TX : Pioneer
Publications, C 1991.
All rights reserved. Reprinted here with the permission of the authors. Intended for
educational use only.




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