Spanish Florida

Last updated
Government of Florida
La Florida
Territory of New Spain
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Red Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svg
1513–1763
1783–1821
Red Ensign of Great Britain (1707-1800).svg
 
Flag of the United States (1820-1822).svg
Flag of New Spain.svg Royal standard of Castile (1503)
Cross of Burgundy (1565)
First national flag of Spain (1785)
Motto
Plus Ultra
(Further Beyond)
Anthem
Marcha Real
(Royal March)
Location of New Spain Pinckney's Treaty line 1795.png
Location of New Spain
Spanish Florida after Pinckney's Treaty in 1795
Capital St. Augustine
Government Monarchy
History
  Spanish exploration and settlement1513–1698
   Transferred to Britain 1763
   Returned to Spain 1783
   Pinckney's Treaty 1795
   Occupation of Pensacola 1814
   Adams–Onís Treaty signed1819
   Adams–Onís Treaty ratified. Joined U.S. 1821
Today part of United States

Spanish Florida (Spanish : La Florida) was the first major European land claim and attempted settlement in North America during the European Age of Discovery. La Florida formed part of the Captaincy General of Cuba, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and the Spanish Empire during Spanish colonization of the Americas. While its boundaries were never clearly or formally defined, the territory was much larger than the present-day state of Florida, extending over much of what is now the southeastern United States, including all of present-day Florida plus portions of Georgia, [1] Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, [2] and southeastern Louisiana. Spain's claim to this vast area was based on several wide-ranging expeditions mounted during the 16th century. A number of missions, settlements, and small forts existed in the 16th and to a lesser extent in the 17th century; eventually they were abandoned due to pressure from the expanding English and French colonial projects, the collapse of the native populations, and the general difficulty in becoming agriculturally or economically self-sufficient (which also affected some early English colonies). By the 18th century, Spain's control over La Florida did not extend much beyond its three forts, all located in present-day Florida: St. Augustine, St. Marks, and Pensacola.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Age of Discovery Period of European global exploration

The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration, is an informal and loosely defined term for the period in European history in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and which was the beginning of globalization. It also marks the rise of the period of widespread adoption in Europe of colonialism and mercantilism as national policies. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered by them during this period, though most were already inhabited. From the perspective of many non-Europeans, the Age of Discovery marked the arrival of invaders from previously unknown continents.

Captaincy General of Cuba Spanish 1607–1898 possession in the Caribbean

The Captaincy General of Cuba was an administrative district of the Spanish Empire created in 1607 as part of Habsburg Spain's attempt to better defend the Caribbean against foreign powers, which also involved creating captaincies general in Puerto Rico, Guatemala and Yucatán. The restructuring of the Captaincy General in 1764 was the first example of the Bourbon Reforms in America. The changes included adding the provinces of Florida and Louisiana and granting more autonomy for these provinces. This later change was carried out by the Count of Floridablanca under Charles III to strengthen the Spanish position vis-a-vis the British in the Caribbean. A new governor-captain general based in Havana oversaw the administration of the new district. The local governors of the larger Captaincy General had previously been overseen in political and military matters by the president of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo. This audiencia retained oversight of judicial affairs until the establishment of new audiencias in Puerto Príncipe (1800) and Havana (1838). In 1825, as a result of the loss of the mainland possessions, the Spanish government granted the governors-captain generals of Cuba extraordinary powers in matters of administration, justice and the treasury and in the second half of the 19th century gave them the title of Governor General.

Contents

Florida was never more than a backwater region for Spain. In contrast with Mexico and Peru, there was no gold to be found. There was insufficient native population to set up the encomienda system of forced agricultural labor, and Spaniards did not set up plantations in Florida. The missions did supply St. Augustine with maize, and were required to send laborers to St. Augustine every year to work in the fields and perform other labor. Spanish officials established cattle ranches which supplied both the local and the Cuban markets. It provided ports where ships needing water or supplies could call, and it had strategic importance as a buffer between Mexico (New Spain), whose undefined northeastern border was somewhere near the Mississippi River, Spain's Caribbean colonies, and the expanding English colonies to the north.

Encomienda labor system used by the Spanish crown during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Philippines

Encomienda was a Spanish labor system. It rewarded conquerors with the labor of particular groups of subject people. It was first established in Spain following the Christian conquest of Muslim territories. It was applied on a much larger scale during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Philippines. Conquered peoples were considered vassals of the Spanish monarch. The Crown awarded an encomienda as a grant to a particular individual. In the conquest era of the sixteenth century, the grants were considered to be a monopoly on the labor of particular groups of Indians, held in perpetuity by the grant holder, called the encomendero, and his descendants.

New Spain viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire (1535-1821)

The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a viceroyalty, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.

Spanish Florida was established in 1513, when Juan Ponce de León claimed peninsular Florida for Spain during the first official European expedition to North America. This claim was enlarged as several explorers (most notably Pánfilo Narváez and Hernando de Soto) landed near Tampa Bay in the mid-1500s and wandered as far north as the Appalachian Mountains and as far west as Texas in largely unsuccessful searches for gold and other riches[ clarification needed ]. The presidio of St. Augustine was founded on Florida's Atlantic coast in 1565; a series of missions were established across the Florida panhandle, Georgia, and South Carolina during the 1600s; and Pensacola was founded on the western Florida panhandle in 1698, strengthening Spanish claims to that section of the territory.

Juan Ponce de León 16th-century Spanish explorer and conquistador

Juan Ponce de León, commonly known as Ponce de León, was a Spanish explorer and conquistador known for leading the first official European expedition to Florida and the first governor of Puerto Rico. He was born in Santervás de Campos, Valladolid, Spain in 1474. Though little is known about his family, he was of noble birth and served in the Spanish military from a young age. He first came to the Americas as a "gentleman volunteer" with Christopher Columbus's second expedition in 1493.

Narváez expedition

The Narváez expedition was a Spanish journey of exploration and colonization started in 1527 that intended to establish colonial settlements and garrisons in Florida. The expedition was initially led by Pánfilo de Narváez, who died in 1528. More men died as the expedition traveled west along the unexplored Gulf Coast of the present-day United States and into the American Southwest. Only four of the expedition's original members survived, reaching Mexico City in 1536. These survivors were the first known Europeans and Africans to see the Mississippi River, and to cross the Gulf of Mexico and Texas.

Hernando de Soto Spanish explorer and conquistador

Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula, and played an important role in Pizarro's conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, but is best known for leading the first Spanish and European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States. He is the first European documented as having crossed the Mississippi River.

Spanish control of the Florida peninsula was much facilitated by the collapse of native cultures during the 17th century. Several Native American groups (including the Timucua, Calusa, Tequesta, Apalachee, Tocobaga, and the Ais people) had been long-established residents of Florida, and most resisted Spanish incursions onto their land. However, conflict with Spanish expeditions, raids by the English and their native allies, and (especially) diseases brought from Europe resulted in a drastic decline in the population of all the indigenous peoples of Florida, and large swaths of the peninsula were mostly uninhabited by the early 1700s. During the mid-1700s, small bands of Creek and other Native American refugees began moving south into Spanish Florida after having been forced off their lands by English settlements and raids. They were later joined by African-Americans fleeing slavery in nearby colonies. These newcomers – plus perhaps a few surviving descendants of indigenous Florida peoples – eventually coalesced into a new Seminole culture.

Timucua Native American people

The Timucua were a Native American people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia. They were the largest indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, many leading thousands of people. The various groups of Timucua spoke several dialects of the Timucua language. At the time of European contact, Timucuan speakers occupied about 19,200 square miles (50,000 km2) in the present-day states of Florida and Georgia, with an estimated population of 200,000. Milanich notes that the population density calculated from those figures, 10.4 per square mile (4.0/km2) is close to the population densities calculated by other authors for the Bahamas and for Hispaniola at the time of first European contact. The territory occupied by Timucua speakers stretched from the Altamaha River and Cumberland Island in present-day Georgia as far south as Lake George in central Florida, and from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Aucilla River in the Florida Panhandle, though it reached the Gulf of Mexico at no more than a couple of points.

Calusa Native American people who lived on the coast and along the inner waterways of Floridas southwest coast

The Calusa were a Native American people of Florida's southwest coast. Calusa society developed from that of archaic peoples of the Everglades region. Previous indigenous cultures had lived in the area for thousands of years.

Tequesta Native American people

The Tequesta Native American tribe, at the time of first European contact, occupied an area along the southeastern Atlantic coast of Florida. They had infrequent contact with Europeans and had largely migrated by the middle of the 18th century.

The extent of Spanish Florida began to shrink in the 1600s, and the mission system was gradually abandoned due to native depopulation. Between disease, poor management, and ill-timed hurricanes, several Spanish attempts to establish new settlements in La Florida ended in failure. With no gold or silver in the region, Spain regarded Florida (and particularly the heavily fortified town of St. Augustine) primarily as a buffer between its more prosperous colonies to the south and west and several newly established rival European colonies to the north. The establishment of the Province of Carolina by the English in 1639, New Orleans by the French in 1718, and of the Province of Georgia by Great Britain in 1732 limited the boundaries of Florida over Spanish objections. The War of Jenkins' Ear (1739–1748) included a British attack on St. Augustine and a Spanish invasion of Georgia, both of which were repulsed. At the conclusion of the war, the northern boundary of Spanish Florida was set near the current northern border of modern-day Florida.

Province of Carolina Colony in North America

The Province of Carolina was an English and later a British colony of North America. Carolina was founded in what is present-day North Carolina. Carolina expanded south and, at its greatest extent, nominally included the present-day states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, and parts of modern Florida and Louisiana.

New Orleans Largest city in Louisiana

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With an estimated population of 393,292 in 2017, it is the most populous city in Louisiana. A major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

Louisiana (New France) Administrative district of New France

Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control 1682 to 1762 and 1801 (nominally) to 1803, the area was named in honor of King Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. It originally covered an expansive territory that included most of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River and stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.

Great Britain temporarily gained control of Florida beginning in 1763 as a result of the Anglo-Spanish War, but while Britain occupied the territory, it did not develop it further. Sparsely populated British Florida stayed loyal to the Crown during the American Revolutionary War, and by the terms of the Treaty of Paris which ended the war, the territory was returned to Spain in 1783. After a brief diplomatic border dispute with the fledgling United States, the countries set a territorial border and allowed Americans free navigation of the Mississippi River by the terms of Pinckney's Treaty in 1795.

Anglo-Spanish War (1762–63) 1762–1763 war between Britain and Spain as part of the Seven Years War

The Anglo–Spanish War was a military conflict fought between Britain and Spain as part of the Seven Years' War. It lasted from January 1762 until February 1763 when the Treaty of Paris brought it to an end.

The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War. The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States, on lines "exceedingly generous" to the latter. Details included fishing rights and restoration of property and prisoners of war.

Mississippi River largest river system in North America

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

France sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803. The U.S. claimed that the transaction included West Florida, while Spain insisted that the area was not part of Louisiana and was still Spanish territory. In 1810, the United States intervened in a local uprising in West Florida, and by 1812, the Mobile District was absorbed into the U.S. territory of Mississippi, reducing the borders of Spanish Florida to that of modern Florida.

In the early 1800s, tensions rose along the unguarded border between Spanish Florida and the state of Georgia as settlers skirmished with Seminoles over land and American slave-hunters raided Black Seminole villages in Florida. These tensions were exacerbated when the Seminoles aided Great Britain against the United States during the War of 1812 and led to American military incursions into northern Florida beginning in late 1814 during what became known as the First Seminole War. As with earlier American incursions into Florida, Spain protested this invasion but could not defend its territory, and instead opened diplomatic negotiations seeking a peaceful transfer of land. By the terms of the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, Spanish Florida ceased to exist in 1821, when control of the territory was officially transferred to the United States.

Discovery and early exploration

Florida from the 1502 Cantino planisphere Cantino Map - 1502 - Florida.jpg
Florida from the 1502 Cantino planisphere

European discovery

Juan Ponce de León is generally credited as being the first European to discover Florida. However, that may not have been the case. Spanish raiders from the Caribbean may have conducted small secret raids in Florida to capture and enslave native Floridians at some time between 1500 and 1510. [3] :107 [4] Furthermore, the Portuguese Cantino planisphere of 1502 and several other European maps dating from the first decade of the 16th century show a landmass near Cuba that several historians have identified as Florida. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] This interpretation has led to the theory that anonymous Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to map the southeastern portion of the future United States, including Florida. This view is disputed by at least an equal number of historians. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

Juan Ponce de León Expedition

Juan Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain in 1513 RUIDIAZ(1893) 1.083 JUAN PONCE DE LEON.jpg
Juan Ponce de León claimed Florida for Spain in 1513

In 1512 Juan Ponce de León, governor of Puerto Rico, received royal permission to search for land north of Cuba. On March 3, 1513, his expedition departed from Punta Aguada, Puerto Rico, sailing north in three ships. [15] In late March, he spotted a small island (almost certainly one of the Bahamas) but did not land. On April 2, Ponce de León spotted the east coast of the Florida peninsula and went ashore the next day at an exact location that has been lost to time. [16] Assuming that he had found a large island, he claimed the land for Spain and named it La Florida, because it was the season of Pascua Florida ("Flowery Easter") and because much of the vegetation was in bloom. [17] After briefly exploring the area around their landing site, the expedition returned to their ships and sailed south to map the coast, encountering the Gulf Stream along the way. The expedition followed Florida's coastline all the way around the Florida Keys and north to map a portion of the Southwest Florida coast before returning to Puerto Rico.

Ponce de León did not have substantial documented interactions with Native Americans during his voyage. However, the peoples he met (likely the Timucua, Tequesta, and Calusa) were mostly hostile at first contact and knew a few Castilian words, lending credence to the idea that they had already been visited by Spanish raiders. [3] :106–110

Popular legend has it that Ponce de León was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he discovered Florida. However, the first mention of Ponce de León allegedly searching for water to cure his aging (he was only 40) came after his death, more than twenty years after his voyage of discovery, and the first that placed the Fountain of Youth in Florida was thirty years after that. It is much more likely that Ponce de León, like other Spanish conquistadors in the Americas, was looking for gold, land to colonize and rule for Spain, and Indians to convert to Christianity or enslave. [18] [4]

Other early expeditions

Other Spanish voyages to Florida quickly followed Ponce de León's return. Sometime in the period from 1514 to 1516, Pedro de Salazar led an officially sanctioned raid which enslaved as many as 500 Indians along the Atlantic coast of the present-day southeastern United States. Diego Miruelo mapped what was probably Tampa Bay in 1516, Francisco Hernández de Cordova mapped most of Florida's Gulf coast to the Mississippi River in 1517, and Alonso Álvarez de Pineda sailed and mapped the central and western Gulf coast to the Yucatán Peninsula in 1519.

First colonization attempts

In 1521, Ponce de León sailed from Cuba with 200 men in two ships to establish a colony on the southwest coast of the Florida peninsula, probably near Charlotte Harbor. However, attacks by the native Calusa drove the colonists away in July 1521. After the skirmish, Ponce de León was wounded as he had an arrow sticking out of his thigh. However, that was not the only injury he had during the battle. [19] Ponce de León died of his injuries upon the expedition's return to Havana. [20]

In 1521 Pedro de Quejo and Francisco Gordillo enslaved 60 Indians at Winyah Bay, South Carolina. Quejo, with the backing of Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, returned to the region in 1525, stopping at several locations between Amelia Island and the Chesapeake Bay. In 1526 de Ayllón led an expedition of some 600 people to the South Carolina coast. After scouting possible locations as far south as Ponce de Leon Inlet in Florida, the settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape was established in the vicinity of Sapelo Sound, Georgia. Disease, hunger, cold and Indian attacks led to San Miguel being abandoned after only two months. About 150 survivors returned to Spanish settlements. [3] :111–115 Dominican friars Fr. Antonio de Montesinos and Fr. Anthony de Cervantes were among the colonists. Given that at the time priests were obliged to say mass each day, it is historically safe to assert that Catholic Mass was celebrated in what is today the United States for the first time by these Dominicans, even though the specific date and location remains unclear. [21]

Narváez expedition

In 1527 Pánfilo de Narváez left Spain with five ships and about 600 people on a mission to explore and to settle the coast of the Gulf of Mexico between the existing Spanish settlements in Mexico and Florida. After storms and delays, the expedition landed near Tampa Bay on April 12, 1528, already short on supplies, with about 400 people. Confused as to the location of Tampa Bay (Milanich notes that a navigation guide used by Spanish pilots at the time placed Tampa Bay some 90 miles too far north), Narváez sent his ships in search of it while most of the expedition marched northward, supposedly to meet the ships at the bay.

Intending to find Tampa Bay, Narváez marched close to the coast, through what turned out to be a largely uninhabited territory. The expedition was forced to subsist on the rations they had brought with them until they reached the Withlacoochee River, where they finally encountered Indians. Seizing hostages, the expedition reached the Indians' village, where they found corn. Further north they were met by a chief who led them to his village on the far side of the Suwannee River. The chief, Dulchanchellin, tried to enlist the Spanish as allies against his enemies, the Apalachee.

Seizing Indians as guides, the Spaniards traveled northwest towards the Apalachee territory. Milanich suggests that the guides led the Spanish on a circuitous route through the roughest country they could find. In any case, the expedition did not find the larger Apalachee towns. By the time the expedition reached Aute, a town near the Gulf Coast, it had been under attack by Indian archers for many days. Plagued by illness, short rations, and hostile Indians, Narváez decided to sail to Mexico rather than attempt an overland march. Two hundred and forty-two men set sail on five crude rafts. All the rafts were wrecked on the Texas coast. After eight years, four survivors, including Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, reached New Spain (Mexico). A fifth, Juan Ortiz, escaped from captivity with the Indians after 12 years.

De Soto expedition

Hernando de Soto had been one of Francisco Pizarro's chief lieutenants in the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, and had returned to Spain a very wealthy man. He was appointed Adelantado of Florida and governor of Cuba and assembled a large expedition to 'conquer' Florida. On May 30, 1539, de Soto and his companions landed in Tampa Bay, where they found Juan Ortiz, who had been captured by the local Indians a decade earlier when he was sent ashore from a ship searching for Narváez. Ortiz passed on the Indian reports of riches, including gold, to be found in Apalachee, and de Soto set off with 550 soldiers, 200 horses, and a few priests and friars. De Soto's expedition lived off the land as it marched. De Soto followed a route further inland than that of Narváez's expedition, but the Indians remembered the earlier disruptions caused by the Spanish and were wary when not outright hostile. De Soto seized Indians to serve as guides and porters.

The expedition reached Apalachee in October and settled into the chief Apalachee town of Anhaica for the winter, where they found large quantities of stored food, but little gold or other riches. In the spring de Soto set out to the northeast, crossing what is now Georgia and South Carolina into North Carolina, then turned westward, crossed the Great Smoky Mountains into Tennessee, then marched south into Georgia. Turning westward again, the expedition crossed Alabama. They lost all of their baggage in a fight with Indians near Choctaw Bluff on the Alabama River, and spent the winter in Mississippi. In May 1541 the expedition crossed the Mississippi River and wandered through present-day Arkansas, Missouri and possibly Kansas before spending the winter in Oklahoma. In 1542 the expedition headed back to the Mississippi River, where de Soto died. Three hundred and ten survivors returned from the expedition in 1543.

Ochuse and Santa Elena

Although the Spanish had lost hope of finding gold and other riches in Florida, it was seen as vital to the defense of their colonies and territories in Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1559 Tristán de Luna y Arellano left Mexico with 500 soldiers and 1,000 civilians on a mission to establish colonies at Ochuse (Pensacola Bay) and Santa Elena (Port Royal Sound). The plan was to land everybody at Ochuse, with most of the colonists marching overland to Santa Elena. A tropical storm struck five days after the fleet's arrival at the Bay of Ochuse, sinking ten of the thirteen ships along with the supplies that had not yet been unloaded. Expeditions into the interior failed to find adequate supplies of food. Most of the colony moved inland to Nanicapana, renamed Santa Cruz, where some food had been found, but it could not support the colony and the Spanish returned to Pensacola Bay. In response to a royal order to immediately occupy Santa Elena, Luna sent three small ships, but they were damaged in a storm and returned to Mexico. Angel de Villafañe replaced the discredited Luna in 1561, with orders to withdraw most of the colonists from Ochuse and occupy Santa Elena. Villafañe led 75 men to Santa Elena, but a tropical storm damaged his ships before they could land, forcing the expedition to return to Mexico.

Settlement and fortification

The establishment of permanent settlements and fortifications in Florida by Spain was in response to the challenge posed by French Florida: French captain Jean Ribault led an expedition to Florida, and established Charlesfort on what is now Parris Island, South Carolina, in 1562. However, the French Wars of Religion prevented Ribault from returning to resupply the fort, and the men abandoned it. [22] :196–199 Two years later, René Goulaine de Laudonnière, Ribault's lieutenant on the previous voyage, set out to found a haven for Protestant Huguenot colonists in Florida. He founded Fort Caroline at what is now Jacksonville in July 1564. Once again, however, a resupplying mission by Ribault failed to arrive, threatening the colony. Some mutineers fled Fort Caroline to engage in piracy against Spanish colonies, causing alarm among the Spanish government. Laudonnière nearly abandoned the colony in 1565, but Jean Ribault finally arrived with supplies and new settlers in August. [22] :199–200

At the same time, in response to French activities, King Philip II of Spain appointed Pedro Menéndez de Avilés Adelantado of Florida, with a commission to drive non-Spanish adventurers from all of the land from Newfoundland to St. Joseph Bay (on the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico). [23] Menéndez de Avilés reached Florida at the same time as Ribault in 1565, and established a base at San Agustín (St. Augustine in English), the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in what is now the continental United States. [24] Menéndez de Avilés quickly set out to attack Fort Caroline, traveling overland from St. Augustine. At the same time, Ribault sailed from Fort Caroline, intending to attack St. Augustine from the sea. The French fleet, however, was pushed out to sea and decimated by a squall. Meanwhile, the Spanish overwhelmed the lightly defended Fort Caroline, sparing only the women and children. [22] :200–202 [25] Some 25 men were able to escape. When the Spanish returned south and found the French shipwreck survivors, Menéndez de Avilés ordered all of the Huguenots executed. [25] :94 The location became known as Matanzas . [22] :202

The 1565 marriage in St. Augustine between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville, and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian conquistador, was the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in what is now the continental United States. [26]

Following the expulsion of the French, the Spanish renamed Fort Caroline Fort San Mateo (Saint Matthew). [25] Two years later, Dominique de Gourgues recaptured the fort from the Spanish and slaughtered all of the Spanish defenders. However, he did not leave a garrison, and France would not attempt to settle in Florida again. [27]

Missions and conflicts

In 1549, Father Luis de Cáncer and three other Dominicans attempted the first solely missionary expedition in la Florida. Following decades of native contact with Spanish laymen who had ignored a 1537 Papal Bull which condemned slavery in no uncertain terms, the religious order's effort was abandoned after only 6 weeks with de Cancer's brutal martyrdom by Tocobaga natives. His death sent shock waves through the Dominican missionary community in New Spain for many years.

In 1566, the Spanish established the colony of Santa Elena on what is now Parris Island, South Carolina. [25] :95 Juan Pardo led two expeditions (1566-7 and 1567-8) from Santa Elena as far as eastern Tennessee, establishing six temporary forts in interior. The Spanish abandoned Santa Elena and the surrounding area in 1587. [28]

In 1586, English sea captain Francis Drake plundered and burned St. Augustine, including a fortification that was under construction, while returning from raiding Santo Domingo and Cartagena in the Caribbean. [29] :429 [30] His raids exposed Spain's inability to properly defend her settlements. [30]

The Jesuits had begun establishing missions to the Native Americans in Florida in 1567, but withdrew in 1572 after hostile encounters with the natives. [29] :311 In 1573 Franciscans assumed responsibility for missions to the Native Americans, eventually operating dozens of missions to the Guale, Timucua and Apalachee tribes. [31] The missions were not without conflict, and the Guale first rebelled on October 4, 1597, in what is now coastal Georgia. [32] :954

The extension of the mission system also provided a military strategic advantage from British troops arriving from the North. [29] :311 During the hundred-plus year span of missionary expansion, disease from the Europeans had a significant impact on the natives, along with the rising power of the French and British. [33] During the Queen Anne's War, the British dismantled most of the missions. [33] By 1706, the missionaries abandoned their mission outposts and returned to St. Augustine.

Period of friendship

An excerpt from the British-American Mitchell Map, showing northern Spanish Florida, the old mission road from St. Augustine to St. Mark's, and text describing the Carolinian raids of 1702-1706. Mitchell Map-excerpt03.jpg
An excerpt from the British–American Mitchell Map, showing northern Spanish Florida, the old mission road from St. Augustine to St. Mark's, and text describing the Carolinian raids of 1702–1706.

Spanish Governor Pedro de lbarra worked at establishing peace with the native cultures to the South of St. Augustine. An account is recorded of his meeting with great Indian caciques (chiefs). [34] Ybarra (Ibarra) in 1605 sent Álvaro Mexía, a cartographer, on a mission further South to meet and develop diplomatic ties with the Ais Indian nation, and to make a map of the region. His mission was successful.

In February 1647, the Apalachee revolted. [32] :27 The revolt changed the relationship between Spanish authorities and the Apalachee. Following the revolt, Apalachee men were forced to work on public projects in St. Augustine or on Spanish-owned ranches. [35] In 1656, the Timucua rebelled, disrupting the Spanish missions in Florida. This also affected the ranches and food supplies for St. Augustine.

Throughout the 17th century, English and Scottish colonists from the Carolina and Virginia colonies gradually pushed the frontier of Spanish territory south. In the early 18th century, French settlements along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast encroached on the western borders of the Spanish claim.

Starting in 1680, English and Scottish soldiers from Carolina and their Native American allies repeatedly attacked Spanish mission villages and St. Augustine, burning missions and killing and enslaving Indians. In 1702, James Moore led an army of colonists and a Native American force of Yamasee, Tallapoosa, Alabama, and other Creek warriors under the Yamasee chief Arratommakaw. The army attacked and razed the town of St. Augustine, but could not gain control of the fort. Moore in 1704 made a series of raids into the Apalachee Province of Florida, looting and destroying most of the remaining Spanish missions and killing or enslaving most of the Indian population. By 1707 the few surviving Indians had fled to Spanish St. Augustine and Pensacola, or French Mobile. Some of the Native Americans captured by Moore's army were resettled along the Savannah and the Ocmulgee rivers in Georgia.

In 1696 the Spanish had founded Pensacola near the former site of Ochuse. In 1719, the French captured the Spanish settlement at Pensacola.

Some Spanish men married or had unions with Pensacola, Creek, or African women, both slave and free, and their descendants created a mixed-race population of mestizos and mulattos. The Spanish encouraged slaves from the southern British colonies to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom in exchange for conversion to Catholicism. King Charles II of Spain issued a royal proclamation freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism. Most went to the area around St. Augustine, but escaped slaves also reached Pensacola. St. Augustine had mustered an all-black militia unit defending Spain as early as 1683. [36]

During the 18th century, the Native American peoples who would become the Seminoles began their migration to Florida, which had been largely depopulated by Carolinian and Yamasee slave raids. British Carolina's power was damaged and the colony nearly destroyed during the Yamasee War of 1715–1717, after which the Native American slave trade was radically reformed.

Spanish Florida was a destination for escaped slaves from the British colonies. Spain offered them freedom if they converted to Catholicism. (Some, such as those from Angola, were already Catholic.) This policy was formalized in 1693. [37]

Possession by Britain

The expanded West Florida territory in 1767. West Florida Map 1767.jpg
The expanded West Florida territory in 1767.

In 1763, Spain traded Florida to Great Britain in exchange for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War. As Britain had defeated France in the war, it took over all of French Louisiana east of the Mississippi River, except for New Orleans. Finding this new territory too vast to govern as a single unit, Britain divided the southernmost areas into two territories separated by the Apalachicola River: East Florida (the peninsula) and West Florida (the panhandle).

The British soon began aggressive recruiting to attract colonists to the area, offering free land and backing for export-oriented businesses. In 1764, the British moved the northern boundary of West Florida to a line extending from the mouth of the Yazoo River east to the Chattahoochee River (32° 22′ north latitude), consisting of approximately the lower third of the present states of Mississippi and Alabama, including the valuable Natchez District.

During this time, Creek Indians began to migrate into Florida, leading to the formation of the Seminole tribe. The aboriginal peoples of Florida had been devastated by war and disease, and it is thought most of the survivors accompanied the Spanish settlers when they left for other colonies (mostly French) in 1763. This left wide expanses of territory open to the Lower Creeks, who had been in conflict with the Upper Creeks of Alabama for years. The Seminole originally occupied the wooded areas of northern Florida. Under pressure from colonists and the United States Army in the Seminole Wars, they migrated into central and southern Florida, to the Everglades. Many of their descendants live in this area today as one of the two federally recognized Seminole tribes in the state.

Britain retained control over East Florida during the American Revolutionary War, but the Spanish, by that time allied with the French who were at war with Britain, recaptured most of West Florida. At the end of the war the Peace of Paris (1783) treaties (between the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Spain) ceded all of East and West Florida to Spanish control, though without specifying the boundaries.

Second Spanish period

Under Spanish rule, Florida was divided by the natural separation of the Suwannee River into West Florida and East Florida. (map: Carey & Lea, 1822) 1822 Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Florida by Henry Charles Carey, Isaac Lea and Fielding Lucas.png
Under Spanish rule, Florida was divided by the natural separation of the Suwannee River into West Florida and East Florida. (map: Carey & Lea, 1822)

Spain gained possession of West Florida and regained East Florida from Britain in the Peace of Paris of 1783, and continued the British practice of governing the Floridas as separate territories: West Florida and East Florida. When Spain acquired West Florida in 1783, the eastern British boundary was the Apalachicola River, but Spain in 1785 moved it eastward to the Suwannee River. [38] [39] The purpose was to transfer San Marcos and the district of Apalachee from East Florida to West Florida. [40] [41]

After American independence, the lack of specified boundaries led to a border dispute with the newly formed United States, known as the West Florida Controversy. The two 1783 treaties that ended the American Revolutionary War had differences in boundaries. The Treaty of Paris between Britain and the United States specified the boundary between West Florida and the newly independent U.S. at 31°. [42] However, in the companion Peace of Paris between Britain and Spain, West Florida was ceded to Spain without its boundaries being specified. The Spanish government assumed that the boundary was the same as in the 1763 agreement by which they had first given their territory in Florida to Britain, claiming that the northern boundary of West Florida was at the 32° 22′ boundary established by Britain in 1764 after the Seven Years' War. The British line at 32° 22′ was close to Spain's old claim of 32° 30′, which can be justified by referring to the principle of actual possession adopted by Spain and England in the 1670 Treaty of Madrid. [43] The now independent United States insisted that the boundary was at 31°, as specified in its Treaty of Paris with Britain.

After American independence, Spain claimed far more land than the old British West Florida, including the east side of the Mississippi River north to the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. [44] This expanded claim was based on Spain's successful military operations against the British in the region during the war. Spain occupied or built several forts north of the old British West Florida border, including Fort Confederación, Fort Nogales (at present-day Vicksburg), and Fort San Fernando (at present-day Memphis). [45] [46] Spain tried to settle the dispute quickly, but the U.S. delayed, knowing that time was on its side. [44] By Pinckney's Treaty of 1795 with the United States, Spain recognized the 31st parallel as the border, ending the first West Florida Controversy. Andrew Ellicott surveyed this parallel in 1797, as the border between the United States and Spanish territories. In 1798, Ellicott reported to the government that four American generals were receiving pensions from Spain, including General James Wilkinson.

Spain, beset with independence movements in its other colonies, could not settle or adequately govern Florida by the turn of the 19th century, its control limited to the immediate vicinity of towns and forts dotted across the north of the territory [47] Tension and hostility between Seminoles and American settlers living in neighboring Georgia and over the Florida border grew steadily. [48] Slaveholders wanted to reclaim fugitive slaves, and slave raiders frequently entered the territory, attacking Seminole villages and attempting to capture Black Seminoles. British agents working in Florida provided arms and other assistance to Native Americans, resulting in raids across the border that sometimes required intervention by American forces. [49] Several local insurrections and filibuster campaigns against Spanish rule flared, some with quiet support from the U.S. government, most notably the Patriot War of East Florida of 1810–1812 led by George Mathews. In 1817, a confused attack by a motley force of American and Scottish adventurers, Latin American revolutionaries, and pirates from Texas on Fernandina, temporarily claimed the whole of Amelia Island for the revolutionary republic of Mexico (not yet independent) for several months before U.S. forces retook the island and held it "in trust" for Spain until they could "properly police and govern it". [50] U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams called on Spain to gain control of Florida, calling the territory "a derelict open to the occupancy of every enemy, civilized or savage, of the United States, and serving no other earthly purpose than as a post of annoyance to them." [51]

The United States Army led increasingly frequent incursions against the Seminoles in western Florida, most notably during an 1817–1818 semi-authorized campaign led by Andrew Jackson that became known as the First Seminole War. [52] During the conflict, Jackson occupied Pensacola, leading to protests from Spain until it was returned to Spanish control several weeks later. By 1819, the United States effectively controlled much of the Florida panhandle, and Spain was willing to negotiate a transfer of the entire territory. [53] The Adams–Onís Treaty was signed between the United States and Spain on February 22, 1819, and took effect on July 17, 1821. According to the terms of the treaty, the United States acquired Florida and all Spanish claim to the Oregon Country. In exchange, the U.S. renounced all its claims to Texas and agreed to pay all Spanish debts to American citizens, which totaled about $5 million. [53]

Hundreds of Black Seminoles escaped from Cape Florida to the Bahamas in the early 1820s, to avoid US slave raiders.

See also

Related Research Articles

The history of Florida can be traced to when the first Native Americans began to inhabit the peninsula as early as 14,000 years ago. They left behind artifacts and archeological evidence. Florida's written history begins with the arrival of Europeans; the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513 made the first textual records. The state received its name from this Spanish conquistador, who called the peninsula La Pascua Florida in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida.

West Florida region

West Florida was a region on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico that underwent several boundary and sovereignty changes during its history. As its name suggests, it was formed out of the western part of former Spanish Florida, along with lands taken from French Louisiana; Pensacola became West Florida's capital. The colony included about two thirds of what is now the Florida Panhandle, as well as parts of the modern U.S. states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Florida Territory territory of the USA between 1822-1845

The Territory of Florida was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 30, 1822, until March 3, 1845, when it was admitted to the Union as the state of Florida. Originally the Spanish territory of La Florida, and later the provinces of East and West Florida, it was ceded to the United States as part of the 1819 Adams–Onís Treaty. It was governed by the Florida Territorial Council.

Apalachee Native American people

The Apalachee are a Native American people who historically lived in the Florida Panhandle. They lived between the Aucilla River and Ochlockonee River, at the head of Apalachee Bay, an area known to Europeans as the Apalachee Province. They spoke a Muskogean language called Apalachee, which is now extinct.

Tocobaga was the name of a chiefdom, its chief, and its principal town during the 16th century. The chiefdom was centered around the northern end of Old Tampa Bay, the arm of Tampa Bay that extends between the present-day city of Tampa and northern Pinellas County. The exact location of the principal town is believed to be the archeological Safety Harbor Site, which gives its name to the Safety Harbor culture, of which the Tocobaga are the most well-known group.

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Maritime history of Florida

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Mission San Luis de Apalachee was a Spanish Franciscan mission built in 1633 in the Florida Panhandle, two miles west of the present-day Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Florida. It was located in the descendent settlement of Anhaica capital of Apalachee Province. The mission was part of Spain's effort to colonize the Florida Peninsula and to convert the Timucuan and Apalachee Indians to Christianity. The mission lasted until 1704 when it was evacuated and destroyed to prevent its use by an approaching militia of Creek Indians and South Carolinians.

Apalachee massacre 1704 raids by English colonists against Native Americans

The Apalachee massacre was a series of raids by English colonists from the Province of Carolina and their Indian allies against a largely peaceful population of Apalachee Indians in northern Spanish Florida that took place in 1704, during Queen Anne's War. Against limited Spanish and Indian resistance, a network of missions was destroyed; most of the population either was killed or captured, fled to larger Spanish and French outposts, or voluntarily joined the English.

The history of Pensacola, Florida begins long before the Spanish claimed founding of the modern city in 1698. The area around present-day Pensacola was inhabited by Native American peoples thousands of years before the historical era.

British West Florida

West Florida was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1763 until 1783 when it was ceded to Spain as part of the Peace of Paris.

Battle of Flint River

The Battle of Flint River was a failed attack by Spanish and Apalachee Indian forces against Creek Indians in October 1702 in what is now the state of Georgia. The battle was a major element in ongoing frontier hostilities between English traders from the Province of Carolina and Spanish Florida, and it was a prelude to more organized military actions of Queen Anne's War.

Siege of Pensacola (1707)

The Siege of Pensacola was two separate attempts in 1707 by English-supported Creek Indians to capture the town and fortress of Pensacola, one of two major settlements in Spanish Florida.

The Pensacola were a Native American people who lived in the western part of what is now the Florida Panhandle and eastern Alabama for centuries before first contact with Europeans until early in the 18th century. They spoke a Muskogean language. They are the source of the name of Pensacola Bay and the city of Pensacola. They lived in the area until the mid-18th century, but were thereafter assimilated into other groups.

Timeline of Florida History

This is a timeline of the U.S. state of Florida.

Pensacola culture archaeological culture in the southeastern US

The Pensacola culture was a regional variation of the Mississippian culture along the Gulf Coast of the United States that lasted from 1100 to 1700 CE. The archaeological culture covers an area stretching from a transitional Pensacola/Fort Walton culture zone at Choctawhatchee Bay in Florida to the eastern side of the Mississippi River Delta near Biloxi, Mississippi, with the majority of its sites located along Mobile Bay in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. Sites for the culture stretched inland, north into the southern Tombigee and Alabama River valleys, as far as the vicinity of Selma, Alabama.

Spanish West Florida

Spanish West Florida was a province of the Spanish Empire from 1783 until 1821, when both it and East Florida were ceded to the United States.

The history of St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the United States, began in 1565 when it was founded by the Spanish admiral, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. The Spanish Crown issued an asiento to Menéndez, signed by King Philip II on March 20, 1565, granting him various titles, including that of adelantado of Florida, and expansive privileges to exploit the lands in the vast territory of Spanish Florida, called La Florida by the Spaniards. This contract directed Menéndez to explore the region's Atlantic coast and report on its features, with the object of finding a suitable location to establish a permanent colony from which the Spanish treasure fleet could be defended and Spain's claimed territories in North America protected against incursions by other European powers.

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Further reading