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The Second Spanish Period, 1783-1821

Spanish forces marched into West Florida in 1779, during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). The British already weakened by war, surrendered West Florida to Spain in 1781. Spain regained control of all Florida in 1783.

Spain found little but trouble during her second tenure of Florida. Spanish colonists as well as settlers from the newly formed United States came pouring in when the British evacuated Florida. Many of the new residents were lured by favorable Spanish terms for acquiring property, called land grants. Others who came were escaped slaves, trying to reach a place where their U.S. masters had no authority and effectively could not reach them. In 1812, a group of eastern Florida settlers rebelled and declared their independence from Spain. But the Spaniards stopped the rebels. Instead of becoming more Spanish, Florida increasingly became more "American."

During the War of 1812 (1812-1815), Spain let Britain use Pensacola as a naval base. In 1814, American troops led by General Andrew Jackson stormed into Florida and seized Pensacola. During the First Seminole War (1817-1818), Jackson captured Fort St. Marks on the Gulf of Mexico. He then defeated the Seminole Indians. Finally in 1819, Spain agreed to turn Florida over to the United States. The United States did not actually pay any money to Spain for Florida. However, it agreed to pay $5 million to U.S. citizens for property damages. After several official and unofficial U.S. military expeditions into the territory, Spain formally ceded Florida to the United States in 1821, according to terms of the Adams-On's Treaty.


Text from: A Short History of Florida
Used with the permission of Florida's Division of Historical Resources

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