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Florida Territory

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Title: Florida Territory  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: East Florida, History of Tallahassee, Florida, West Florida, Charles Downing, John Baillie McIntosh
Collection: Florida Territory, Pre-Statehood History of Florida, World Digital Library Related
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Florida Territory

Territory of Florida
the United States


Location of Florida Territory
Capital 1822-1824 St. Augustine 1824-1845 Tallahassee
Government Organized incorporated territory
 •  1821 Andrew Jackson (military)
 •  1822–1834 William Pope Duval
 •  1834–1836 John Eaton (politician)
 •  1836–1839 Richard K. Call
 •  1839–1841 Robert R. Reid
 •  1841–1844 Richard K. Call
 •  Adams-Onís Treaty 1821
 •  Organized by U.S. March 30, 1822
 •  Statehood March 3, 1845

The Territory of Florida was an 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.[1] It was governed by the Florida Territorial Council.


  • Background 1
  • American involvement pre-1821 2
  • Adams-Onís Treaty 3
  • Territorial Florida and the Seminole Wars 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Florida was first discovered in 1513 by Juan Ponce de León who claimed the land as a possession of Spain. St. Augustine, the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the continental U.S., was founded on the northeast coast of Florida in 1565. Florida continued to remain a Spanish possession until the end of the Seven Years' War when Spain ceded it to the Kingdom of Great Britain in exchange for the release of Havana. In 1783, after the American Revolution, Great Britain ceded Florida back to Spain.[2]:xvii

The second term of Spanish rule was influenced by the nearby United States. There were border disputes along the boundary with the state of Thomas Jefferson had once predicted, the U.S. could not keep its hands off Florida.[2]:xviii–xix

American involvement pre-1821

In 1812, United States forces and Georgia "patriots" under General

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  4. ^ DORR V. UNITED STATES, 195 U.S. 138 (1904)
  5. ^ "An Act for carrying into execution the treaty between the United States and Spain, concluded at Washington on the twenty-second day of February, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen"
  6. ^ "An Act for the establishment of a territorial government in Florida"
  7. ^ "An Act for the admission of the States of Iowa and Florida into the Union"


  1. ^ The U.S. commission established to adjudicate claims considered some 1800 claims and agreed that they were worth $5,454,545.13. Since the treaty limited the payment of claims to $5 million, the commission reduced the amount paid out proportionately by 8⅓ percent.


See also

Beginning in late 1835, Osceola and the Seminole allies began a guerrilla war against the U.S. forces.[3]:105–110 Numerous generals fought and failed, succumbing to the heat and disease as well as lack of knowledge of the land. It was not until General Thomas Jesup captured many of the key Seminole chiefs, including Osceola who died in captivity of illness, that the battles began to die down.[3]:137–160 The Seminoles were eventually forced to migrate. Florida joined the Union as the 27th state on March 3, 1845.[7] By this time, almost all of the Seminoles were gone, except for a small group living in the Everglades.

The central conflict of Territorial Florida was the Seminole inhabitants. The federal government and most white settlers desired all Florida Indians to migrate to the West. On May 28, 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act requiring all native Americans to move west of the Mississippi River.[3]:87 The Act itself did not mean much to Florida, however it laid the framework for the Treaty of Paynes Landing which was signed by a council of Seminole chiefs on May 9, 1832. This treaty stated that all Seminole inhabitants of Florida should be relocated by 1835, giving them three years. It was at this meeting that the famous Osceola first voiced his decision to fight.[3]:89–95

President James Madison was authorized on March 3, 1821 to take possession of East Florida and West Florida for the United States and provide for initial governance.[5] Andrew Jackson served as military governor of the newly acquired territory, but only for a brief period. On March 30, 1822, the United States merged East Florida and part of what formerly constituted West Florida into the Florida Territory.[6] William Pope Duval became the first official governor of the Florida Territory and soon afterward the capital was established at Tallahassee, but only after removing a Seminole tribe from the land.[3]:63–74

Territorial Florida and the Seminole Wars

The 6th article of the treaty of cession contains the following provision: 'The inhabitants of the territories which His Catholic Majesty cedes the United States by this treaty shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States as soon as may be consistent with the principles of the Federal Constitution, and admitted to the enjoyment of the privileges, rights, and immunities of the citizens of the United States.' [8 Stat. at L. 256.] [195 U.S. 138, 142] 'This treaty is the law of the land, and admits the inhabitants of Florida to the enjoyment of the privileges, rights, and immunities of the citizens of the United States. It is unnecessary to inquire whether this is not their condition, independent of stipulation. They do not, however, participate in political power; they do not share in the government till Florida shall become a state. In the meantime Florida continues to be a territory of the United States, governed by virtue of that clause in the Constitution which empowers Congress 'to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States." [4]

In Dorr v. USA (195 U.S. 138, 141–142 (1904)) Justice Marshall is quoted more extensively as follows:

The Adams-Onís Treaty, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, was signed on February 22, 1819 by John Quincy Adams and Luis de Onís y González-Vara, but did not take effect until after it was ratified by Spain on Oct. 24, 1820 and the United States on February 19, 1821. The U.S. received Florida under Article 2 and inherited Spanish claims to the Oregon Territory under Article 3, while ceding all its claims on Texas to Spain under Article 3[2]:xi (with the independence of Mexico in 1821, Spanish Texas became Mexican territory), and pledged to indemnify up to $5,000,000 in claims by American citizens against Spain under Article 11.[note 1] Under Article 15, Spanish goods received exclusive most favorable nation tariff privileges in the ports at Pensacola and St. Augustine for twelve years.

Adams-Onís Treaty

In 1818, after years of additional conflicts involving natives, fugitive slaves, and settlers, General Andrew Jackson wrote to President James Monroe, who had been inaugurated in March 1817, informing him that he was invading Florida. Jackson's force departed from Tennessee and marched down to the Florida panhandle. Spanish officers surrendered coastal fortifications at Fort San Marcos (also known as Fort St. Marks) in Florida Oriental; and about six weeks later, Fort Barrancas and Pensacola in Florida Occidental.[3]:50–54

The 1812 invasion of East Florida, or "Patriot War," was perceived by many as ill-advised. President Madison withdrew his support and the Spanish authorities were promised a speedy exit of the American troops.[3]:39

Runaway slaves had been sheltered for many years by the Florida natives, called the rest of the South became furious over this state of affairs as slaves continued to escape to Florida.[3]:18–22

.) These interests were mostly slavery-related. Seminole Wars (See :39[3]

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