The Second Spanish Period

Florida was not one of the colonies that became the United States when they were officially recognized as independent by the Treaty of Paris 1783. However, Florida was bounced back to Spain by England in exchange for the Bahamas. When the British took over ownership in 1763 the Spanish settlers fled to other Spanish parts of America. Now, many of the British settlers who were encouraged to come to Florida after 1763 had to flee. Many went to the Bahamas where the British loyalists from the thirteen colonies had moved. Few were left in Florida along with Indians, mostly the so-called Seminoles, who invaded from the southern states and replaced the indigenous Indians who had died or fled during the last hundred years or more. Other new settlers were escaped slaves from the southern states, who were welcomed by the Indians and became so-called Black Seminoles. The Spanish treated them in a friendly way, so they would help prevent encroachment by the United States. Spain had little interest in Florida because they now owned the Louisiana Territory. Along with the French and English, they were preoccupied with controlling trade along the Mississippi River and west Florida ports. Because Florida had no gold, jewels or other valuables to offer, the Europeans were not really interested in it. Consequently it became a pawn in the international competition among the Spanish, French, British and United States.

In 1800 when Spain transferred the Louisiana Territory back to France, other changes began to occur that gradually made the United States pay attention to what was happening in Florida.