Territorial Period

There is a question about when the Florida Territorial Period began. The Adam-Onis Treaty was concluded February 22, 1819, ratified by Spain October 29, 1820 and ratified by the U.S. February 22, 1821. But Florida was not officially declared a Territory by Congress until March 20, 1822. Most people use the date 1821 when the U.S. ratified the Treaty.

The Treaty was drafted by John Quincy Adams the U.S. Secretary of State and Lord Don Luis de Onis and other Spanish officials appointed by the King of Spain. In that treaty, Florida was ceded to the United States in exchange for specifications on the Boundary Spanish and U.S. territories acquired by the 1803 U.S. purchase of Louisiana Territory, west of the Mississippi. Many other details were included, such as the assumption of any claims or debts against Spain accumulated during their ownership. These amounted to five million dollars owed to Indians and owners of land grants.

The new northern border of Florida at latitude 31 degrees was confirmed as well as the western border at the Perdido River. The U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana had already seized the area between the Perdido River and Mississippi River (q.v. man in Second Spanish Period)