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Slavery and White Servitude in East Florida, 1726-1776


For a limited period and to a limited extent negro slavery existed in the Florida peninsula under the early Spanish regime. From at least as early as 1726 the Spaniards welcomed fugitive slaves from Georgia and South Carolina. So also did the lower Creek Indians, who treated them well, admitted them to their free life, and intermarried with them. For the next dozen years the fugitives were sold in St. Augustine, although their liberation was ordered by a royal decree of October 29, 1733. When claimants or their agents came from the neighboring colonies to recover their slaves, they got only the money for which they had been sold. But in March, 1738, some of these bondmen appealed to Governor Montiano for their liberty and obtained it, despite the protests of their Spanish owners.

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