The Gulf of Mexico is a great inland sea with two outlets, the Canal de Yucatan between Yucatan and Cuba, and the Straits of Florida between Cuba and Florida. Because of the adverse winds and currents that prevail in the former for eight months of the year, and especially that part of the year when the great ante-bellum cotton crop was moved to market, sailing ships never attempted to make the outward passage through the Yucatan Pass. Consequently, the commerce of the western ports, of New Orleans and Galveston, Apalachicola and Mobile, passed through the Florida Straits. Likewise, shipping from Central America, from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the western coast of Cuba, rather than take the circuitous passage through the Caribbean, came up through the Yucatan Pass and the Florida Straits on its way to the eastern seaboard of North America and the ports of Europe.
"The Wrecking Business on the Florida Reef, 1822-1860,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 22:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol22/iss4/3