That the southern portion of the Florida peninsular possessed no significant commercial value in colonial days was generally conceded, but its strategic importance as guardian of the Bahama Channel was fully recognized. Governors of Florida, both English and Spanish, stressed the possible dangers if this region were permitted to fall prey to enemy occupation. In spite of the acknowledged importance of the area as a military outpost, no program was undertaken by the Spanish authorities to erect permanent military bases south of the fort of San Marcos in St. Augustine and the battery on the shore of Matanzas Island. Only when a direct threat materialized, such as the landing of the adventurer, William Augustus Bowles, on the southern shore of Florida, did the governor take active steps to employ military forces to clear the enemy from Spanish colonial soil.
Murdoch, Richard K.
"Documents Concerning A Voyage to the Miami Region in 1793,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 31
, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol31/iss1/5