When Britain lost control of Florida in 1783 to Spain, many English merchants and public officials, especially the governors of Jamaica and New Providence, did not consider the loss of Florida as permanent. They continued an extensive legal and illegal trade with the Indians in Florida and the southern United States. The mouth of the Apalachicola River and the area around it comprised one of the main seats of this commerce, especially the illegal part. In line with their objectives of regaining control of Florida, these various British officials and merchants sent such filibusterers as William Augustus Bowles, who plotted to create an independent Indian state or possibly to reannex the area to Britain. In an effort to halt the illegal trade and to prevent seizure of the area, the Spanish constructed a fort at Apalachee. The forces of Spain, however, were spread far too thin to man the post properly, and there is little evidence that the existence of the fort had much effect on the trade.
Owsley, Jr., Frank L.
"British and Indian Activities in Spanish West Florida During the War of 1812,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 46:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol46/iss2/4