Robert R. Rea


The British colonies of East and West Florida were the fruits of one war and fell from the grasp of George III as the result of another. Throughout their brief history runs a common theme: both were part of a military frontier and to both the presence of British army units was of prime importance— economically, administratively, and socially. Their civil governors were men of modest competence at best. Trade never developed as profitably as merchants hoped, nor did immigrants rush to claim their untilled soil. But the army provided a degree of stability, as well as security, in spite of the petty bickering that so often absorbed the energies of civil and military officials alike. The real contribution to colonial history made by the much maligned British soldier has seldom been admitted, yet his was the one effective, all-encompassing imperial arm in America.