David H. White


The waning years of the eighteenth century were a time of conflict and turmoil. Europe was convulsed by the wars of the French Revolution and their repercussions were felt throughout the world, including America. The isolated frontier province of Florida, so prized by Spain because of its strategic location to the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic shipping routes was in an exposed position. Besides the threats from the English and the French, Spanish officials in St. Augustine and Pensacola had to be concerned with the illicit activities of privateers, particularly along the northeast coast of Florida, antagonistic Indians who resented white encroachment on what they considered their traditional domain, and runaway blacks who hid in the swamps often protected by the Indians. The biggest problem, however, came from their aggressive neighbors to the north, who believed that the flag of the United States should and would fly over all of the territory south to the Florida Keys.