Amy Bushnell


Spanish Florida has the historical reputation of a bleak and unfriendly place, unproductive, impoverished, and unhealthy, where governors and soldiers, friars and passive Indian converts were unable to defend their own borders, much less make the land self-sustaining. The doleful letters from officials of the colony about the lateness or inadequacy of the garrison’s situado have made an impact on researchers, if they did not on the Crown. In recent years, however, examples of economic activity have been examined that belie this picture of total dependency. There were times during the seventeenth century when Spanish Florida approached self-sufficiency and was even exporting some of its products.