When Thomas Jefferson’s embargo policy brought much of North Atlantic commerce to a halt, world economic patterns—already stressed by France’s continental system— readjusted along informal lines for the duration of the Napoleonic era. Of the numerous “transshipment” ports that evolved between 1807 and 1812, none became more significant than Amelia Island, “neutral” Spain’s northernmost settlement on the Florida Atlantic seaboard. Just a few hundred feet across the St. Marys River from Georgia, Amelia Island (Fernandina after 1811) became an important link in a chain that enterprising merchants forged to bypass American trade restrictions. The years before the War of 1812 saw a commercial boom in East Florida, and with it a temporary prosperity that did not go unnoticed by United States officials. The Madison administration in 1812 supported actions against Spain’s colony in an effort to expand the jurisdiction of the Non-Importation Act, to assert United States hegemony in the region, and to preempt any self-serving British activity in the Floridas. The fact that war with England was plainly on the horizon brought this last concern to the forefront.
"The Commerce of East Florida During the Embargo, 1806-1812: The Role of Amelia Island,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 68:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol68/iss2/4