There was a time when the question of the northern boundary of West Florida gave a great deal of trouble.
When Louisiana was ceded to Spain in 1762, West Florida went to Great Britain. The English had made the boundary line on latitude 32 degrees and 28 minutes, but in the treaty with the United States at the close of the Revolution, the line was fixed at 31 degrees.
There was a world war in the late 1700's. During that war, Spain took back West Florida from Great Britain in 1769.
Spain, however, would not give up the territory between the two lines, saying that she had conquered it from England, and England had no right to dispose of it. In 1800, Louisiana was returned to France. Spain claimed that the sale did not include West Florida. It was not until twelve years later that Spain agreed to make latitude 31 degrees the northern boundary of West Florida. In 1803 the United States purchased from France, Louisiana, which had been ceded from France to Spain in 1762, and re-ceded to France in 1800. Before 1762 France had owned the land west of the Perdido in West Florida, so when the United States bought Louisiana she claimed that territory. Spain said this was part of Florida, and would not give it up because, like the other disputed territory, it had been conquered from England and not received from France.
The territory was divided by the Spanish into two districts. One was called the Baton Rouge District that which lay between the Mississippi and the Pearl rivers; and the other the Spanish called the Mobile district which lay between the Pearl and the Perdido. Both were claimed by Spain as part of Florida, and both were claimed by the United States as part of the land purchased from France.
A time came when Spain was too busy fighting the great Napoleon to pay much attention to the Floridas. Then the inhabitants of the Baton Rouge District, which had many British settlers, rebelled in 1810 and declared themselves an independent people. They gave their territory the name - the Republic of West Florida, and had a flag with a blue field with a single large white star. Not long after, the citizens of the Republic of West Florida asked to be admitted into the Union. After one month the Republic of West Florida was annexed to Louisiana, October 27, 1810.
When war was declared between the United States and England, in 1812, the United States government was afraid to leave the Mobile district in the hands of Spain, as that nation was now a friend of England. General Wilkinson sailed from New Orleans to Mobile with six hundred men, and in April, 1813, received the surrender of the Spanish commander. This made the Perdido River again the western boundary of Florida, and so it has remained ever since.
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