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Southern History Series: The Republic of West Florida

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Here’s an excerpt from Michael Gannon’s book The History of Florida on the annexation of the short lived Republic of West Florida:

“Unfortunately, conditions did not improve for West Florida, and plots to acquire the area west of the Perdido River continued until 1810. In September of that year, insurgents, took the fort at Baton Rouge, quickly declared their independence, and created the Republic of West Florida. They adopted a constitution modeled after that of the United States and elected as their governor Fulwar Skipwith. Their flag had a white star on a blue field, thus making West Florida the first lone star republic. By 1812, the United States had annexed all the territory between the Perdido and Mississippi Rivers. The area between the Pearl and Perdido Rivers was made a part of the Mississippi Territory, while the area west of the Pearl was incorporated into the State of Louisiana. By 1814, the United States had occupied Mobile and had built Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point and a lookout post on the Perdido River. The Spaniards at Pensacola continually protested such blatant aggression, but because of the Peninsular War then raging in Europe, they could do little about it.”

In spite of the name, the Republic of West Florida was only composed of parts of eastern Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mobile was annexed after the War of 1812.

This scene of Americans settling in or invading foreign countries and then clamoring for annexation would later play out again in Texas, California, Nicaragua and Hawaii. If sectional tension hadn’t intervened, we would have likely annexed Nicaragua. It happened first in the Republic of West Florida though which hoisted the Lone Star on the blue flag that became the Bonnie Blue Flag.

Those were the days when our ancestors were creating their own countries and carving towns out of the wilderness on the frontier. Now look at us … after rebelling over a few minor taxes, we have #PrideMonth shoved down our throats and celebrate it as a great triumph of conservatism!

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