Micronations/List of already existing micronations/Dominion of British West Florida

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Flag of the Dominion of British West Florida

The Dominion of British West Florida is a separatist micronation founded in 2005 "on an eccentric interpretation of actual historic events" and based in the Gulf Coast of the United States. It claims the territory of the 18th-century colony of West Florida, which has since been subsumed into the US states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.[1]

The Dominion claims to be "striving for Dominion Status as a Commonwealth Realm, on a par with Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and The Bahamas".[2] The organization neither is acknowledged by any government nor exercises any authority over its claimed territory, and its activities are largely limited to the internet.

History[edit | edit source]

Creation of a British Colony in West Florida (1763)[edit | edit source]

In 1762, during the Seven Years' War, a British expedition attacked and occupied Havana, the capital of Cuba. To secure the return of this valuable city, Spain agreed to cede its territory of La Floridato the victorious Great Britain under the 1763 Treaty of Paris. France ceded a large segment of New France to Great Britain, including its territory east of the Mississippi River except for the city of New Orleans.[citation needed]

The British divided this southern region of the North American continent into two separate colonies: East Florida, with its capital in St. Augustine and West Florida, with Pensacola as its capital. Many of the Spanish inhabitants of Florida were evacuated to Cuba, and new British settlers arrived including some from the thirteen colonies.[citation needed]

By separate treaty France ceded its lands west of the Mississippi to Spain, which formed Spanish Louisiana with the capital at New Orleans.[citation needed]

British Rule in West Florida (1763-1783)[edit | edit source]

In 1763 British troops arrived and took possession of Pensacola. George Johnstone was appointed as the first British Governor, and in 1764 a colonial assembly was established.The structure of the colony was modeled after the existing British colonies in America, as opposed to Quebec, which was based on a different structure. In contrast to East Florida, where there was little development and population growth, West Florida began to boom in the years following the British takeover, and thousands of new arrivals came to take advantage of the favourable conditions there.[3]

West Florida was invited to send delegates to the First Continental Congress which was convened to present colonial grievances against the British Parliament to George III, but along with several other colonies, including East Florida, they declined the invitation. Once the American War of Independence had broken out, the colonists remained overwhelmingly loyal to the Crown. In 1778 the Willing Expedition proceeded with a small force down the Mississippi, ransacking estates and plantations, until they were eventually defeated by a local militia. In the wake of this, the area received a small number of British reinforcements.[3]

Spanish Conquest (1783)[edit | edit source]

Following an agreement signed at Aranjuez, Spain entered the American Revolutionary War on the side of France but not the Thirteen Colonies.[4] Spanish troops under Bernardo de Gálvez advanced and seized Baton Rouge and Mobile. In 1781 Spain captured Pensacola and its garrison. As part of the 1783 Peace of Paris, Great Britain ceded the territories of West Florida and East Florida back to Spain.[citation needed]

When Spain acquired West Florida in 1783, the eastern British boundary was the Apalachicola River, but Spain in 1785 moved it eastward to the Suwannee River.[5][6] The purpose was to transfer San Marcos and the district of Apalachee from East Florida to West Florida.[7]

Spanish West Florida (1793-1821)[edit | edit source]

In 1779, Spain entered the American Revolutionary War on the side of France but not the Thirteen Colonies.[8] Bernardo de Gálvez, governor of Spanish Louisiana, led a military campaign along the Gulf coast, capturing Baton Rouge and Natchez from the British in 1779, Mobile in 1780, and Pensacola in 1781.[citation needed]

In the 1783 peace treaty, Great Britain returned both Florida colonies to Spanish control. Instead of administering Florida as a single province, as it had prior to 1763, New Spain preserved the British arrangement of dividing the territory between East and West Florida (Florida Oriental and Florida Occidental).[9] When Spain acquired West Florida in 1783, the eastern British boundary was the Apalachicola River, but Spain in 1785 moved it eastward to the Suwannee River.[10][11] The purpose was to transfer San Marcos and the district of Apalachee from East Florida to West Florida.[12][13]

Spanish a West Florida remained a province of the Spanish Empire until 1821, when both it and East Florida were ceded to the United States.[citation needed]

Dominion of British West Florida (2005-present)[edit | edit source]

The micronation was founded in November 2005 in order to "reassert Britain's rights" over the region, by an individual identified on the micronation's website only as "Robert VII, Duke of Florida".[14] The website asserts that Duke Robert "inherited the Peerage of the Dominion" in 1969, and "accepted the position of Governor General" in 1994. The micronation has issued cinderella stamps and has minted several base metal coins, produced by Jorge Vidal and issued in denominations based on pre-decimal pounds.[2]

The founders of the micronation assert that the US annexation was illegal, because control of the region had actually defaulted to the United Kingdom in 1808, upon the removal from office of King Charles IV of Spain, thus invalidating the Treaty of Paris and the US annexation to which it gave rise.[14] This interpretation of historic events is not supported by any mainstream historian.[15]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ryan, John; Dunford, George; Sellars, Simon (2006). Micronations. Lonely Planet. pp. 139. ISBN 1-74104-730-7. https://books.google.com/books?id=5ZRrwrlIPSYC&pg=PA139&dq=%22Dominion+of+British+West+Florida%22&num=100&sig=YhBcJM7aMT3_lGOnBxpfyobMMOs. 
  2. a b "Chiefa Coins". http://chiefacoins.com/Database/Micro-Nations/Dominion_of_British_West_Florida.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  3. a b British West Florida Encyclopaedia of Alabama
  4. Spencer Tucker; James R. Arnold; Roberta Wiener (30 September 2011). The Encyclopedia of North American Indian Wars, 1607–1890: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 751. ISBN 978-1-85109-697-8. https://books.google.com/books?id=JsM4A0GSO34C&pg=PA751. 
  5. Wright, J. Leitch (1972). "Research Opportunities in the Spanish Borderlands: West Florida, 1781-1821". Latin American Research Review (Latin American Studies Association) 7 (2): 24–34.  Wright also notes, "It was some time after 1785 before it was clearly established that Suwannee was the new eastern boundary of the province of Apalachee."
  6. Weber, David J. (1992). The Spanish Frontier in North America. New Haven, Connecticut, USA: Yale University Press. p. 275. https://books.google.com/books?id=KOPdX2qaVrkC&pg=PA458&lpg=PA458&dq=%22West+Florida%22+Spain+Apalachee+1785+%22San+Marcos%22&source=bl&ots=ux0w05Nj4z&sig=-_lUPZQZPysIcujWCMH6b4XZxh4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5s57qltHKAhVV4WMKHVYzCmEQ6AEIOjAF#v=onepage&q=%22West%20Florida%22%20Spain%20Apalachee%201785%20%22San%20Marcos%22&f=false. "Spain never drew a clear line to separate the two Floridas, but West Florida extended easterly to include Apalachee Bay, which Spain shifted from the jurisdiction of St. Augustine to more accessible Pensacola." 
  7. "The Evolution of a State, Map of Florida Counties - 1820". 10th Circuit Court of Florida. http://www.jud10.flcourts.org/?q=content/history-florida-maps. Retrieved 2016-01-26. "Under Spanish rule, Florida was divided by the natural separation of the Suwanee River into West Florida and East Florida." 
  8. The Encyclopedia of North American Indian Wars, 1607–1890: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. 30 September 2011. p. 751. ISBN 978-1-85109-697-8. https://books.google.com/books?id=JsM4A0GSO34C&pg=PA751. 
  9. James G. Cusick (1 April 2007). The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American Invasion of Spanish East Florida. University of Georgia Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-8203-2921-5. https://books.google.com/books?id=BxHE3OsgU9EC&pg=PA144. 
  10. Wright, J. Leitch (1972). "Research Opportunities in the Spanish Borderlands: West Florida, 1781-1821". Latin American Research Review (Latin American Studies Association) 7 (2): 24–34.  Wright also notes, "It was some time after 1785 before it was clearly established that Suwannee was the new eastern boundary of the province of Apalachee."
  11. Weber, David J. (1992). The Spanish Frontier in North America. New Haven, Connecticut, USA: Yale University Press. p. 275. https://books.google.com/books?id=KOPdX2qaVrkC&pg=PA458&lpg=PA458&dq=%22West+Florida%22+Spain+Apalachee+1785+%22San+Marcos%22&source=bl&ots=ux0w05Nj4z&sig=-_lUPZQZPysIcujWCMH6b4XZxh4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5s57qltHKAhVV4WMKHVYzCmEQ6AEIOjAF#v=onepage&q=%22West%20Florida%22%20Spain%20Apalachee%201785%20%22San%20Marcos%22&f=false. "Spain never drew a clear line to separate the two Floridas, but West Florida extended easterly to include Apalachee Bay, which Spain shifted from the jurisdiction of St. Augustine to more accessible Pensacola." 
  12. "The Evolution of a State, Map of Florida Counties - 1820". 10th Circuit Court of Florida. http://www.jud10.flcourts.org/?q=content/history-florida-maps. Retrieved 2016-01-26. "Under Spanish rule, Florida was divided by the natural separation of the Suwanee River into West Florida and East Florida." 
  13. Klein, Hank. "History Mystery: Was Destin Once in Walton County?". The Destin Log. http://www.thedestinlog.com/article/20150904/NEWS/150909574. Retrieved 2016-01-26. "On July 21, 1821 all of what had been West Florida was named Escambia County, after the Escambia River. It stretched from the Perdido River to the Suwanee River with its county seat at Pensacola." 
  14. a b "Dominion of British West Florida". http://www.dbwf.net. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  15. Mathson, S and Lorenzen, M.G. (2008). We Won't Be Fooled Again: Teaching Critical Thinking via Evaluation of Hoax and Historical Revisionist Websites in a Library Credit Course. College and Undergraduate Libraries, 15 (1/2): 211-230.