- LAST REVIEWED: 11 September 2014
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0051
- LAST REVIEWED: 11 September 2014
- LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0051
The term “Spanish Florida” is generally applied to the history of Florida from the time of Juan Ponce de León’s exploration in 1513 to the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1821, which transferred Florida to the United States. This general time span has to be adjusted for a brief period of French colonial endeavor in Florida (1562–1565) and for a period of British rule that began in 1763, under provisions of the Treaty of Paris, and that ended in 1781 in the westernmost sections of Florida, following the campaigns of Bernardo de Gálvez during the American Revolution, and in peninsular Florida in 1783, at the conclusion of this war. To make the three centuries of Spanish dominion in Florida more manageable, historians usually partition the colonial era into Exploration (1513–1565), First Spanish Period (1565–1763), and Second Spanish Period (1781–1821). During all this time, the geographical limits of Florida also changed drastically. Original Spanish claims to the area designated the entire American Southeast and the Atlantic seaboard as far north as Newfoundland as part of “La Florida,” a claim depicted on early atlas maps. In the 17th century, Spain maintained this claim rigorously. It eventually acquiesced to French settlement of Mobile and Louisiana, though the boundary with Texas remained in dispute. There was also a brief war with France over possession of Pensacola (1719–1723). Along the eastern seaboard Spain protested English settlement of Virginia in 1607 and attempted to block the founding of Charles Town in 1670. Rival territorial claims on the part of Britain and Spain provoked constant warfare between “La Florida” and the incipient colonies of Carolina and Georgia during the first half of the 18th century. As a result of the French and Indian War, the British acquired Florida and divided it into two colonies. The Florida peninsula became East Florida, with its capital at St. Augustine. West Florida, with its capital at Pensacola, comprised what is today the Florida panhandle plus a long strip of territory along the Gulf of Mexico that included modern-day Mobile and Natchez. This political division continued when Spain regained the Floridas in the 1780s. The panhandle and peninsula were only reunited into a single territory under American jurisdiction. For fully half of Florida’s colonial era, Native Americans made up the majority of the colonial population. In the late colonial period, Florida was distinguished by its small population size, in which Seminoles and Creeks, free people of color and enslaved Africans, and immigrants from many places in Europe, lived in close association.
The study of the Spanish colonial period in Florida encompasses an array of academic disciplines including history, anthropology, historical archaeology, architecture, and historic preservation. Servies 1978 and Servies and Servies 1993 are annotated bibliographies of primary and secondary sources. Weber 1992, covering all the former Spanish borderlands (the Floridas, Louisiana, Texas, the Southwest, and California), provides a panoramic view of colonial life. Gannon 1996 is a standard reference on Florida history with detailed chapters dedicated to colonial Florida. Hoffman 2002 is unmatched for its scholarship and is the most in-depth overview of the entire colonial period in Florida. The marking of the Columbian Quincentennial in 1992 saw extensive publication on Spanish colonial Florida, primarily under the direction of David Hurst Thomas. Thomas 1990 and Thomas 1991 document the state of research at that time, much of it by new scholars who went on to publish major books. Deagan 1991 is part of a series edited by Thomas, this one compiled by the leading historical archaeologist of Spanish colonial sites in Florida and Hispaniola.
Deagan, Kathleen A. America’s Ancient City: Spanish St. Augustine, 1565–1763. Spanish Borderlands Sourcebooks 25. New York: Garland, 1991.
The Spanish Borderlands Sourcebooks vary in format, some being reprints of important articles, others being translations of primary sources. This one focuses on St. Augustine and early Spanish Florida. It identifies the historians and archaeologists who established the modern scholarship on colonial Florida and gives examples of their work.
Gannon, Michael V., ed. The New History of Florida. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1996.
This highly regarded work is an authoritative and readable survey on the history of Florida. All contributors are experts in their subject areas. Roughly half the book deals with the colonial era. Content is reasonably current but needs to be supplemented with reference to subsequent scholarship.
Hoffman, Paul E. Florida’s Frontiers. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002.
This book is the most comprehensive survey of Florida’s colonial history. It often serves, in whole or in part, as a college reader. Hoffman structures Florida’s history as a series of frontier eras, but the real value of the work is in his familiarity with and use of sources.
Servies, James Albert. A Bibliography of West Florida. Rev. ed. Pensacola: University of West Florida, 1978
This bibliography focuses on what are now Florida’s ten westernmost counties and provides entries on publications relating to the history of the area, including the colonial era.
Servies, James A., and Lana D. Servies. A Bibliography of Florida. 4 vols. Pensacola, FL: King and Queen, 1993.
Under publication since 1993, this four-volume set is the accepted and definitive annotated bibliography of publications dealing with Florida, including the colonial period. It is organized by date of publication through 1915, and each volume has an index with 7,500 to 8,000 names and terms to help locate works dealing with those subjects.
Thomas, David Hurst. Archaeological and Historical Perspectives on the Spanish Borderlands East. Vol. 2. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990.
This is the second volume of a three-volume work brought out in commemoration of the Columbus Quincentennial of 1992. The focus is Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. An important historiographic work, a snapshot of new research as it was just getting started.
Thomas, David Hurst. The Spanish Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.
Although not as directly oriented to research on Spanish Florida as its companion volume, this work, like Weber 1992, places and discusses Florida within the broader history of the borderlands and colonial Spanish America.
Weber, David J. The Spanish Frontier in North America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.
Weber’s rich survey treats Spanish Florida within the broader context of the other Spanish borderlands. It incorporates information on politics, law, religion, culture, Native American groups, and other subjects in well-written narrative that provides a sense of what life was like in these Spanish colonies. Weber treats the terms “frontier” and “borderland” as synonyms, a usage not universal among borderland researchers.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Agricultural Technologies
- Ancient Andean Textiles
- Andean Contributions to Rethinking the State and the Natio...
- Andean Music
- Antislavery Narratives
- Arab Diaspora in Brazil, The
- Arab Diaspora in Latin America, The
- Argentina in the Era of Mass Immigration
- Argentina, Slavery in
- Argentine Literature
- Army of Chile in the 19th Century
- Asian Art and Its Impact in the Americas, 1565–1840
- Asian-Peruvian Literature
- Atlantic Creoles
- Baroque and Neo-baroque Literary Tradition
- Bello, Andrés
- Black Experience in Colonial Latin America, The
- Black Experience in Modern Latin America, The
- Borderlands in Latin America, Conquest of
- Bourbon Reforms, The
- Brazilian Northeast, History of the
- Buenos Aires
- Caribbean Philosophical Association, The
- Caribbean, The Archaeology of the
- Cartagena de Indias
- Caste War of Yucatán, The
- Caudillos, 19th Century
- Cádiz Constitution and Liberalism, The
- Chaco War
- Children, History of
- Chile's Struggle for Independence
- Chronicle, The
- Church in Colonial Latin America, The
- Chávez, Hugo, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela
- Cinema, Contemporary Brazilian
- Cinema, Latin American
- Colonial Central America
- Colonial Legal History of Peru
- Colonial New Granada
- Colonial Portuguese Amazon Region, from the 17th to 18th C...
- Contemporary Maya, The
- Costa Rica
- Cárdenas and Cardenismo
- Cuban Revolution, The
- Dependency Theory in Latin American History
- Development of Architecture in New Spain, 1500–1810, The
- Development of Painting in Peru, 1520–1820, The
- Drug Trades in Latin America
- Dutch in South America and the Caribbean, The
- Early Colonial Forms of Native Expression in Mexico and Pe...
- Economies from Independence to Industrialization
- Ecuador, La Generación del 30 in
- El Salvador
- Enlightenment and its Visual Manifestations in Spanish Ame...
- Environmental History
- Era of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911, The
- Family History
- Film, Science Fiction
- Football (Soccer) in Latin America
- From "National Culture" to the "National Popular" and the ...
- Gaucho Literature
- Gender in Colonial Brazil
- Gender in Postcolonial Latin America
- Guaraní and Their Legacy, The
- Guatemala and Yucatan, Conquest of
- Guatemala City
- Guatemala (Colonial Period)
- Guatemala (Modern & National Period)
- Haitian Revolution, The
- Health and Disease in Modern Latin America, History of
- History, Cultural
- History, Food
- Honor in Latin America to 1900
- Horror in Literature and Film in Latin America
- Human Rights in Latin America
- Immigration in Latin America
- Indigenous Elites in the Colonial Andes
- Indigenous Population and Justice System in Central Mexico...
- Indigenous Voices in Literature
- Japanese Presence in Latin America
- Jewish Presence in Latin America, The
- José María Arguedas and Early 21st Century Cultural and Po...
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de
- Latin American Independence
- Latin American Urbanism, 1850-1950
- Law and Society in Latin America since 1800
- Legal History of New Spain, 16th-17th Centuries
- Legal History of the State and Church in 18th Century New ...
- Literature, Argentinian
- Machado de Assis
- Magical Realism
- Maroon Societies in Latin America
- Martí, José, and Cuba
- Mestizaje and the Legacy of José María Arguedas
- Mexican Nationalism
- Mexican Revolution, 1910–1940, The
- Mexican-US Relations
- Mexico, Conquest of
- Mexico, Education in
- Migration to the United States
- Military and Modern Latin America, The
- Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990
- Military Institution in Colonial Latin America, The
- Modern Decorative Arts and Design, 1900–2000
- Modern Populism in Latin America
- Modernity and Decoloniality
- Musical Tradition in Latin America, The
- Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru
- New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mes...
- New Left in Latin America, The
- Novel, Chronology of the Venezuelan
- Novel of the Mexican Revolution, The
- Novel, 19th Century Haitian
- Novel, The Colombian
- Oaxaca, Conquest and Colonial
- Painting in New Spain, 1521–1820
- Paraguayan War (War of the Triple Alliance)
- Pastoralism in the Andes
- Paz, Octavio
- Perón and Peronism
- Peru, Colonial
- Peru, Conquest of
- Peru, Slavery in
- Philippines Under Spanish Rule, 1571-1898
- Photography in the History of Race and Nation
- Political Exile in Latin America
- Ponce de León
- Popular Culture and Globalization
- Popular Movements in 19th-Century Latin America
- Post Conquest Aztecs
- Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- Poverty in Latin America
- Preconquest Incas
- Pre-conquest Mesoamerican States, The
- Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, State and Nation Formation in
- Printing and the Book
- Prints and the Circulation of Colonial Images
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Puerto Rican Literature
- Religions in Latin America
- Revolution and Reaction in Central America
- Rosas, Juan Manuel de
- Sandinista Revolution and the FSLN, The
- Santo Domingo
- Science and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic
- Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Slavery in Brazil
- São Paulo
- Spanish American Arab Literature
- Spanish and Portuguese Trade, 1500–1750
- Spanish Caribbean In The Colonial Period, The
- Spanish Colonial Decorative Arts, 1500-1825
- Spanish Florida
- Spiritual Conquest of Latin America, The
- Telenovelas and Melodrama in Latin America
- Textile Traditions of the Andes
- 19th Century and Modernismo Poetry in Spanish America
- 16th-Century New Spain
- Transculturation and Literature
- Trujillo, Rafael
- Tupac Amaru Rebellion, The
- United States and Castro's Cuba in the Cold War, The
- United States and the Guatemalan Revolution, The
- United States Invasion of the Dominican Republic, 1961–196...
- Urban History
- Urbanization in the 20th Century, Latin America’s
- U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War
- Vargas, Getúlio
- Venezuelan Literature
- Women and Labor in 20th-Century Latin America
- Women in Colonial Latin American History
- Women in Modern Latin American History
- Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas