Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Fifteen original colonies?

As the 4th of July approaches, Paul Janensch reminds us in this Treasure Coast Essay that the two Floridas stayed with Great Britain.

On July 4th, 1776, 13 British colonies on the Atlantic Coast (of North America) declared their independence.  But to the south, two other colonies remained loyal to King George III.  They were East Florida and West Florida.  What is now Florida did not join the American Revolution and, in fact, became a haven for loyalists from rebel colonies.  Great Britain had acquired Florida from Spain in 1763 at the conclusion of the French and Indian War.  Florida then stretched from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.  The British divided it into East Florida and West Florida, separated by the Apalachicola River.  At the conclusion of the War of Independence, Spain, which had supported the revolution, got the Floridas back.  Then for years, the U.S. and Spain argued about the boundaries of West Florida.  American settlers even established the Republic of West Florida.  It lasted only 90 days.  Eventually, the U.S. acquired the two Floridas from Spain by treaty.  In 1845 a unified Florida, minus much of its former panhandle, was admitted to the Union as the 27th state. Had the two Floridas joined the rebel colonies in 1776, our flag would have 15 stripes, instead of 13.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.