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>From Ponce de Leon's discovery of Florida in 1513, Spain claimed Florida.
The French had tried unsuccessfully to take it. The British tried. Spain's
alliance with France in their unsuccessful war against England gave the
British their an excuse to attack Spain's colonial possessions. Cuba fell
to British troops with the capture of Havana in late 1761.The British
occupied Havana between August 1762 and February 1763, a short period that
had far-reaching effects on the Cuba. It opened Havana to free trade with
all nations and brought in the importation of goods and slaves at low
prices. The period of British occupation was important for the development
of the sugar industry and was marked by the religious tolerance and
Freemasonry . However, this climate of religious freedom was not easily
shared with the Spanish crown.
It was in trade for this important island that Spain agreed to give up
Florida. In 1783 at the second Treaty of Paris, Spain regained control of
Florida and reoccupied it after an absence of twenty years. In 1821 Florida
was ceded to the United States.
In 1763, the first Treaty of Paris brought to a close the struggle between
Great Britain, France and Spain for control of North America (the French and
Indian or Seven Years War). In it France ceded all lands east of the
Mississippi excluding New Orleans to Great Britain and Western Louisiana
including New Orleans to Spain. The Spanish in turn gave up East Florida to
the British in exchange for Cuba.
The trade of Spanish Florida for Cuba "the Pearl of the Antilles" was
controversial. Englishmen considered Florida unfit for agriculture and
devoid of natural wealth Control of Florida it eliminated the Spanish
The Royal Proclamation Act of 1763 established British East Florida and
British West Florida as the fourteenth and fifteenth American colonies
Another reason that the sun never set on the Union Flag. The real reason
God never trusted an Englishman in the dark.
Ref: Letter to William Bartram, December 27, 1761; William Darlington,
Memorials of John Bartram and Humphry Marshall 1849, facsimile edition, New
Francis Harper, "Travels in Georgia and Florida, A Report to Dr. John
Fothergill by William Bartram," Transactions of the American Philosophical
Society, Vol. XXXIII, part II,
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