Spanish West Florida

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A 1903 map showing the territorial changes of "West Florida"

West Florida (Spanish: Florida Occidental) was a province of the Spanish Empire from 1783 until 1821, when both it and East Florida were ceded to the United States. The region of West Florida initially had the same borders as the erstwhile British colony, though much of its territory was gradually annexed by the United States in the West Florida controversy. At its greatest extent, the colony included what are now the Florida Parishes of Louisiana, the southernmost parts of Mississippi and Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida. Whereas southeastern Louisiana and present-day coastal Mississippi and Alabama were annexed either prior to or during the War of 1812, the land which makes up present-day Florida was acquired several years later. It became the Florida Territory of the United States in 1822.


Spain was the first European state to colonize the Florida peninsula, establishing long-lasting settlements at St. Augustine, on the Atlantic coast, and at Pensacola and San Marcos de Apalache on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Following Spain's losses to Great Britain during the Seven Years' War, Spain ceded Florida to Britain in 1763. British administrators then divided the territory into two colonies: East Florida, including the Florida peninsula, and West Florida, extending from the Apalachicola River west to the Mississippi.

Spanish conquest[edit]

In 1779 Spain entered the American Revolutionary War on the side of France and the United States. Bernardo de Gálvez, governor of Spanish Louisiana, led a military campaign along the Gulf Coast, capturing Baton Rouge from the British in 1779, Mobile in 1780, and Pensacola in 1781.

In the 1783 peace treaty, Britain returned both Florida colonies to Spanish control.

Instead of administering Florida as a single province, as it had before 1763, Spain preserved the British arrangement of dividing the territory between East and West Florida (Florida Oriental and Florida Occidental).

Northern boundary[edit]

U.S. incursions[edit]