The United States Formally Takes Control of Florida (July 17, 1821)

The United States signed the Adams-Onís Treaty with Spain on February 22, 1819. The treaty provided for the transfer of Florida from Spain to the United States, and established the southern boundary between the U.S. and Mexico.

Map of Florida (ca. 1821)

Map of Florida (ca. 1821)

The formal transfer of Florida took place on July 17, 1821. An exchange of flags occurred first at St. Augustine on July 10, and then on July 17 at Pensacola. Andrew Jackson became governor of the newly created territory of Florida.

Drawing of the exchange of flags: St. Augustine (July 10, 1821)

Drawing of the exchange of flags: St. Augustine (July 10, 1821)

As part of the treaty with Spain, the U.S. agreed to honor Spanish land grants in Florida. Spain encouraged settlement in Florida by offering land grants in order to boost economic activity in the colony. Holders of Spanish land grants could submit claims to the U.S. government for compensation, or to retain their land after 1821.

The Spanish land grants provide information on the settlement and cultivation of Florida during the Second Spanish Period (1783-1821), and the Territorial Period (1821-1845).

Map showing the confirmed claim of John McIntosh along the St. Johns River at Migert’s Point

Map showing the confirmed claim of John McIntosh along the St. Johns River at Migert’s Point

Map showing confirmed claim of John Bolton

Map showing confirmed claim of John Bolton

The collection of Spanish Land Grants on Florida Memory includes many land grant claims with colorful maps depicting the landscape of Florida.

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3 thoughts on “The United States Formally Takes Control of Florida (July 17, 1821)

  1. Another outstanding post from the Florida Memory team! Is the one map actually pink or does it just appear that way from the scan?

    • Thank you for your comment. Our preservation specialist says that the difference between the “brown” map (John McIntosh) and the “pink” map (John Bolton) has to do with the content of the paper fiber. The paper for the brown map was of low quality and contained a lot of acid. It was bleached to make it white, but has turned brown over the years. The paper used for the pink map, on the other hand, was good quality hand-made linen or cotton paper. It was cream to start and has not been bleached. However, it has been stored next to acidic paper and the acids have migrated, making the paper appear pink.

      • I think that you should “pink” up all of the historic papers. Also, if only we still lived in a time where legal matters could be settled with artistic renderings. Can you imagine the drawings of divorces?

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