Loyalist to East Florida 1774-1785

Genealogy Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Sugar Plantations in the West Indies. The Spanish Armada was in St. Augustine, Florida before the 16th century. This territory attracted French Huguenots and local Indians. Indeed, a wide variety of peoples inhabited the territory as travelers from the West Indies and the European Continent. After the War with Spain (known as the War of Jenkins Ear) when General James Oglethorpe defeated Spain in 1742 on the American Continent,the Spanish Armada left St. Augustine and went to Cuba. This was a trade war which lasted from 1739 to 1748, mainly in New Granada and among the West Indies of the Caribbean Sea. Great Britain gained control of the Spanish Colony in 1763 as a result of the treaty which ended the French and Indian War (known as the Seven Years War in North America). From 1783 to 1821 East Florida became a province of Spanish Florida. By the 1800s, Spain lost interest in East Florida and American settlers commenced moving into the territory without authorization. The settlement of East Florida was heavily linked in London with the same interests that controlled Nova Scotia. The East Florida Society of London and the Nova Scotia Society of London had many overlapping members, and Council frequently followed their suggestions on the granting of lands to powerful merchant interests in London. After the Revolutionary War British troops evacuated Charles Town, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia, to go to into East Florida and beyond. It is noteworthy to consider that colonists owned large sugar plantations in the Caribbean, such as Barbadoes and St. Thomas.

A number of claims against Great Britain ensued between 1774 and 1785. These claims dealt with plantations and commodities which the British settlers had previously lost to Spain. The claims are quite interesting and relate a number of personal details, such as where the settlers were born, number of acres, etc. These documents ultimately ended up in London. They are helpful to the genealogist as they help to complete the story of what happened to Loyalists in America!

For members of Georgia Pioneers (8 Genealogy Websites), here is the link to Loyalist Claims 1774-1785

Suggested reading: sugar plantations ; history of Florida

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