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The American Revolution and the Land Called Alabama

Dr. Leah Rawls Atkins, Auburn University (retired)
Correlates to Alabama Course of Study: Social Studies 10th Grade Content Standard 3, p. 71
Correlates to Graduation Exam Eligible Content Standard III, Objective 1

bulletRemember: there were fifteen British colonies in America (not just thirteen). The two British Colonies that are forgotten are the two royal colonies of West Florida, with a capital in Pensacola, and East Florida, with a capital in St. Augustine. Before and during the American Revolution, Mobile was part of West Florida.

bulletThese Florida territories came to the British in the Treaty of Paris, February 10, 1763, from the French. The two colonies are not included by Americans in the "original thirteen British/American colonies" because they did not revolt against the crown but remained loyal to Great Britain during the American Revolution.

bulletThe trails that led from Georgia through the land that eventually became part of the state of Alabama were often traveled by Loyalists who were fleeing from American Rebels (Patriots in American history). They were trying to reach Loyalist British West Florida—Pensacola or Mobile. Although the Georgia Loyalists could flee directly south, Indians and the great swamp lands of south Georgia and north Florida discouraged travelers.

bulletIn 1763 when the British commander Major Robert Farmar arrived in Mobile to take control of the colony from the French, the city had 350 people. The small fort, called Fort Condé by the French and renamed Fort Charlotte by the British, was in bad repair. It had barracks for 216 men—twelve to a room—a guard room, a bake house with oven, a mill for hulling rice, and a powder magazine. Much of the wooden structure of the fort was rotten.

bullet The British controlled the Floridas until the end of the American Revolution when a Spanish force from New Orleans under the command of Spanish governor Bernardo de Gálvez attacked Mobile in January 1780 and took control. Reinforcements from Pensacola could not cross the bay. At the Peace of Paris in 1783 both Floridas were ceded to Spain.