Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 22, 2014


February 22, 1819: The Adams-Onis Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C.  The Treaty is also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida Treaty, sometimes shortened to Florida Treaty. The treaty was between the US and Spain and set the boundary between New Spain (what is now Mexico) and America as well as ceded Florida to the US in exchange for $5 million (~ $75 million today) and US claims to part of Spanish Texas west of the Sabine River. The lands ceded to Spanish control were never accepted by the people living in the regions that came to be US territory with the Louisiana Purchase. The treaty was negotiated by John Quincy Adams who was Secretary of State under President Monroe and Luis de Onis under King Ferdinand VII.

At the time of the negotiations, Spain had been weakened by the Peninsular War in Europe and was having difficulty with colonial lands in the Americas. Revolutionary factions in Central and South America were demanding independence. Spain had almost no military presence in the Americas and no way to actually enforce compliance. Since she was losing her mastery over the American territories, Spain was forced into a negotiation with the young nation. The Florida region was a hotbed of agitation as the state filled with escaped slaves, outlaws, and Native Americans who fled Georgia during the First Seminole War. During that war, General Andrew Jackson pursued fleeing Seminoles into Florida and captured Spanish forts while there.

There were many more incursions into Spanish Florida to retrieve slaves, capture the escaped outlaws, and track down Natives. When Jackson invaded, there were Cabinet members who wanted his immediate dismissal, but instead, Adams saw it as an opening for negotiations and eventually the state came into the Union with this treaty. It was signed on this date but took two years to ratify. The Senate had ratified immediately, but Spain wanted to use the treaty as leverage to keep America from helping revolutionaries in New Spain. The new addendum to the treaty took more negotiation and the treaty was finally enacted on February 22, 1821.

Florida is the 4th most populous state in the union although it is 22nd in size. It is the 8th most densely populated state with about 19.5 million people living there. The capital is at Tallahassee. The state has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States. First European contact was made by Ponce de Leon in 1513 who named it La Florida or Flowery Land. The economy is based mostly on tourism as it is home to many amusement parks with Disneyworld being the most famous. It is also home to the Kennedy Space Center. Agriculture also plays a major role in the economy of the state with oranges being the most important crop. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States and was established in 1565 by the Spanish. It is located on the eastern coast of the state.

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that’s the law. – Jerry Seinfeld

Florida isn’t so much a place where one goes to reinvent oneself, as it is a place where one goes if one no longer wished to be found. – Douglas Coupland

I love baseball. I’ll probably end up one of those old farts who go to spring training in Florida every year and drive from game to game all day. – Steve Earle

I turned my home state of Florida into the Land of Xanth. – Piers Anthony

Also on this day: Copy Rights – In 1774, perpetual copyrights were banned by House of Lords.
Hello, Dolly – In 1997, the Roslin Institute announced the successful cloning of a sheep.
Grady the Cow – In 1949, a cow got stuck in a silo and made national news.
The White Rose – In 1943, three young adults were executed.