The War of 1812
During the War of 1812, Spain allied with Great Britain and the U.S. annexed the Mobile District of West Florida into the Mississippi Territory in May 1812.
In April 1813, the surrender of Spanish forces at Mobile officially established American control over the area, which was later divided between the states of Alabama and Mississippi.
Meanwhile, in East Florida: General George Matthews, of the U.S. Army, had been authorized by the U.S. government to secretly negotiate with the Spanish governor for American acquisition of East Florida. Instead, in March of 1812, General Matthews organized a group of frontiersmen from Georgia, who arrived at the Spanish town of Fernandina and demanded the surrender of all of Amelia Island. They took control of Amelia Island on the Atlantic coast and declared themselves a republic free from Spanish rule. After declaring the island a free republic, he led his rag tag group, along with a contingent of U.S. army troops, south towards the Spanish controlled city of St. Augustine. Upon receiveing word of Matthews' actions, Congress became alarmed that he would provoke war with Spain. Then Secretary of State James Monroe quickly ordered Matthews to return all captured territory to Spanish authorities. After several months of negotiations on the withdrawal of the American forces and compensation for their foraging through the countryside, the countries finally came to an agreement and Amelia Island was returned to the Spanish in May 1813.
[Contributors: Jason Brown]
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