1763 - British Occupation
In 1763, at the end of the French and Indian War, France, Britain, and Spain all signed the Treaty of Paris.
As part of the treaty, France gave up nearly all of its land in North America and Spain handed Florida over to the British in exchange for Havana, Cuba, which the British had captured from Spain during the Seven Years' War (1756–63).
The British made the land into two colonies: West Florida and East Florida.
It is said that no one did more to increase the European population of Florida than James Grant, the first Governor of British East Florida from 1764 to 1771.
Grant saw the importance of peaceful relations and reciprocal trade with the Natives. During his administration, the Timucuan tribes signed the Treaty of Fort Picolata, which set boundaries between the British and the Timucuan peoples. This time of peace helped to lure settlers to East Florida.
William Bartram, a British Royal botanist, came to the area of present day Lake County, in order to study the local flora and fauna. In 1774, during his travels in the future Lake County, he made the first documented sighting of a royal palm tree in North America.
By 1775, the start of the Revolutionary War, all of Florida belonged to the British and those residing there were loyal to the crown. A few white hunters and traders lived in the area that would become Lake County, together with runaway slaves and free black men, who found hiding in the scrub to be very effective means of evading the slave hunters.
[Contributors: Jason Brown]
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