British Heritage Trail
The history of British influence in Florida began in 1763 when Britain gained control of Florida in exchange for Havana, Cuba, which the British had captured from Spain during the Seven Years’ War (1756-63). The British had ambitious plans for Florida.
The land was split into two parts: West Florida, with its seat at Pensacola, and East Florida, with its capital at St. Augustine. The British tried to develop relations with a group of Indian people who were moving into the area from the north, and attempted to attract white settlers by offering land on which to settle and help for those who produced goods for export. Given sufficient time, the strategy might have converted Florida into a flourishing colony, but British rule lasted only 20 years.
Both East and West Florida remained loyal to Great Britain throughout the War for American Independence (1775-83). However, Spain- participating indirectly in the war as an ally of France – captured Pensacola from the British in 1781, and in 1784 regained the rest of Florida as part of the peace treaty that ended the American Revolution.
The 64-page Florida British Heritage Trail guidebook includes essays on the British Period and information on over 80 related historic sites and destinations throughout the state with direct links to Florida’s British history from the British Period into the 20th century. It also features a timeline of events, sidebars on related individuals and topics, and a selected bibliography.
The Florida British Heritage Trail was produced by the Florida Association of Museums, with historic preservation grant support provided by the Florida Department of State's Division of Historical Resources, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.For more information about the Florida Association of Museums, visit Flamuseums.org.
Published by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources.
Read the Florida British Heritage Trail online using this link.
Download a PDF of the British Heritage Trail
Learn more about British history in Florida using this bibliography, accessible through this link to the State Library and Archives of Florida.