Chair, Dr. Michael Francis, Ph.D.
Dr. Gary Mormino, Ph.D.
Dr. Raymond Arsenault, Ph.D.
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
January 9, 2017
Florida emerged from the Revolutionary War “entangled.” A pawn of the United States, British, and Spanish, Florida might have been nominally aligned politically, but was essentially a cultural and social borderland existing on the edge of empire. Historians have successfully traced individuals in Florida to demonstrate the influence of non-British Colonists living in the South during the Revolution and Early Republic. This approach uses case studies to illustrate the challenges faced, some of which include economic independence versus interdependence, loyalty, citizenship, and international diplomacy. William Augustus Bowles is one such individual who stood “entangled” in Florida, between greater Caribbean, Atlantic and global forces. Deserting from the British during the American Revolution, Bowles fled to the Florida interior where he remained hidden from the historical narrative until he writes a letter to the Spanish King declaring an independent Creek state. In this 1791 letter he names himself Director General and demands sovereign rights. The Spanish send troops to quash the rebellion, arrest Bowles and subsequently transport him to Cadiz to stand trial. Bowles Florida rebellion represented the diverse interests of Creeks and Europeans living among natives caught between the Spanish, British, and Americans in late eighteenth-century. This paper will explore this fascinating “entanglement” and illustrate the fluid nature of citizenship during the Age of Revolution.
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Hough, Clinton, "Florida Entanglements: The 1791 William Augustus Bowles Rebellion" (2017). USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate). 163.