The Lost History of America
First Documentary (2018)
This documentary traces the hidden history of St Augustine (Florida), the first permanent European settlement in North America. It was founded in 1565 by Spanish colonists, 42 years before the English founded Jamestown (Virginia), the first “official” North American colony. History textbooks gloss over the fact that England had 15, not 13 North American colonies at the time of The Revolutionary War. They always neglect to mention East and West Florida (which were transferred from Spain to England by the 1763 Treaty of Paris. For two main reasons 1) because the Florida colonies fought for the British rather than the colonists and 2) because under Spanish rule, both East and West Florida outlawed slavery and offered sanctuary to runaway slaves.
After the war, the US ceded East and West Florida to Spain as a reward for Spanish financial and military support. However the land came the condition, imposed by Secretary of State (and slaveholder) Thomas Jefferson, that both colonies would cease to provide sanctuary for slaves from northern states.
The Seminole tribes ignored Jefferson and continued to shelter runaway slaves in Florida swamps where slave catchers couldn’t pursue them.
In 1812, the governor of Georgia raised a private army, assisted by the US Navy, to invade Florida in a military action known as the Patriot’s War. A coalition of Seminoles and freed slaves attacked the new plantations opened up by northern settlers, burned them and freed their slaves. In 1818 General Andrew Jackson launched the infamous Seminole War in retaliation.
In 1821, Spain officially ceded Florida to the US, forcing most of the free African families who had founded St Augustine to flee to the Bahamas – where the British had banned slavery.