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FIRST -- Lone Star Republic in the US, Slidell LA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 30° 17.940 W 089° 42.725
16R E 239165 N 3355033
Quick Description: In 1810, Louisiana's Florida parishes rebelled against the Spanish government and declared independence, which lasted for a short 76 days.
Location: Louisiana, United States
Date Posted: 2/27/2015 8:58:35 AM
Waymark Code: WMNEBE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Zork V
Views: 26

Long Description:
It truly does pain Blasterz, big noisy Texans that we are, to submit this waymark that proves that our Lone Star Republic was not the first. But we respect history, and console ourselves with the fact that even if the Texas Lone Star Republic was not the first, it was certainly the longest lasting. The West Florida Lone Star Republic existed for 76 days. The Republic of Texas lasted for over 9 years. In a large a well-appointed rest area on the westbound I-10 in Slidell, Louisiana, a handsome memorial to the Republic of West Florida stands proudly, commemorating the unique history of the "Florida Parishes" of Louisiana, which rebelled against the Spanish government and established their own independent Lone Star Republic in 1810. That Republic existed for less than three months, before being overtaken by the United States. A monument erected in 2011 at this rest area tells the tale of this revolution: "ORIGINAL LONE STAR REPUBLIC 1810 L panel: In 1810 residents of Louisiana's Florida parishes rose in an armed insurrection and overthrew the Spanish government. R panel: The independent Republic of West Florida existed for 74 days before being forcibly annexed by American forces on December 10, 1810. Placed by the West Florida Republic Bicentennial commission September 2011” At least Blasterz, who are loud and proud Texans, can take solace in the fact that our Lone Star Republic lasted for nine years, not 76 days. For more on the Republic of West Florida, see the excellent Explore Southern History blog here: "Deep South Republic of 1810 by Dale Cox Last Updated July 7, 2013 While many know that Texas was a republic unto itself before coming into the United States, few realize that parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and potentially Florida were as well. Following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, a diplomatic dispute grew over ownership of the vast region delineated by the Mississippi River on the west, the 31st Parallel to the north, the Perdido River to the east and Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf of Mexico to the South. Spain possessed the area and had controlled it since it was returned to Spanish control at the end of the American Revolution. The United States, however, claimed that the territory was part of the Louisiana Purchase, even though France did not possess it at the time of the great acquisition. The region had originally been claimed by the French, who planted settlements from the Mississippi east to Mobile Bay during the 1700s. Great Britain gained control of the district - along with all of Spanish Florida - in 1763 under the terms of the treaty that ended the Seven Years or French and Indian War. England then combined the former French territory in what is now Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi with the section of Florida west of the Apalachicola River to create its new colony of West Florida. Spain, which allied with the fledgling United States in the American Revolution, in turn gained control of the entire region in 1783 by the treaty that ended the revolution. When the Louisiana Purchase was finalized in 1803, France had no control or legal title to West Florida. Spain still occupied the region and Spanish troops held posts at Mobile, Baton Rouge and elsewhere. The growing United States coveted the region, but had no legitimate claim to it. Many of the citizens of West Florida in 1803 were former Americans who had migrated down into the area to gain rich farmland in the Florida Parishes. Disappointed at finding themselves still under Spanish rule, they staged an unsuccessful revolution in 1804 but were put down by the Spanish military. In June of 1810, many of these people began a series of secret meetings (and three public ones) to plan another revolt. They quietly armed themselves, organized a military and prepared for action. The long-awaited revolution began on September 23, 1810, when an armed force led by Philemon Thomas attacked and captured the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge. Two Spanish soldiers were killed and three wounded in the attack, but when the smoke cleared the flag of the new Republic of West Florida was raised over the fort. Best known today as the "Bonnie Blue Flag" of Southern Independence, the flag was made by Melissa Johnson, the wife of Major Isaac Johnson of the West Florida Dragoons. Consisting of a rectangular blue field with a single blue star (representing the new republic), it first flew as the national flag of the Republic of West Florida. On September 26, 1810, the people of the new republic declared their independence from Spain. An offer was immediately made to Governor David Holmes of the Mississippi Territory and Governor W.C.C. Claiborne of the Orleans Territory (Louisiana) to take possession of the territory on behalf of the United States. Understandably unsure of their authority, the two governors waffled and the issue made its way up to President James Madison in Washington, D.C. Assuming they had been rebuffed in their offer, the leaders of the Republic of West Florida moved forward in establishing a permanent government. St. Francisville, in present-day Louisiana, was named the national capital and on October 24, 1810, a constitution was adopted. Similar to the U.S. Constitution, the document established a supreme court and two houses of the legislature. Fulworth Skipwith was named the first (and only) leader of the Republic. Three days after West Florida completed the formation of its national government, the United States suddenly acted. On October 27, 1810, President James Madison issued a proclamation claiming the territory for the United States. This was done without the approval of Congress or through negotiation with either the Republic or Spain and its legality was the subject of serious question. Governor Claiborne was ordered to take possession of the territory and, with assistance from Governor Holmes, moved to do so. U.S. troops occupied the national capital at St. Francisville on December 6, 1810, and raised the Stars and Stripes over Baton Rouge four days later. Reaction to the U.S. seizure was mixed. Although many of the West Florida leaders had originally supported turning the territory over to the United States, they had ultimately gone forward with the development of an independent nation. Skipwith, it is said, pledged to shed his blood for the Republic. The Spanish garrison at Fort Carlotta in Mobile refused to give up the post and would not do so until faced with attack by a large American force in 1813. The Republic of West Florida passed into history and the territory it once claimed became parts of the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The legality of the U.S. takeover remains questionable, but the results were permanent. The Bonnie Blue Flag of the Republic was not forgotten and flew again when Southern states declared their independence from the Union in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War (or War Between the States). Forgotten, however, was the marching song of West Florida's army, which included this unique verse: West Floriday, that lovely nation, Free from king and tyranny, Thru' the world shall be respected, For her true love of Liberty. St. Francisville, the capital of the Republic, is today a charming small town known for its rich history and the beauty of the magnificent old plantation homes that surround it. One of these, Oakley Plantation, stood at the time of the revolution and can be seen today at Audubon State Historic Site. Details on the history of the Republic of West Florida can also be obtained at the West Feliciana Historical Society museum. Interstate 12 through the Florida Parishes of Louisiana has been designed and marked as the Republic of West Florida Highway. The Louisiana Encyclopedia also has an entry on the revolt here:
FIRST - Classification Variable: Item or Event

Date of FIRST: 9/23/1810

More Information - Web URL: [Web Link]

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