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Description

Fascinating post-Lousiana Purchase map of the United States, which is particularly important for the inclusion of Florida, at a time when the control of Florida (and especially West Florida and the Gulf Coast region) were being hotly contested by the US, Britain, Spain and the Free and Independent Republic of West Florida.

The present map is a modified version of an early map of Gussefeld, with the additon of an extra paste down flap to cover Florida, almost certainly as a result of the historically imporant changes in the control and governance of Florida which occured between 1810 and 1812 (detailed below).

Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1805, there was a tremendous push to chart and explore the new American West. This map is illustrative of the extent of contemporary knowledge of the area purchased by Jefferson in 1803, including the regions which were then loosely defined as East and West Florida and the regions west of the Mississippi River. The map depicts conjectural mountain ranges in the regions north and south of the Missouri River along with scattered Indian Tribes, several years before the official accounts of the explorations of Lewis & Clark, Pike, and the Freeman/Custis expedition were published. A massive Indiana Territory extends nearly to Winnepeg.

Florida was a Spanish possession until Britain took control in 1763. While Spain retook control of Florida in 1783, its presence was minor and ineffectual. Spain offered free land packages in Florida, which attracted many settlers from the US and elsewhere. It also became a haven for escaped slaves and a base for Indian attacks against the US. American and British settlers ignored Spanish officials. In 1810, following a successful assault on the Spanish garrison at Boca Raton, the settlers established the Free and Independent Republic of West Florida. The republic included its own flag: a single white star on a blue field, called the Bonnie Blue Flag.

On October 27, 1810, parts of West Florida were annexed by the US, as part of the Louisiana Purchase. At first, purchase negotiator Fulwar Skipwith and the West Florida government were opposed to the proclamation, preferring to negotiate terms to join the Union. William C. C. Claiborne was sent to take possession of the territory and refused to recognize the legitimacy of the West Florida government. Skipwith and the legislature later agreed to accept annexation. Possession was taken of St. Francisville on December 6, 1810, and of Baton Rouge on December 10, 1810. These portions were incorporated into the newly formed Territory of Orleans. The U.S. annexed the Mobile District of West Florida to the Mississippi Territory in 1812, over Spain's objection.

The Adams-Onís Treaty was signed between the United States and Spain on February 22, 1819 and took effect on July 10, 1821. According to the terms of the treaty, the United States acquired Florida and, in exchange, renounced all claims to Texas. Andrew Jackson formally took control of Florida from Spanish authorities on July 17, 1821 at Pensacola. Once Florida became a U.S. Territory, the prior settlers who were Spanish land grantees were allowed to validate the Spanish grants, which resulted in years of litigation over land rights in the region.