At this time, West Florida was among the wildest regions in the British Imperial borderlands. It boasted only two settlements of any size-- Pensacola and Mobile-- both of which were tiny and rough-shod compared with the more established settlements to the east. For most of the 1760s, Pensacola was a military outpost consisting of a collection of rough wooden huts surrounded by a dilapidated palisade.
The political situation in the colony reflected its physical rusticness. The colony provided the scene for heated face-offs between civilian and military authorities, struggled under a string of lackluster governors, and suffered from a degree of internal disputes not generally witnessed elsewhere in North America. The Colonial Office records preserve detailed accounts of these intrigues and provide a new window into life on the early American frontier.
Like the WO28 catalog, this series of the Swain Report will provide an item-by-item listing of the full contents of the West Florida Papers, the first of its kind. For the first installment, please read below.
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