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Purchase of Florida - Adams Onis Treaty

James Monroe

Purchase of Florida - Adams Onis Treaty: James Monroe was the 5th American President who served in office from March 4, 1817 to March 4, 1825. One of the important events during his presidency was the Adams Onis Treaty and the purchase of Florida.

Definition and Summary of the Adams Onis Treaty
Summary and definition:
The Adams Onis Treaty (aka the Florida Treaty and the Transcontinental Treaty) was an agreement signed on ‎Febru ary 22, 1819 between the United States and Spain that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the United States and New Spain (now Mexico).

The Adams Onis Treaty: John Quincy Adams and Don Luis de Onís
Adams Onis Treaty is named after the men who negotiated the agreement: John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State of the United States, and Don Luis de Onís (1762–1827), the Spanish minister in America.

Facts about Adams Onis Treaty
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Adams Onis Treaty.

The Adams Onis Treaty for kids: Background History
The colonies of East and West Florida had remained loyal to the British during the Revolutionary War for American independence, but by the 1783 Treaty of Paris the Florida colonies returned to Spanish control.
The lands belonged to Spain and they became a refuge for  runaway slaves, fugitive Native American Indians, smugglers, and criminals of all kinds. Once in Florida, fugitives were generally safe and many joined the Seminole Indian tribe. Some Americans immigrants also moved into West Florida. In 1810, the American settlers in West Florida rebelled, declaring independence from Spain.

The Adams Onis Treaty for kids: Negotiations begin in 1815
The US Government used the rebellion in West Florida to make a claim on the lands. The claim was based on the contention that part of West Florida, from the Mississippi to the Perdido rivers, was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Negotiations between the U.S. and Spain for the Florida lands began in 1815. The Spanish minister Don Luis de Onís and James Monroe, who was then Secretary of State, led the negotiations. The Spanish suspected the Americans of supporting the rebellion of the West Florida settlers and the talks failed.

The Adams Onis Treaty for kids: General Jackson's 1818 Florida Raid
The situation in Florida erupted again in 1818. General Andrew Jackson chased some fleeing Native Indians over the boundary. The fugitives sought refuge with the Seminoles in the Spanish forts at Pensacola and St. Marks. The Seminoles and the escaped slaves were seen as a threat to Georgia. General Jackson was obliged to take the forts as well as the fugitives. His action was well received by the American public, and therefore received approval from the politicians. Americans sympathized with the Spanish colonists in their desire for independence.

The Adams Onis Treaty for kids: John Quincy Adams
The raid on Florida by General Jackson gave the US Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, the opportunity to open discussions again with the Spanish on behalf of the Monroe administration. He took an aggressive stance demanding that Spain either controlled the inhabitants of Florida or cede it to the United States.

Reason for the Adams Onis Treaty for kids: Why did Spain sell Florida?
Why did Spain agree to sell Florida? There were a number of reasons:

  • Spain was unwilling to make further investments in Florida

  • Many other Spanish colonies were rebelling against Spain

  • Spain was forced to negotiate, as it was losing its hold on its empire in the Americas - Spanish power had weakened in the New World

  • There were also threats in Europe - more rebellions had led to Emperor Francis I of Austria, King Frederick William III of Prussia, and Tsar Alexander I of Russia signing a treaty on 26 September, 1815 and forming a union called the Holy Alliance

  • There was also a threat from Great Britain who, in order to increase trade, had proposed that the U.S. and Great Britain should join in a declaration that the Spanish colonies were independent states

  • There was a distinct possibility that Spain would lose Florida without any compensation

What were the aim of the Adams Onis Treaty?
The aim of the Adams Onis Treaty was :

  • To draw a definite border between Spanish land and the Louisiana Territory through the Rocky Mountains and west to the Pacific Ocean

What were the Terms of the Adams Onis Treaty?
The terms of the Adams Onis Treaty were as follows:

  • Florida was sold to the U.S. for $5,000,000

  • It set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain (now Mexico).

  • The U. S. ceded to Spain its claims to Texas west of the Sabine River

  • Spain also retained possession of California and New Mexico

    • These two territories included lands of modern Nevada, Utah, Arizona and sections of Wyoming and Colorado

  • Spain relinquished its claims to Oregon north of the 42 degrees parallel (the northern border of California)

The Significance of the Adams Onis Treaty: How did the Adams Onis Treaty promote Nationalism?
What was the significance of the Adams Onis Treaty and how did the Adams Onis Treaty promote Nationalism? The Adams Onis Treaty:

  • Settled disputes between the United States and Spain for territorial rights within the New World which included several U.S. states

  • The treaty created a more unified country

  • The events surrounding the Adams Onis Treaty emphasized the intense dislike of American citizens to Europeans interfering with their affairs and encroaching on their lands. "America for Americans" was the nationalist cry

US American History
1801-1828: Evolution Era

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