by Robin F. A. Fabel
University of Alabama Press, 1988
Paper: 978-0-8173-1191-9 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-0312-9
Library of Congress Classification HC107.A13F32 1988
Dewey Decimal Classification 330.9759902

"Highly recommended." —CHOICE

This is the first book-length investigation of the economy of British West Florida and the extent to which it was economically viable given that it had been an economic failure for Spain. In it, author Robin Fabel explores both the territory's economy and history but also analyzes previously neglected but key aspects of British West Florida, including the maritime life of the province, the institution of slavery, and the potentially great immigration scheme sponsored by the Company of Military Adventures.

The British divided Florida into two colonies: East Florida and West Florida. West Florida comprised the area between the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Mississippi rivers, and from the Gulf of Mexico north to thirty-two degrees twenty-eight minutes north latitude, roughly the latitude of modern-day Jackson, MS and Montgomery, AL. In the geographic center of the colony were Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Floriday. British West Florida included parts of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi and existed from 1763 until 1783 at the end of the American Revolutionary War. 

Fabel contrasts the founding of Georgia, where slaves were initially excluded, with West Florida, where the slave trade became important economically. The British believed that only enslaved Blacks could labor successfully in the hot climate. Fabel gives an account of how owners employed enslaved people, how rare it was for slaves to be emancipated, and the passage of slave laws for West Florida. Fabel also explores British West Florida’s trade with Native Americans and the Caribbean islands, as well as the colony's relationships with neighboring Spanish and French communities.

Fabel's work offers an engaging and accessible account of the history of an expansive region of colonial North America during a fluid period of colonial history before American independence.