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From Contemporary Narratives and Letters
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Arms of Spain
Arms of Spain over the sally port at Castillo de San Marcos.


Through the Treaty of 1819, Spain ceded Florida to the United States in amicable settlement of disputes and misunderstandings that had been rife for many years. The removal of Spanish dominion clarified Florida boundary matters and put the United States in a position to solve the remainder of the Florida problems. More important, consolidation in the East meant freedom to meet the challenge of the West.

The treaty was ratified in 1821 and on July 10 of that year, East Florida was formally transferred to the United States with a picturesque ceremony at the old castle. The memorandum of procedure, as worked out by the U. S. Commissioner and the Spanish Governor, is given below:

St. Augustine, July 6, 1821.

The Spanish troops (excepting the detachment left in the fort) to be embarked on Monday, the 9th instant, ready to cross the bar on the following day.

There will be a salute fired by the fort on Tuesday morning, on hoisting the Spanish flag. During the disembarcation of the American troops, the flag of the United States will be hoisted along with the Spanish flag, when the fort will again fire a salute. The American officer who delivers the flag to remain in the fort until its delivery. When the American troops are formed near the fort the Spanish flag will be withdrawn under a salute; the guards will then be relieved, and the troops of Spain will march out, and, on passing the former, they will mutually salute; when the American troops will be marched into and occupy the fortress.

ROBERT BUTLER, United States Commissioner.


Memorandum on the Manner of Occupying Castle San Marcos, St. Augustine, 1821.


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