Fourteenth Colony

The Forgotten Story of the Gulf South During America's Revolutionary Era

Fourteenth Colony

The Forgotten Story of the Gulf South During America's Revolutionary Era

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The British colony of West Florida-which once stretched from the mighty Mississippi to the shallow bends of the Apalachicola and portions of what are now the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana-is the forgotten fourteenth colony of America's Revolutionary era. The colony's eventful years as a part of the British Empire form an important and compelling interlude in Gulf Coast history that has for too long been overlooked. For a host of reasons, including the fact that West Florida did not rebel against the British Government, the colony has long been dismissed as a loyal but inconsequential fringe outpost, if considered at all. But the colony's history showcases a tumultuous political scene featuring a halting attempt at instituting representative government; a host of bold and colorful characters; a compelling saga of struggle and perseverance in the pursuit of financial stability; and a dramatic series of battles on land and water which brought about the end of its days under the Union Jack. In Fourteenth Colony, historian Mike Bunn offers the first comprehensive history of the colony, introducing readers to the Gulf Coast's remarkable British period and putting West Florida back in its rightful place on the map of Colonial America.
At last we have an easy-to-read book that corrects the long-embraced notion of thirteen American colonies rising in revolution against Britain. Bunn's impressively researched and well-written volume reveals that there were actually fourteen colonies and that one, though largely forgotten to history, remained loyal. Fourteenth Colony will open many eyes to a startling historical omission just as it will force reconsideration of how we teach, and interpret, the American Revolution.

—Samuel C. Hyde Jr., Leon Ford Endowed Chair, Professor of History, Southeastern Louisiana University

An illuminating exploration of a chapter of American history most readers haven't previously encountered.

—Kirkus Reviews

A readable and well-researched history of British West Florida has long been overdue. Now, finally, we have one thanks to Mike Bunn. In briskly paced prose, Bunn explores Britain's under-appreciated 'fourteenth colony' from its straggling Mississippi River outposts to its Gulfside Pensacola capital. Along the way he introduces us to a host of colorful personalities including tattooed Indian warriors, Indigo cultivators, runaway slaves, harrumphing administrators, determined ship captains, and underfed soldiers before ending the saga, too soon, amidst Spanish smoke and cannon balls. Nicely done!

—John S. Sledge, author of The Mobile River and The Gulf of Mexico: A Maritime History

A thorough synthesis of every important aspect of British West Florida history. Nothing quite like this currently exists. This will be a very useful book.

—Robin Fabel, Professor of History Emeritus, Auburn University,, author of The Economy of British West Florida, 1763–1783

Mike Bunn has written the first thorough history of West Florida, a British colony in America during the era of the American Revolution. He chronicles the lives and labors of settlers, slaves, and soldiers in the sickly, even deadly, subtropical region of present day southern Alabama and Mississippi. His story includes a compelling account of the three-year war that culminated in Spain's capture of the colony at near the same moment that the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. Fourteenth Colony is good history and a good read, which significantly adds to our knowledge of colonial America and the Revolutionary War.

—John Ferling, bestselling author of several books on early America, including Apostles of Revolution

Mike Bunn's groundbreaking new book Fourteenth Colony takes readers where few have gone before, to an all-but-forgotten English outpost in the land of live oaks and Spanish moss on the Gulf coast. When thirteen other British colonies revolted in 1775, West Florida discovered that it had its own role in the drama of revolution, not as player, but as a target. Bunn's description of those events is unsurpassed. Combining groundbreaking research with mature judgments and crisp narrative, Fourteenth Colony will surely be the definitive work on one colony that somehow escaped becoming another stripe on Old Glory.

—William C. Davis, author of The Rogue Republic: How Would-Be Patriots Waged the Shortest Revolution in American History

Historian Mike Bunn spotlights British West Florida during the American Revolution in this accessible and well-researched account. Bunn combines deep scholarship with vivid storytelling in this comprehensive record of the period.

—Publishers Weekly

An excellent, well-researched introduction to a long-forgotten British colony of America's Revolutionary era.

—Library Journal

Engaging and well written. A smart, well-researched book.

—Journal of the American Revolution

Mike Bunn's accomplishment with Fourteenth Colony is an impressive one. Accessible and captivating colonial history and wartime exploits are presented with a striking human dimension. Bunn illuminates obscure history in a palatable and compulsively readable way.

—Alabama Writers' Forum

About the Author/Editor

MIKE BUNN is an author and historian who has worked with several cultural heritage organizations in the Southeast. He currently serves as director of Historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He is author or co-author of several books, including Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798-1826; Alabama From Territory to Statehood: An Alabama Heritage Bicentennial Collection; Well Worth Stopping to See: Antebellum Columbus, Georgia Through the Eyes of Travelers; Civil War Eufala; Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and War of 1812; and Images of America: The Lower Chattahoochee River. Mike is editor of Muscogiana, the journal of the Muscogee County Genealogical Society. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Alabama Historical Association, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Baldwin County Historical Development Commission. Mike and his wife live in Daphne, Alabama, with their daughter.