McGregor to Capture Spanish Florida

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20 Jun 1817

1817 – Scottish soldier and adventurer Gregor MacGregor crossed the Georgia border into Spanish Florida with a force of 150 men in an attempt to capture the colony on this date. MacGregor claimed to be supporting the revolutionary commander Simon Bolivar in his attempts to rid the Americas of Spanish colonial rule. The small army comprised of Americans and other mercenaries attacked Fort San Carlos on Amelia Island on June 29th, and soon occupied the town. They began setting up a new government, even printing their own currency. He expected reinforcements from the Americans but President Monroe was busy securing the cession of both Floridas from the Spanish diplomatically. MacGregor left Florida a short time later announced in London he had been appointed the “Cacique of Poyais,” a fictional settlement in Central America. He began collecting money from potential settlers for land and eventually two ships carrying 180 passengers arrived to find no such settlement while MacGregor continued to sell land rights back in Europe. Macgregor eventually immigrated to Venezuela where he died in 1845.     


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