The Swing to the South

Peter J. Marshall

in Remaking the British Atlantic

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640355
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739279 | DOI:
The Swing to the South

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In the closing stages of the American war Britain gave priority to the defence of the West Indies, regarded as a British asset of the utmost national importance, over efforts to subdue the mainland colonies. The war had posed acute problems for the islands, but they quickly regained much of their prosperity through their slave‐worked plantation agriculture. Jamaica remained Britain's most valued colony. Although the Florida colonies had been surrendered to Spain at the peace, British governments were still interested in expanding Britain's stake in the Caribbean and around the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement of loyalists from the southern colonies in the Bahamas was supported, trade with the Spanish colonies was encouraged and plans for disrupting the Spanish empire by inciting Indian and creole revolts were revived in 1790 at the prospect of war with Spain.

Keywords: West Indies; Spanish empire; plantations; Jamaica; Florida; loyalists; Bahamas

Chapter.  9208 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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