Settlers of the Spanish Florida Frontier: Canary Islanders in Colonial Florida

Presented By Diana Reigelsperger

Canary Islanders settled many of the frontiers across Spanish America including Florida, Louisiana, and Texas as well as the Caribbean and South America. In Florida, they were much desired as colonists. Some individual Islanders settled in Florida and became prominent citizens in the St. Augustine community, but never in large numbers. Finally, as part of a crown-sponsored settlement project, hundreds of Islanders arrived in 1757 only to find the city of St. Augustine under siege and unable to accommodate them. This presentation examines the origins of this unique group of settlers in colonial Florida, their challenges, and their legacy in Florida.

Diana Reigelsperger is a professor of history at Seminole State College. She recently published “Pirate, Priest, and Slave: Spanish Florida in the 1668 Searles Raid” in the Florida Historical Quarterly. She is currently researching maritime commerce, illicit trade, and slave trafficking between empires in the southeast. Diana received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2013. She is currently writing a book based on her dissertation which examines networks of immigration and trade in the colonial southeast.

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Diana Reigelsperger

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