West Florida Bicentennial



west florida flag


Republic of West Florida Flag


Years in the Making 

The bicentennial of the West Florida Revolt and the Lone Star Republic was celebrated
in 2010 with new monuments and walking trails, theatrical productions, historical
lectures, educational programs, and festivals.

A commission, created by legislation sponsored by State Rep. John Bel Edwards, met
for the first time at Southeastern’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, which
served as headquarters for bicentennial planning and events.

Southeastern history professor Sam Hyde, director of the Center and an authority on
Florida Parishes history, said the bicentennial’s goal was “overcoming the ignorance
and mystery that surrounds the event that gives the Florida Parishes its distinctive
identity and makes the area the most unique region of Louisiana.”

“Most people fail to realize that the Florida Parishes were not a part of the Louisiana
Purchase,” said Hyde. “Instead, the region remained a part of the Spanish Empire.
After a failed effort in 1804 to overthrow Spanish authority in the region, a far
more organized rising occurred in 1810.”

Hyde said armed rebels stormed the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge early in the morning
of Sept. 23, 1810, and “in a sharp and bloody firefight wrested control of the region
from the Spanish.” Meeting at St. Francisville, the West Florida Assembly elected
Fulwar Skipwith governor of the new republic and commissioned an army under General
Philemon Thomas to march across the territory, subdue opposition to the insurrection,
and seek to secure as much Spanish held territory as possible for the new republic.

“Eventually the territory of the republic extended from the Mississippi to the Pearl
River,” Hyde said. “The republic endured for 74 days before being forcibly annexed
by the United States, an event that essentially completed the Louisiana Purchase.”

He said support for the revolt was far from unanimous. “Residents of the western Florida
Parishes proved largely supportive of the Revolt,” Hyde said, “while the majority
of the population in the eastern region of the Florida Parishes opposed the insurrection.
Thomas’ army violently suppressed opponents of the revolt, leaving a bitter legacy
in the Tangipahoa and Tchefuncte River regions.”



Related Links and Articles 

The Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies has been named the domicile for the West
Florida Bicentennial Commission by the Louisiana Legislature.

Reference Guide and Time Line of Events

Abbreviated Bibliography to the Florida Parishes Revolt

About the Florida Parishes

West Florida Republic Bicentennial Calendar of Events 2010

The West Florida Republic Trail: Exploring the Original Lone Star State Brochure


west florida

Map of West Florida, 1810


wf commission

The West Florida Republic Bicentennial Commission (standing behind a copy of the Republic
of West Florida constitution on display in the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies)
includes, from left, Jeannine Bickham, Washington Parish Tourist Commission; Betty
Stewart, Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau; Center Director Sam Hyde;
Renee Kientz, St. Tammany Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau; Rita Allen, St. Helena
Parish Tourist Commission; David Norwood, West Feliciana Parish representative; Audrey
Facine, East Feliciana Parish Tourist Commission; Eric Edwards, Livingston Parish
Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Dr. Florent Hardy, Secretary of State’s Office
and State Archivist. Not pictured: Kathi Mayor, Washington Parish Tourist Commission
and Shirley Newsham, East Baton Rouge Parish representative.