For a brief period in 1810, there was a tiny independent country that existed between Louisiana and Florida. Not many people remember the Republic of West Florida, but you can still find its faded outline on old maps:
The republic arose out of a dispute between Spain and the US over who, exactly, owned this small patch of North America. Eventually, the inhabitants rebelled and formed their own independent republic that lasted about 78 days (give or take) before being reclaimed by the United States.
It may not have lasted very long, but the story of the Republic of West Florida reveals a lot about the messy ways in which the United States actually expanded in its early years. I talked to historian William C. Davis, who wrote The Rogue Republic: How Would-Be Patriots Waged the Shortest Revolution in American History, about this odd, short-lived country.
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