On July 27, 1816, a joint United States Army and Navy expedition attacked a community of escaped slaves living in and around a British-built fort at Prospect Bluff near the mouth of the Apalachicola River (roughly 100 miles east of Pensacola). Most histories of colonial Florida mention the so-called “Negro Fort,” but until now there has been no in-depth account of the rise and dispersal of the community surrounding it. Nathaniel Millett tells the story of the emergence of a short-lived maroon society on the borderlands of the US and Spanish empires at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In the course of uncovering and recounting the fascinating story of this community, he also offers what is likely to be a controversial interpretation of the wellsprings of this important example of resistance to slavery in the era of the early republic in...

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