Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Jeffrey P. Shepherd


The Florida Borderlands from 1765 to 1837 was a fluid space in which established colonial and Indigenous social, political, and economic systems were in dialogue with emerging discourses associated with the market economy, nationalism, and race. Utilizing British, Spanish, and United States government documents, diplomatic correspondence, and slave claims, this work traces the racialization of diverse Indigenous and African populations. Older colonial powers and nascent nation states sought to create political and social space between individuals within these categories in an effort to better control their labor, movement, and economic status. Consequently, Seminoles and Africans resisted and adapted, depending on the situation, to these new forms of colonialism, especially during the U.S-Seminole Wars.

This study's chronological scope facilitates a greater focus on the continuity of processes such as racialization and identity formation between the British, second Spanish Florida, and U.S. territorial eras, roughly from the 1760s to the 1830s. Historians tend to compartmentalize these respective colonial projects as they pertain to Indigenous and African peoples. Additionally, runaway African slaves are viewed as simply members of the African Diaspora and separate from their Seminole neighbors despite their multifaceted relationship. This reinforces racial categories and de-emphasizes the fluid sociocultural boundaries that these groups crossed. A transnational borderlands framework interweaves the history of these groups and reveals their impact and influence upon each other. Since Florida was located within the larger Southeastern Borderlands and Atlantic World, it was affected by early nationalist discourse, the burgeoning international market economy, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

392 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

John Paul A. Nuño