Hand-colored plat maps such as this one by Surveyor Robert McHardy are among the documents used to establish ownership of land in Florida after it became a territory of the United States in 1821. The U.S. Board of Land Commissioners was established in 1822 (3 U.S. Statute 709, May 8) to settle all outstanding Spanish land grant claims in the territory that Spain ceded to the United States the previous year. The Board set up offices in Pensacola and Saint Augustine to determine the validity of all titles and private claims to these lands and either supported or rejected the claims based on its review of the documents submitted by claimants. This series is comprised of claims files containing those supporting documents, including petitions or memorials to a governor for land; surveys or plats; attestations; deeds of sale, gifts, wills, bequests, and exchanges; and translations of original Spanish land documents.