The first five years of Gaspar's naval activity were years of
prominence and prosperity for Spain. But in 1782, lulled into a false
sense of security, Spain was dealt a severe defeat by the British. After a
long bitterly fought naval battle, several Spanish ships were forced to put
far out to sea to escape either capture or destruction. Among these was
the Florida Blanca, the ship upon which Jose Gaspar was serving as
The next year, in a treaty with England, Spain was allowed to
keep Minorca, and she also acquired the Floridas. Meanwhile the ships
at sea were forced into idleness while awaiting orders. The risk-loving
Jose Gaspar and a group of restless young officers, chafing under
inactivity, began thinking of the newly-acquired Floridas and the
excitement and riches said to await the adventurous there. After many
talks among themselves, they formed a committee, with the boldest of
the lot, Gaspar, at its head, to appeal to the captain to desert the navy sail
for the New World.
The loyal captain became righteously angry. He declared the act
treason, and ordered the young officers severely punished. The
punishment rankled deeply, and, led by Gaspar, talk turned to mutiny.
Secret councils were held and before many weeks most of the crew had
joined with the bold young officers.
In the mutiny which followed, the captain and his few loyal men
were murdered. The Florida Blanca then set sail for the Floridas.