- Border friction in the declining days of Spanish rule in Florida saw three flags raised over Amelia Island between 1812 and 1817. The first of these, the so-called Patriots Flag, bore the Latin legend, "Salus populi lex suprema," or "The safety of the people is the supreme law." This handsome flag was hoisted by a force of seventy Georgians and nine Floridians who crossed the St. Marys River on March 13, 1812, to establish the independent "Territory of East Florida." The movement failed with its repudiation by President James Madison. Next, on June 20, 1817, an expedition headed by Gregor MacGregor pushed onto Amelia Island and raised a white flag with a green cross. MacGregor, a veteran of several Latin American revolutions, was forced to flee from Amelia Island four months later.
Learn more about the Reference collection »