At nearly the same time as Father Miguel Hidalgo issued his Grito de Dolores, American adventurers moved into the Spanish territory of West Florida. Americans had claimed this province, bounded by the Mississippi River to the west, the Perdido River to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, as part of the Louisiana Purchase, but Spain, which had separated it from Louisiana in 1783 at the end of the American War for Independence, resisted this claim. Even so, American settlers began to move in, the northern border with the US open to broad interpretation.
One of these newcomers, Fulwar Skipwith, was a Virginian with close ties to President James Madison and future president James Monroe who had moved near Baton Rouge, the Spanish capitol of West Florida in 1809. Starting in June 1810, he and other Americans plotted to throw off Spanish control of the region. On September 23, while revolution erupted in Mexico, the West Florida Dragoons under Major Isaac Johnson, a volunteer militia composed largely of American immigrants, overpowered the Spanish garrison in Baton Rouge and declared the independent republic of West Florida. They unfurled a flag featuring a lone star on a blue field and declaring the capital as St. Francisville in present-day Louisiana with Skipwith as its governor.
The new nation proved short-lived. In his inaugural address, Skipwith declared his intention to seek annexation to the United States; US troops marched in to make good on that declaration the following December, adding the Republic of West Florida as far as the Pearl River to Louisiana. This region is still known as the Florida Parishes.
The Spanish, distracted at home and abroad, could do little to stop this aggression. The Americans, emboldened, annexed the rest of Spanish West Florida east to the Perdido River and added it to the Mississippi Territory. This region is now divided between the states of Mississippi and Alabama and gives them a shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico.
The five-pointed star became the new symbol of revolution, and it would see service again elsewhere in the coming years.