By Gilbert C. Din
“Using a plethora of formerly unexamined records from a couple of documents, this paintings offers the 1st transparent figuring out of William Augustus Bowles and his exploits alongside the Spanish Gulf Coast and one of the Creek Indians, demonstrating unequivocally that the glory-seeking adventurer was once now not the tragic heroic determine that he and former historians have claimed.”—F. Todd Smith, collage of North Texas
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Extra info for War on the Gulf Coast: The Spanish Fight against William Augustus Bowles
The adventurer began sporting the title of director general (Estajoca) of the Creek nation, which he bestowed upon himself inasmuch as few Creek leaders, especially the more numerous Upper Creeks, wanted any part of him. In his biography of Bowles, Wright Jr. employed the title as if the entire Creek nation had legitimately granted it, but it had not. Bowles and his partisans sought to imitate conditions in the American Northwest Territory, where British forts and arms helped the tribes resist encroaching Americans.
Newspapers had first apprised Campo of Bowles’s arrival in London months before and his efforts to secure English backing for his nefarious projects on Spanish territory. The adventurer represented interests that clashed with Spain’s and made him an enemy, not a harmless and picturesque tourist. 38 Only two weeks before he left England in April 1791, Bowles requested a fifteen-minute audience with the ambassador. Realizing that the adventurer’s purpose in London was to advocate war with Spain and exploit the Nootka Controversy to further his ambitions in Florida, Campo granted it with mixed emotions.
1 Bowles’s acquaintance with West Florida dated back to 1778, when as a teenage British loyalist soldier he served there during the American War for Independence. Unfortunately, much about his life is perplexing because he deviously manipulated accounts about himself to suit his purposes. A native of Frederick County, Maryland, and born in either October or November 1763, he enlisted in a loyalist militia at age thirteen. Anticipating combat in West Florida, the British sent reinforcements that included his Maryland 22 William Augustus Bowles Challenges the Spaniards • 23 militia unit to the colony about 1778.