In 1763, Spain traded Florida to Great Britain in exchange for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War. wikipedia

Why did Spain trade Florida to the British in exchange for Havana? Florida is much larger than Havana, and Spain still controlled about 80% of Cuban territory.

  • 9
    Size isn't everything. Mar 14, 2014 at 3:53
  • @PieterGeerkens yes I know, I can undestand why the british want florida, but not why Spain trade it. Mar 14, 2014 at 3:55
  • 3
    Havana is the best natural harbor in the island of Cuba, which was starting to develop serious agricultural value needing export capability. That was much more valuable to them than a few million acres of swamp. Mar 14, 2014 at 3:58
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    I'm from Havana, but now days miami port is one of the bigger port in America, Spain could be developed the same in that time, I thought. Cuba have in the south coast the Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba port, both are good too Mar 14, 2014 at 4:02
  • 5
    At the time, Florida was considered largely unfit for human habitation: unending swampland, summers so hot and humid you could die of heatstroke while lying in the shade, and swarms of mosquitoes and all the tropical diseases that go with them. Florida as you think of it today is the result of a century of massive civil engineering projects.
    – Mark
    Jul 12, 2016 at 23:43

3 Answers 3


The wikipedia page on Havana clarifies

Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Peace of Paris was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years' War. The treaty gave Britain Florida in exchange for the city of Havana on the recommendation of the French, who advised that declining the offer could result in Spain losing Mexico and much of the South American mainland to the British.[19] wikipedia

  • 4
    If you buy that last argument I have some swampland in Florida to sell to you and to that gullible Spanish King. Wait a sec! It was the Spanish who just dumped that wasteland of swamp on the British in exchange for Havana. Who really got the better deal in 1763 terms I wonder? Mar 14, 2014 at 21:19
  • @pieterGeerkens that is a good question. The things is much deeper that a lot of swampland, for me was more important strategics geograhic points, I think Spain didnt have military capacity to fight with brtiish...etc Mar 15, 2014 at 14:47
  • Sorry my english isnt good enough to make a more complex exposition Mar 15, 2014 at 14:50
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    Spain got it right back after the War of Independence anyway. WIN.
    – Oldcat
    Mar 19, 2014 at 22:55

The basic "settlement" of the Seven Years' War (called the French and Indian War in North America) was that Britain would get all of North America east of the Mississippi River. France gave up "East Louisiana" (the territory between the Mississippi and the Thirteen Colonies), while Spain gave up Florida.

In return, France got to "park" the main "Louisiana Territory with Spain (until Napoleon took it back), and Spain got to keep Mexico. Britain gave back Havana to Spain to "round off" the deal.


The better question is why did Britain exchange Havana for Florida? I think it is because Britain (for example, the Prime Minister Lord Bute) knew they could not keep Havana in the long term since it was only a matter of time before it was recaptured by the Spanish criollos, just like Buenos Aires would be 40 years later.

  • 2
    Welcome to History:SE. Sources to support your assertions would greatly improve this answer. Oct 15, 2017 at 13:29
  • 1
    Perhaps you should ask this as a new question?
    – MCW
    Oct 15, 2017 at 14:16

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