The British superintendency of the Mosquito Shore, 1749-1787
After an informal relationship between the Indians of the Mosquito Shore and the governor and merchants of Jamaica that had lasted for nearly a hundred years, Robert Hodgson was sent to the Shore in 1740 to organise the scattered English settlers and Indians for military campaigns on the Spanish Main during the War of Jenkins' Ear. When the war ended, the Board of Trade established a superintendency on the Shore naming Hodgson as superintendent. His government (1749-1759) was punctuated by disputes between the Mosquitos, Shoremen and Spanish which nearly erupted into a new war. The second superintendent, Richard Jones, was replaced at the outbreak of Anglo-Spanish hostilities in 1762 by Captain Joseph Otway, when it was felt that a field officer was needed on the Shore. However, the war soon ended and the Mosquito Shore during Otway's superintendency (1762-1767) experienced peace, growth and prosperity. At Otway's death in 1767, Robert Hodgson, son of the first superintendent, was named to the office. His superintendency soon deteriorated into a series of bitter feuds with the settlers and the governors of Jamaica. In 1775 Hodgson's enemies persuaded Lord George Germain to replace him with his worst adversary, James Lawrie. Lawrie was superintendent until the evacuation of the Shore in 1787, avoiding all attempts by Hodgson to force his removal from office. During Lawrie's superintendency (1776-1787) the Shore was used as a base for military operations in the Anglo-Spanish conflict of 1779-1783, and then as a refuge for American loyalists. Succumbing to constant pressure by the Spanish, England abandoned the Mosquito Shore in 1786 at the signing of the Mosquito Convention. The evacuation of British settlers was terminated in June 1787, and Spanish settlements were formed on the Shore immediately thereafter.