The treaty was presented to the United States Senate on February 26, 1796 and after several weeks of debate was ratified on March 7, 1796. It was ratified by Spain on April 25, 1796 and ratifications were exchanged on that date. The treaty was proclaimed on August 3, 1796.
By terms of the treaty, Spain and the United States agreed that the southern boundary of the United States with the Spanish Colonies of East and West Florida was a line beginning on the Mississippi River at the 31st degree north latitude drawn due east to the middle of the Chattahoochee River and from there along the middle of the river to the junction with the Flint River and from there straight to the headwaters of the St. Marys River and from there along the middle of the channel to the Atlantic Ocean. This describes the current boundary between the present state of Florida and Georgia and the line from the northern boundary of the Florida panhandle to the northern boundary of that portion of Louisiana east of the Mississippi. (The line ceases to be a border from the Pearl River to the Perdido River in order to provide the states of Mississippi and Alabama with seaports.)
This boundary had been in dispute since the British had expanded the territory of the Florida colonies while it was in possession of them. It had moved the boundary from the 31st degree latitude northwards to a line drawn due east from the junction of the Yazoo River and the Mississippi, the present day location of Vicksburg, Mississippi. After the American Revolutionary War, Spain claimed the British border at the day of the Treaty of Paris while the United States insisted on the old boundary.
The treaty directed the United States and Spain to jointly survey the boundary line, and Andrew Ellicott served as the head of the U.S survey party. The treaty set the western boundary of the United States, separating it from the Spanish Colony of Louisiana as the middle of the Mississippi River from the northern boundary of the United States to the 31st degree north latitude. The agreement therefore put the lands of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations of American Indians within the new boundaries of the United States. The United States and Spain agreed not to incite native tribes to warfare. Previously, Spain had been supplying weapons to local tribes for many years. Spain and the United States also agreed to protect the vessels of the other party anywhere within their jurisdictions and to not detain or embargo the other's citizens or vessels. The treaty also guaranteed navigation of the entire length of the river for both the United States and Spain. The territory ceded by Spain in this treaty was organized by the United States into the Mississippi Territory in 1798.