Louisiana (New Spain)

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Spanish colonial Louisiana
Luisiana
District of New Spain

1762–1802
Flag Coat of arms
Cross of Burgundy Coat of arms
Location of New Spain
Territory of Louisiana (1762)
Capital Nueva Orleans
History
 •  Acquisition from France 1762
 •  Return to France 15 October 1802
Political subdivisions Upper Louisiana;
Lower Louisiana
DeSoto claiming the Mississippi, as depicted in the United States Capitol rotunda

Louisiana (Spanish: Luisiana, French: La Louisiane) was the name of an administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1762 to 1802 that consisted of territory west of the Mississippi River basin, plus New Orleans. Spain acquired the territory from France, who had named it La Louisiane in honor of King Louis XIV in 1682. It is sometimes known as Spanish Louisiana. The district was transferred back to France in 1800, under the terms of the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso.

History[edit]

Spain was largely a benign absentee landlord administering it from Havana, Cuba, and contracting out governing to people from many nationalities as long as they swore allegiance to Spain. During the American War of Independence, the Spanish funneled their supplies to the American revolutionists through New Orleans and the vast Louisiana territory beyond.

In keeping with being absentee landlords, Spanish efforts to turn Louisiana into a Spanish colony were usually fruitless. For instance, while Spanish officially was the only language of government, the majority of the populace firmly continued to speak French. Even official business conducted at the Cabildo often lapsed into French, requiring a translator on hand.[citation needed]

Upper & Lower, or the Louisianas[edit]

Spanish colonial officials divided Luisiana into Upper Louisiana (Alta Luisiana) and Lower Louisiana (Baja Luisiana) at 36° 35' North, at about the latitude of New Madrid.[1]

This was a higher latitude than during the French administration, for whom Lower Louisiana was the area south of about 31° North (the current northern boundary of the state of Louisiana) or the area south of where the Arkansas River joined the Mississippi River at about 33° 46' North latitude.

Timeline[edit]

Spanish exploration[edit]

French control[edit]

Spanish control[edit]

The Cabildo, next to the San Luis cathedral (See photo below.)
Calle de San Luis in the French Quarter of New Orleans
St. Louis (San Luis) Cathedral, on the former Plaza de Armas

French control[edit]

  • 1800 – In the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, Napoleon secretly acquired the territory, but Spain continued to administer it.
  • 1801 – The United States was permitted again to use the port of New Orleans.
  • 1803 – The purchase of Louisiana by the United States was announced.
  • 1803 – Spain refused Lewis and Clark permission to travel up the Missouri River, since the transfer from France to the United States had not been made official; they spent the winter in Illinois at Camp Dubois.
  • 1803 – On November 20, 1803, Spanish officials formally conveyed the colonial lands and their administration to France.
  • 1803 – France turned over New Orleans, the historic colonial capital, to the United States on December 20, 1803.
  • 1804 – On March 9 and 10, 1804, another ceremony, called Three Flags Day, was conducted in St. Louis to transfer ownership of Upper Louisiana from Spain to the French First Republic, and then from France to the United States.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reasonover, John R.; Michelle M. Haas (2005). Reasonover's Land Measures. Copano Bay Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-9767799-0-2. 
  2. ^ Bradshaw, Jim (27 January 1998). "Broussard named for early settler Valsin Broussard". Lafayette Daily Advertiser. 

See also[edit]