However, Spain agreed to continue administering the colony until French officials arrived and formalized the transfer (1803). The ceremony was conducted at the Cabildo in New Orleans on 30 November 1803, just three weeks before the formalities of cession from France to the United States pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase.
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.
When Alejandro O'Reilly re-established Spanish rule in 1769, he issued a decree on December 7, 1769, which banned the trade of Native American slaves. Although there was no movement toward abolition of the African slave trade, Spanish rule introduced a new law called coartación, which allowed slaves to buy their freedom, and that of others.
On May 4, 1795, 57 slaves and three local white men were put on trial in Point Coupee. At the end of the trial 23 slaves were hanged, 31 slaves received a sentence of flogging and hard labor, and the three white men were deported, with two being sentenced to six years forced labor in Havana.
Upper and Lower, or the Louisianas
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. 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.
In 1764, French fur trading interests founded St. Louis in what was then known as the Illinois Country. The Spanish referred to St. Louis as "the city of Illinois" and governed the region from St. Louis as the "District of Illinois".
Spanish communities in Louisiana
To establish Spanish colonies in Louisiana, the Spanish military leader Bernardo de Gálvez, governor of Louisiana at the time, recruited groups of Spanish-speaking Canary Islanders to emigrate to North America. In 1778, several ships embarked for Louisiana with hundreds of settlers. The ships made stops in Havana and Venezuela, where half the settlers disembarked (300 Canarians remained in Venezuela). In the end, between 2,100 and 2,736 Canarians arrived in Louisiana and settled near New Orleans. They settled in Barataria and in what is today St. Bernard Parish. However, many settlers were relocated for various reasons. Barataria suffered hurricanes in 1779 and in 1780; it was abandoned and its population distributed in other areas of colonial Louisiana (although some of its settlers moved to West Florida). In 1782, a splinter group of the Canarian settlers in Saint Bernard emigrated to Valenzuela.
Beginning in the 1790s, following the slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) that began in 1791, waves of refugees came to Louisiana. Over the next decade, thousands of migrants from the island landed there, including ethnic Europeans, free people of color, and African slaves, some of the latter brought in by the white elites. They greatly increased the French-speaking population in New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as the number of Africans, and the slaves reinforced African culture in the city.
1763 – The Treaty of Paris ended the war, with a provision in which France ceded all territory east of the Mississippi (including Canada) to Britain. Spain ceded Florida and land east of the Mississippi (including Baton Rouge) to Britain.
1763 – The Acadian (Cajun) migration began, with French settlers from Quebec and settlers on the east side of the Mississippi who had been ordered to leave the new Indian Reserve migrating to Louisiana, which they believed was still French controlled land west of the Mississippi as well as New Orleans
1768 – Antonio de Ulloa became the first Spanish governor of Louisiana. He did not fly the Spanish flag and was forced to leave by a pro-French mob in the Rebellion of 1768.
1769 – Alejandro O'Reilly suppressed the rebellion, executed its leaders, and sent some plotters to prison in Morro Castle in Havana. He was otherwise benign and pardoned other participants who swore allegiance to Spain. He established Spanish law and the cabildo (council) of New Orleans.
1789 – Work on rebuilding New Orleans began, the city at that time being limited to what is now the French Quarter. The new structures had courtyards and masonry walls. The cornerstone for the new St. Louis Cathedral was laid.
1795 – Pinckney's Treaty settled boundary disputes with the United States and recognized its right to navigate through New Orleans.
1798 – Spain revoked the United States' right to travel through New Orleans.
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 30, 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, commemorated as 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.
^Reasonover, John R.; Michelle M. Haas (2005). Reasonover's Land Measures. Copano Bay Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-9767799-0-2.
^Ekberg, Carl (2000). French Roots in the Illinois Country: The Mississippi Frontier in Colonial Times. Urbana and Chicago, Ill.: University of Illinois Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 9780252069246.
^Santana Pérez, Juan Manuel; Sánchez Suárez, José Antonio. Emigración por Reclutamientos canarios en Luisiana (Emigration by Canarian recruitments in Louisiana). Servicio de Publicaciones, 1992. Page 133
^G. Armistead, Samuel. La Tradición Hispano - Canaria en Luisiana (Hispanic Tradition - Canary in Louisiana). Pages 51 - 61. Anrart Ediciones. Ed: First Edition, March 2007.
^Hernández González, Manuel. La emigración canaria a América (Canarian Emigration to the Americas). Pages 15 and 43 - 44 (about the expeditions and Canarian emigration of Florida and Texas), page 51 (about of the Canarian emigration to Louisiana). First Edition January, 2007
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