Third Treaty of San Ildefonso

The Third Treaty of San Ildefonso was a secret agreement signed on 1 October 1800 between the Spanish Empire and the First French Republic by which Spain agreed in principle to exchange their North American colony of Louisiana for territories in Tuscany. The terms were later confirmed by the March 1801 Treaty of Aranjuez.

Third Treaty of San Ildefonso
Preliminary and Secret Treaty between the French Republic and His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain, Concerning the Aggrandizement of His Royal Highness the Infant Duke of Parma in Italy and the Retrocession of Louisiana.
North America; Louisiana-New Spain in white
ContextSpain agrees to exchange Louisiana with France for territories in Italy
Signed1 October 1800
LocationReal Sitio de San Ildefonso


For much of the 18th century, France and Spain were allies but after the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, Spain joined the War of the First Coalition against the French First Republic but was defeated in the War of the Pyrenees. In August 1795, Spain and France agreed to the Peace of Basel, with Spain ceding their half of the island of Hispaniola, the modern Dominican Republic.[1]

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord by François Gérard, 1808
Charles Talleyrand, long-serving French Foreign Minister; the Treaty was part of a complex web of related agreements

In the 1797 Second Treaty of San Ildefonso, Spain allied with France in the War of the Second Coalition and declared war on Britain. This resulted in the loss of Trinidad and more seriously, Menorca, which Britain occupied from 1708-1782 and whose recovery was the major achievement of Spain's participation in the 1778-1783 Anglo-French War. Its loss damaged the prestige of the Spanish government, while the British naval blockade severely impacted the economy, which was highly dependent on trade with its South American colonies, particularly the import of silver from Mexico.[2]

The effect was to place the Spanish government under severe political and financial pressure, the National Debt increasing eightfold between 1793-1798.[3] Louisiana was only part of Spain's immense Empire in the Americas which it received as a result of the 1763 Treaty of Paris.[a] Preventing encroachment by American settlers into the Mississippi Basin was costly and risked conflict with the US, whose merchant ships Spain relied on to evade the British blockade.[4]

Louis Berthier, French signatory

Colonies were viewed as valuable assets; the loss of the sugar islands of Saint-Domingue, Martinique and Guadeloupe between 1791-1794 had a huge impact on French business.[b] Restoring them was a priority and when Napoleon seized power in the November 1799 Coup of 18 Brumaire, he and his Deputy Charles Talleyrand emphasised French expansion overseas.

Their strategy had a number of parts, one being the 1798-1801 Egyptian campaign, intended in part to strengthen French trading interests in the region. In South America, Talleyrand sought to move the border between French Guiana and Portuguese Brazil south to the Araguari or Amapá River, taking in large parts of Northern Brazil.[c][5] A third was the restoration of New France in North America, lost after the 1756-1763 Seven Years' War, with Louisiana providing raw materials for French plantations in the Caribbean.[6]

The combination of French ambition and Spanish weakness made the return of Louisiana attractive to both, especially as Spain was being drawn into disputes with the US over navigation rights on the Mississippi River.[7] Talleyrand claimed French possession of Louisiana would allow them to protect Spanish South America from both Britain and the US.[d]


Mariano Luis de Urquijo (Museo del Prado)
Mariano Luis de Urquijo, Spanish signatory

The Treaty was negotiated by French general Louis-Alexandre Berthier and the Spanish former Chief Minister Mariano Luis de Urquijo. In addition to Louisiana, Berthier was instructed to demand the Spanish colonies of East Florida and West Florida, plus ten Spanish warships.[8]

Urquijo rejected the request for the Floridas but agreed Louisiana plus "...six ships of war in good condition built for seventy-four guns, armed and equipped and ready to receive French crews and supplies." In return, Charles IV wanted compensation for his son-in-law Louis, Infanta Duke of Parma, since France wanted to annex his inheritance of the Duchy of Parma.[9]

Details were vague, Clause II of the Treaty simply stating 'it may consist of Tuscany...or the three Roman legations or of any other continental provinces of Italy which form a rounded state.' Urquijo insisted Spain would hand over Louisiana and the ships only once France confirmed which Italian territories it would receive in return. Finally, the terms reaffirmed the alliance between France and Spain agreed in the 1796 Second Treaty of San Ildefonso.[10]


Luis de Etruria
Louis of Parma; France agreed to create an Italian Kingdom for Charles IV's son-in-law

On 9 February 1801, France and the Austrian Emperor Francis II signed the Treaty of Lunéville, clearing the way for the Treaty of Aranjuez in March 1801. This confirmed the preliminary terms agreed at Idelfonso and created the short-lived Kingdom of Etruria for Maria Luisa's son-in-law Louis.[11]

Charles Leclerc, leader of the Saint-Domingue expedition; died of yellow fever, like most of his army

The Treaty has traditionally been seen as extremely one-sided in favour of France but modern historians are less critical. In reality, Spain exercised effective control only over a small part of the territory included in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase while an attempt to control US expansion into Spanish territories by the 1795 Pinckney's Treaty proved ineffective.[12] Spain's Chief Minister Manuel Godoy saw disposal as a necessity, later justifying it at length in his Memoirs.[e][13]

From 1798-1800, France and the US waged an undeclared war at sea, the so-called Quasi-War which was ended by the Convention of 1800 or Treaty of Mortefontaine. The US viewed French ambitions in North America with great concern, since with British Canada to the north, they wanted to avoid an aggressive and powerful France replacing Spain in the south.[14] For commercial reasons, Napoleon wanted to re-establish France in North America, the November 1801 Saint-Domingue expedition being the first step.[15] The March 1802 Treaty of Amiens ended the War of the Second Coalition and in October, Spain transferred Louisiana to France.[16]

However, by now it was clear the Saint-Domingue expedition was a catastrophic failure; between May 1802 and January 1803, a yellow fever epidemic killed over 40,000, including Napoleon's brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc.[17] This made Louisiana irrelevant and with France and Britain once more on the verge of hostilities, France sold Louisiana to the US for $15 million in April 1803, much of the purchase price being borrowed from British bankers.[18]

See also


  1. ^ Their ally France ceded it as compensation for Spanish concessions to Britain elsewhere.
  2. ^ Losses were not confined to plantation owners in the Caribbean but inlaced slave traders in colonies like Senegal that supplied labour. France abolished slavery in 1794 but was reimposed in 1802 in French sugar-cane islands.
  3. ^ Terms were contained in the draft 1797 Treaty of Paris which was never approved although similar conditions were imposed on Portugal in the 1801 Treaty of Madrid
  4. ^ Letter to Urquijo; ...the power of America is bounded by the limit which it may suit the interests and the tranquillity of France and Spain to assign here. The French Republic... will be the wall of brass forever impenetrable to the combined efforts of England and America.
  5. ^ Godoy wrote ...(Louisiana) not yielding much to our treasury, nor to our trade, and generating sizeable expenses in money and soldiers, ...the return...can be deemed as a gain, instead of a sacrifice...(Tuscany), cultivation perfect, industry flourishing, trade expanded...a million and a half inhabitants; state revenues of about three million pesos fuertes... The weakness of this argument is France was effectively returning territory to those it had taken it from in the first place.


  1. ^ "Dominican Republic; Elections and Events 1791-1849". The Library; USC San Diego. Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  2. ^ Sánchez, Rafael Torres (2015). Constructing a Fiscal Military State in Eighteenth Century Spain. AIAA. pp. 66 passim. ISBN 1137478659.
  3. ^ José Canga-Argüelles: Diccionario de hacienda, pags. 236 - 237, (1826) (in Spanish)
  4. ^ Maltby, William (2008). The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire. Palgrave. p. 168. ISBN 1403917922.
  5. ^ Hecht, Susanna (2013). The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides Da Cunha. University of Chicago. pp. 113–114. ISBN 0226322815.
  6. ^ Kemp, Roger (ed) (2010). Documents of American Democracy. McFarland & Co. pp. 160–161. ISBN 0786442107.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Kemp, Roger (ed) (2010). Documents of American Democracy. McFarland & Co. p. 160. ISBN 0786442107.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Rodriguez (ed), Junius P (2002). The Louisiana Purchase: A Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia. ABC Clio. p. 9. ISBN 0471191213.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Tarver, Micheal Hn (Author, Editor), Slape, Emily (Author, Editor) (2016). The Spanish Empire; An Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 53. ISBN 161069421X.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Preliminary and Secret Treaty between the French Republic and His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain, Concerning the Aggrandizement of His Royal Highness the Infant Duke of Parma in Italy and the Retrocession of Louisiana". Yale Law School; Avalon Project Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  11. ^ Charles Esdaile (14 June 2003). The Peninsular War: A New History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4039-6231-7. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  12. ^ Maltby, William (2008). The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire. Palgrave. p. 168. ISBN 1403917922.
  13. ^ Godoy, Manuel (1836). Memoirs Of Don Manuel De Godoy: Prince Of The Peace, Duke Del Alcudia, Count D'everamonte Volume 2 (2012 ed.). Nabu. pp. 47–59. ISBN 1279296461.
  14. ^ Kemp, Roger (ed) (2010). Documents of American Democracy. McFarland & Co. p. 160. ISBN 0786442107.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Kemp, Roger (ed) (2010). Documents of American Democracy. McFarland & Co. pp. 160–161. ISBN 0786442107.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Real cédula expedida en Barcelona, a 15 de octubre de 1802, para que se entregue a la Francia la colonia y provincia de la Luisiana. Coleccion histórica completa de los tratdos, convenciones, capitulaciones, armistricios, y otros actos diplomáticos de todos los estados: de la America Latina comprendidos entre el golfo de Méjico y el cabo de Hornos, desde el año de 1493 hasta nuestros dias, Volume 4 (in Spanish). Paris. 1862. pp. 326–328.
  17. ^ Kohn, George (ed), Scully, Mary-Louise (author) (2007). Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence: From Ancient Times to the Present. Facts on File. p. 155. ISBN 978-0816069354. Retrieved 10 October 2018.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Docevski, Bojan. "The Louisiana Purchase: Napoleon, eager for money to wage war on Britain, sold the land to U.S.–and a British bank financed the sale". The Vintage News. Retrieved 10 October 2018.


  • Canga-Argüelles, José: Diccionario de Hacienda; (1826 (in Spanish));
  • Godoy, Manuel; Memoirs Of Don Manuel De Godoy: Prince Of The Peace, Duke Del Alcudia, Count D'Everamonte Volume 2; (Nabu, 2012 ed.)
  • Hecht, Susanna; The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides Da Cunha; (University of Chicago, 2003);
  • Kemp, Roger (ed); Documents of American Democracy; (McFarland & Co, 2010);.
  • Maltby, William; The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire; (Palgrave, 2008);
  • Rodriguez,Junius P (ed); The Louisiana Purchase: A Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia; (ABC CLIO, 2002).
  • Sánchez, Rafael Torres; Constructing a Fiscal Military State in Eighteenth Century Spain; (AIAA, 2015);
  • Tarver, Micheal H (Author, Editor), Slape, Emily (Author, Editor); The Spanish Empire; An Historical Encyclopedia; (ABC-CLIO, 2016);

External links

1800 in France

Events from the year 1800 in France.

1800 in Spain

Events from the year 1800 in Spain

1800 in the United States

Events from the year 1800 in the United States.

Ildefonso (disambiguation)

Idelfonso (Idelfonsus) is a Spanish given name, ultimately from Gothic Hildefuns, the name of 7th-century saint Ildephonsus of Toledo.

Illinois Country

The Illinois Country (French: Pays des Illinois, lit. "land of the Illinois (plural)", i.e. the Illinois people) — sometimes referred to as Upper Louisiana (French: la Haute-Louisiane; Spanish: Alta Luisiana) — was a vast region of New France in what is now the Midwestern United States. While these names generally referred to the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed, French colonial settlement was concentrated along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in what is now the U.S. states of Illinois and Missouri, with outposts in Indiana. Explored in 1673 from Green Bay to the Arkansas River by the Canadien expedition of Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, the area was claimed by France. It was settled primarily from the Pays d'en Haut in the context of the fur trade. Over time, the fur trade took some French to the far reaches of the Rocky Mountains, especially along the branches of the broad Missouri River valley. The French name, Pays des Illinois, means "Land of the Illinois [plural]" and is a reference to the Illinois Confederation, a group of related Algonquian native peoples.

Up until 1717, the Illinois Country was governed by the French province of Canada, but by order of King Louis XV, the Illinois Country was annexed to the French province of Louisiana, with the northeastern administrative border being somewhat vaguely on or near the upper Illinois River. The territory thus became known as "Upper Louisiana." By the mid-18th century, the major settlements included Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Chartres, Saint Philippe, and Prairie du Rocher, all on the east side of the Mississippi in present-day Illinois; and Ste. Genevieve across the river in Missouri, as well as Fort Vincennes in what is now Indiana.As a consequence of the French defeat in the Seven Years' War, the Illinois Country east of the Mississippi River was ceded to the British, and the land west of the river to the Spanish. Following the British occupation of the left bank (when heading downstream) of the Mississippi in 1764, some Canadien settlers remained in the area, while others crossed the river, forming new settlements such as St. Louis.

Eventually, the eastern part of the Illinois Country became part of the British Province of Quebec, while the inhabitants chose to side with the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Although the lands west of the Mississippi were sold in 1803 to the United States by France—which had reclaimed possession of Luisiana from the Spanish in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso—French language and culture continued to exist in the area, with the Missouri French dialect still being spoken into the 20th century.Because of the deforestation that resulted from the cutting of much wood for fuel during the 19th-century age of steamboats, the Mississippi River became more shallow and broad, with more severe flooding and lateral changes in its channel in the stretch from St. Louis to the confluence with the Ohio River. As a consequence, many architectural and archaeological resources were lost to flooding and destruction of early French colonial villages originally located near the river, including Kaskaskia, St. Philippe, Cahokia, and Ste. Genevieve.

List of the last monarchs in the Americas

This is a list of last monarchs of the Americas.

Louisiana (New France)

Louisiana (French: La Louisiane; La Louisiane française) or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control 1682 to 1762 and 1801 (nominally) to 1803, the area was named in honor of King Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. It originally covered an expansive territory that included most of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River and stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.

Louisiana included two regions, now known as Upper Louisiana (French: la Haute-Louisiane), which began north of the Arkansas River, and Lower Louisiana (French: la Basse-Louisiane). The U.S. state of Louisiana is named for the historical region, although it is only a small part of the vast lands claimed by France.French exploration of the area began during the reign of Louis XIV, but French Louisiana was not greatly developed, due to a lack of human and financial resources. As a result of its defeat in the Seven Years' War, France was forced to cede the east part of the territory in 1763 to the victorious British, and the west part to Spain as compensation for Spain losing Florida. France regained sovereignty of the western territory in the secret Third Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800. But strained by obligations in Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, ending France's presence in Louisiana.

The United States ceded part of the Louisiana Purchase to the United Kingdom in the Treaty of 1818. This section lies above the 49th parallel north in a part of present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Louisiana (New Spain)

Louisiana (Spanish: Luisiana) was the name of an administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1763 to 1801 that consisted of territory west of the Mississippi River basin, plus New Orleans. Spain acquired the territory from France, which had named it La Louisiane in honor of King Louis XIV in 1682. It is sometimes known as Spanish Louisiana. The district was retroceded to France, under the terms of the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800) and the Treaty of Aranjuez (1801). In 1802, King Charles IV of Spain published a royal bill on 14 October, effecting the transfer and outlining the conditions.

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.

Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase (French: Vente de la Louisiane 'Sale of Louisiana') was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory of New France (828,000 sq mi (2,140,000 km2; 530,000,000 acres)) by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs ($11,250,000) and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs ($3,750,000) for a total of sixty-eight million francs ($15 million, equivalent to about $600 billion given the GDP of 2017). The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River (plus New Orleans); and small portions of land within the present Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Its non-native population was around 60,000 inhabitants, of whom half were African slaves.The Kingdom of France controlled the Louisiana territory from 1699 until it was ceded to Spain in 1762. In 1800, Napoleon, then the First Consul of the French Republic, hoping to re-establish an empire in North America, regained ownership of Louisiana. However, France's failure to put down the revolt in Saint-Domingue, coupled with the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom, prompted Napoleon to sell Louisiana to the United States to fund his military. The Americans originally sought to purchase only the port city of New Orleans and its adjacent coastal lands, but quickly accepted the bargain. The Louisiana Purchase occurred during the term of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Before the purchase was finalized, the decision faced Federalist Party opposition; they argued that it was unconstitutional to acquire any territory. Jefferson agreed that the U.S. Constitution did not contain explicit provisions for acquiring territory, but he asserted that his constitutional power to negotiate treaties was sufficient.

Nemesio de Salcedo

Nemesio de Salcedo (fl. 1804 - 1813) was a Spanish colonial official who served as the Commandant-General of the Provincias Internas, which at the time included much of modern Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

Outline of North Dakota territorial evolution

The following outline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of North Dakota.

Second Treaty of San Ildefonso

The Second Treaty of San Ildefonso was signed on 19 August 1796 between the 1469-1812 Kingdom of Spain and the 1792-1804 First French Republic. Based on the terms of the agreement, France and Spain would become allies and combine their forces against the British Empire.

Territorial evolution of Colorado

The following chronology traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Colorado.

Territorial evolution of Montana

The following timeline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of Montana.

Territorial evolution of South Dakota

The following outline traces the territorial evolution of the U.S. State of South Dakota.

Treaty of Aranjuez

The Treaty of Aranjuez may refer to:

Treaty of Aranjuez (1752), which recognizes Austrian and Spanish interests in Italy

Treaty of Aranjuez (1777), by which France and Spain define their colonies in Santo Domingo

Treaty of Aranjuez (1779), by which Spain joins the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain

Treaty of Aranjuez (1780), by which Spain cedes territories to Morocco

Treaty of Aranjuez (1801), which confirms the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso in which Spain returned the colonial territory of Louisiana to France.

Treaty of Aranjuez (1801)

The Treaty of Aranjuez (1801) was agreed on 21 March 1801 by France and Spain. It confirmed the terms of the secret Third Treaty of San Ildefonso dated 1 October 1800, in which Spain agreed to exchange its North American colony of Spanish Louisiana for territories in Tuscany.

Treaty of San Ildefonso

Treaty of San Ildefonso may refer to:

First Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1777 between Spain and Portugal

Second Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1796 between Spain and France, allying the two nations

Third Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800 between Spain and France, by which Spain returned Louisiana to France

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