SPAIN IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY: SPANISH ARKANSAS, 1762-1804
In 1762 France ceded Arkansas to Spain as part of the Louisiana territory. Arkansas was a frontier land inhabited by the Quapaws and other Indians who temporarily lived in the area (Osages, Chickasaws, Abenakis, Miamis, Peorias, and Kaskakias). The French people lived on the Arkansas Post, consisting of a village and a military post, located near the mouth of the Arkansas River. An undetermined number of traders and hunters lived in the Arkansas forests. Since Spain respected the existing conditions in the territory, the new government was able to integrate the Indian and French people into the Spanish system. The main objective of Spain in Arkansas was to use the territory as a barrier against foreign economic and political penetration in New Spain. Therefore in order to hold and strengthen Arkansas the Spanish Government provided measures relating to defense, Indian relations, commerce, immigration, and colonization. Relations with the Indians were based on trade and presents, thus obtaining the Indian friendship. The economic life of the post people (fur trade and agriculture) was promoted. Non-English people were encouraged to immigrate to Arkansas. During the American Revolution the Arkansas Post was a refuge for revolutionaries and a stopping point for boats carrying supplies for the Americans. When Spain entered in war with Great Britain the Arkansas Post commandant took possession of the left bank of the Mississippi. Moreover the Arkansas Post repelled an Anglo-Chickasaw attack. During the post-American Revolution decades the Spanish Government tried to attract immigrants to strengthen the district in the face of danger of armed invasion from the American Westeners. Moreover Osage depredations upon Indian and Franco-Spanish people prevented the fur trade business from expanding. Although Spanish Arkansas was unsuccessful as an immigration area, and as a barrier to foreign economic penetration, Spain was able to keep and expand the territory in the face of armed threats. In 1800 Spain ceded Louisiana to Napoleon, who sold it to the American Government. In 1804 the Spaniards left Arkansas, and an American commissioner took over the post and district.
Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our