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The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763$
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Paul W. Mapp

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833957

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838945_Mapp

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French Geographic Conceptions andthe 1762 Western Louisiana Cession

French Geographic Conceptions andthe 1762 Western Louisiana Cession

(p.359) 13 French Geographic Conceptions andthe 1762 Western Louisiana Cession
The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763

Paul W. Mapp

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the reasons why France ceded the trans-Mississippi remnants of the colony of Louisiana to Spain. This cession has always been something of an enigma; its necessity is not immediately obvious. Spain had not occupied western Louisiana, Britain had not conquered it, and neither was demanding it. Trans-Mississippi Louisiana remained, so far as European diplomacy was concerned, under French dominion, the last piece of a remarkable continental venture. From 1524 to 1762, French scouts, missionaries, traders, officials, and settlers had tried to explore North America's territories, harvest its resources, cultivate its soils, and variously convert, contain, exploit, inveigle, ally with, and rule over a wide selection of its native peoples. Few in number, the French in America had been bold in conception and grand in achievement, traversing a good bit and claiming the better part of the continental interior.

Keywords:   France, continental interior, Louisiana, Spain, European diplomacy, French dominion

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