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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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Visions of Western Louisiana

Visions of Western Louisiana

(p.147) 5 Visions of Western Louisiana
The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763

Paul W. Mapp

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses why Louisiana figures most prominently in the history of the United States as the colony France gave away. To understand the first of France's Louisiana cessions, it is necessary to examine the reasons why French officials once found the colony so desirable. In 1699, one year after founding the French Compagnie royale de la Mer pacifique, Pierre Lemoyne d'Iberville's landing on the Mississippi Delta—followed by his and his brother Jean-Baptiste de Bienville's erection of forts and negotiation of alliances with local Indian nations—initiated the French colony of Louisiana. French empire and resources were preoccupied during the War of the Spanish Succession, and the nascent colony developed little during the first years of the eighteenth century. The desirability of maintaining claim to it was open to question. In late 1711 and early 1712, Louis XIV and Pontchartrain discussed ceding the infant Louisiana colony to Spain in exchange for the Spanish portion of the Caribbean island of Saint-Domingue.

Keywords:   Louisiana, France, Spanish Succession, Pierre Lemoyne d'Iberville, Jean-Baptiste de Bienville

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