A companion to the American South by John B Boles

By John B Boles

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Constructing such a history is more difficult because many of the Spanish administrative records have been lost. Settlement: La Louisiane The French colony of La Louisiane was founded in 1699 by Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur de Iberville (1661±1706), with royal support, to serve France's imperial designs for North America. The French had three aims. They wanted to make good their claim to the Mississippi River watershed and its fur trade that arose from La Salle's exploration of 1682. They wanted to provide themselves with a naval base on the Gulf of Mexico from which to attack Spanish shipping and Mexico in wartime and to use as a port for smuggling in peacetime.

Coker and Thomas D. Watson (1986) reconstruct the deerskin trade as a British firm experienced it. When the British left Florida 20 AMY TURNER BUSHNELL in 1784, the firm continued with a Spanish license and until 1821 essentially monopolized the Indian trade east of the Mississippi, from the Bahamas to western Tennessee. Pragmatically switching its loyalty to the United States in 1812 in order to collect over $200,000 in accounts receivable from the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole nations, the firm secured land cessions in excess of 12 million acres.

On a different plane, the histories of a number of social groups, especially blacks, in the US and Latin America are usefully compared to those of the same people in La Florida and La Louisiane. Some excellent work along these lines has appeared in recent years, as will be noted. The challenge for historians of the South (and of the US and the Spanish and French empires), then, is to appropriately fit the histories of Spanish and French exploration and settlement into their metanarratives. The works reviewed here, to varying degrees, attempt to do that or can be used to that end.

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