he Zaovayas AdtaHs i& frontier
Grade and ipylomacy, 1769-1779*
ELIZABETH ANN HARPER
*EDITOR'S NOTE: The publication of Miss Harper's complete essay on the Taovayas
is being accomplished cooperatively by The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, The
Chronicles of Oklahoma, and The Panhandle Plains Historical Review. Part I (1719-
1769) is published in The Chronicles of Oklahoma, XXXI, No. 3. Part III
(1779-i835) is published in The Panhandle Plains Historical Review, 1953.
THE FORTUNES of the Taovayas Indians were caught in the
whirl of international power politics in the 176o's. When
it became apparent toward the end of the Seven Years'
War that England would be victorious and would drive France
from the North American continent, France offered the vast do-
minion of Louisiana to her Spanish ally. Spain, already holding
title to far more territory than she could effectively control, hesi-
tated to accept the gift. But she could not suffer the alternative of
a British Louisiana in such uncomfortable proximity to the rich
mining area of northern Mexico. The contract for the transfer of
Louisiana to Spain was made in 1762, but the transition was not
entirely effected until 1769.1
Spain's defensive expansion into Louisiana created a new prob-
lem in her Indian relations. Her principal line of defense lay
now on the Mississippi River rather than the Sabine and the Red.
Thus, the region inhabited by the Nations of the North became
an interior province rather than an international frontier. Mili-
tary control of those Indians was more than ever out of the
question because the meager Spanish troops had now to be con-
centrated on the new international border. The only alternative
in Spain's existing Indian policy, control of the Indians through
missions, was not attractive to the prosperous northern tribes.
Spain's only hope for the control of the upper Red River region
lay in the conciliation of the Nortefios and the Comanches, who
'Herbert Eugene Bolton (ed.), Athanase de Mdzibres and the Louisiana-Texas
Frontier, 1768-178o (2 vols.; Cleveland, 1914), I, 66. For Part II of this article
reliance has been made largely upon this collection of documents, which so com-
pletely encompasses the pertinent material from the Spanish and Mexican archives
that little else is left to other works dealing with the same region and period.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/. Accessed July 6, 2015.