Revolt in Louisiana: The Spanish Occupation 1766-1770. By John Pres-
ton Moore. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976.
Pp. xi+246. Preface, appendix, bibliography, index. $10.95.)
In 1762, under the terms of the secret Treaty of Fountainebleau,
Louis XV ceded Louisiana to his cousin Charles III of Spain. Spanish
occupation of the colony began in March, 1766, with the arrival of
Governor Antonio de Ulloa at New Orleans. Two and a half years later,
discontented French colonists-concerned about their economic well-
being under Spain's commercial system and opposed to Spanish rule in
general-rebelled, thus ending Ulloa's administration. Within a year,
however, Inspector General Alexander O'Reilly arrived in Louisiana
with two-thousand troops, brought the colony under Spanish sovereign-
ty, and punished the rebellious faction.
Professor Moore's intensive investigation of the revolt, its background,
and its consequences, has culminated in a long-needed reappraisal of a
critical period in Louisiana history. Utilizing documents from French,
Spanish, and English archives, the author provides an objective and
well-balanced study that considers not only the viewpoint of the colon-
ists, but also that of Spanish officials charged with integrating Louisiana
into the Spanish Empire.
Though the central focus of the volume is the actual revolt, related
topics are equally well researched and presented. Why, for example, did
Spain delay in occupying Louisiana, thus allowing the colony a four-
year period of virtual self-rule? This policy, which contributed substan-
tially to the revolt, has always intrigued historians. Moore's analysis
suggests numerous reasons for Spain's inaction: anti-French sentiment
in Sevilla and attempts to recover from the Seven Years War were major
factors. Also, the procrastination that was traditionally characteristic of
Spain's imperial system fostered the delay, as did the fact that Louisiana
constituted a relatively minor part of the Spanish Empire.
Of particular interest and value is Moore's excellent account of Ulloa
and his sincere, competent, but ultimately unsuccessful, efforts to ease
Louisiana through the transition from French to Spanish rule. The
Spanish governor's task of appeasing the colonists, contending with the
Indian and English threat, while at the same time attempting to re-
vitalize Louisiana's economy and military defenses (both woefully ne-
glected under France), instills in the reader a new appreciation of the
myriad problems confronting the first Spanish officials in the colony.
Well-researched, well-written, and definitive, Revolt in Louisiana
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/. Accessed March 29, 2015.