The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Choctaws West of the Mississippi,
1766-1800
LAWRENCE AND LUCIA B. KINNAIRD*
THROUGHOUT THE SPANISH PERIOD IN LOUISIANA, CHOCTAW ACTIVI-
ties west of the Mississippi River presented a problem to provincial
officials which they never solved. Although the Choctaw homelands were
within territory ceded by France to England at the end of the Seven
Years' War, that did not keep members of the tribe out of Spanish Lou-
isiana. Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish governor, was made painfully
aware of the Choctaws soon after his arrival in New Orleans. The French
had promised the Indians their accustomed presents for 1761 and 1762,
but, because of the war, had been unable to meet this commitment.
Cession of Louisiana to Spain caused Choctaw chiefs to go to New Or-
leans and demand that the Spanish governor make good on the presents
France had failed to give them. In his estimate for governmental ex-
penses, presented to Captain General Antonio Bucareli of Cuba, Ulloa
wrote that the Choctaws must be given presents because they were
"threatening war if denied." He explained that "this is a tribe which
could destroy various settlements of the colony if steps are not taken to
satisfy it, and for such gifts eight thousand pesos are needed." The king
approved the expenditure. Thus Choctaws made their first appearance
in Spanish Louisiana history by successfully blackmailing the govern-
ment. They knew how to bargain from strength and rarely altered their
strategy.'
British occupation of that part of Louisiana which had lain east of
the Mississippi stimulated a westward movement of various Indian
tribes long accustomed to dealing with the French. By the time Spain
had effectively established her authority in Louisiana, bands of Choc-
*Lawrence Kinnaird is professor emeritus of history at the University of California at
Berkeley. Dr. Lucia B. Kinnaird has taught political science at San Francisco State Univer-
sity, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Santa
Barbara.
1Antonio de Ulloa to Antonio Bucareli, Dec. 28, 1766 (quotations), in Lawrence Kinnaird
(ed.), Spain in the Mississippi Valley, 1765-1794, Annual Report of the American Historical
Association for the Year 1945 (4 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1946-1949), II (pt. 1), 18-19.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/. Accessed August 28, 2014.