The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

posed a literary jewel. This tome is highly recommended for the general pub-
lic, and as a supplementary reader for the courses in American history, Texas
history, Chicano studies, and Mexican American studies.
San Antonio J. Gilberto Quezada
Spaniards, Planters, and Slaves: The Spanish Regulation of Slavery in Louisiana,
1763-1803. By Gilbert C. Din. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press,
1999. Pp. xiv+335. Preface, notes, glossary, bibliography, index. ISBN o-
89096-904-3. $49.95, cloth.)
Historians have long taken a lively interest in the history of slavery in
Louisiana after 1803. A few even wrote articles about aspects of the topic before
that date, a literature ably summaried, along with some of the items to be noted,
in Ira Berlin's Many Thousands Gone (Yale University Press, 1998). But in-depth
modern studies of the colonial documents is to be found only in James T. Mc-
Gowan's 1976 dissertation, "Creation of a Slave Society: Louisiana Plantations in
the Eighteenth Century" (University of Rochester); Gwendolyn Midlow Hall's
Africans in Colonial Louzsana (LSU Press, 1992); Peter Caron's "Of a Nation
which the Others do not Understand: Bambara Slaves and African Ethnicity in
Colonial Louisiana, 1718-1760" (Slavery and Abolitzon, 18 [1997], pp. 98-121);
Caryn Cosse Bell's Revolutions, Romantzcism, and the Afro-Creole Protest Tradition zn
Louisiana, 1718-z868 (LSU Press, 1997); Kimberly S. Hanger's Bounded Lives,
Bounded Places (Duke University Press, 1997); and now Gilbert Din's Spaniards,
Planters, and Slaves. Of these writers, Din is by far the most qualified, having
spent a lifetime studying Spanish Louisiana.
Characteristic of the pre-199os scholarship was a reliance on eighteenth-cen-
tury writers, the summaries of the French and Spanish judicial records published
in the Louzszana Hzstoncal Quarterly during the 1930-1950 period and the WPA
translations of Spanish records. The more recent scholarship has made use of
notarial records and the originals of the French and especially the Spanish ad-
ministrative documents.
In Din's view, McGowan, Hall, and certain other students of the Spanish peri-
od have not gotten all of their facts and interpretations correct because they
have not properly considered the full Spanish colonial context and record or
even examined important documents in the original (rather than transcriptions
and translations). Governor Carondolet's writings (1792-1797) are especially
misunderstood. Din corrects these errors with an often lively exposition of what
the sources do say and the use of notes to identify the errors of previous schol-
ars. The result is what every scholarly book should be: a careful examination of
the documentation by a scholar familiar with what others have written and with
the period and materials at issue.
Din begins with a concise two-chapter summary of slavery under the French
that identifies 1731-1751 as an exceptional period when most masters moderat-
ed their exploitation, allowed Sundays off for the raising of food and the selling
of foods and handicrafts and for recreation, and encouraged slave family forma-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed February 1, 2015.