The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970

The Immigration Policy of Governor
Esteban Miro in Spanish Louisiana
GILBERT C. DIN*
FROM 1785 TO 1791 SPANISH IMMIGRATION POLICY IN LOUISIANA, IN
an attempt to accommodate itself to changing conditions, departed
from its traditional role of excluding American Protestants. Unable
to secure Spanish or European Catholics at little or no expense, with
whom to develop and protect the colony, Spain at last turned to the
nearest available source for settlers-the United States. Esteban Mir6,
governor of Louisiana during these crucial years, was extremely im-
portant in the formulation of this policy. The influence he exerted,
both directly and indirectly, on the Spanish court to modify and
determine Louisiana's immigration policy has not been previously
recognized.'
Spanish immigration laws in Louisiana before Mir6's governorship
already displayed increasing flexibility. From the time of Spanish
acquisition of Louisiana following the Seven Years' War, the value
of this border colony as a buffer zone to protect Mexico was recog-
nized, and Spain endeavored, as best a declining empire could, to fill
the vastness of Louisiana with a loyal and Catholic population. From
the i760's Spain allowed the entry of Acadians into Louisiana and
assisted them in their settlement." In the 177o's the court permitted
and encouraged the settlement of Acadians, Frenchmen, Germans,
and Irish who were Catholic." At the end of the decade, in order to
*Mr. Din, associate professor of history at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, is
the author of articles on Spanish colonial and Spanish medieval history.
'While Mir6 and immigration in Louisiana have previously been studied, no one
has appreciated his part in determining royal policy. To cite two examples: Arthur
Preston Whitaker, The Spanish American Frontier: 1783-1795 (Boston, 1927), 97-107,
attributes immigration policy to the count of Floridablanca, the Spanish secretary
of state, while Mattie Austin Hatcher, in "The Louisiana Background of the Colo-
nization of Texas, 1763-1803," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXIV (January, 1921),
169-194, gives an early survey that does little to trace the development of policy.
2Vicente Rodriguez Casado, Primeros ai~os de la dominacidn espaiola (Madrid, 1947),
1o4-10o6; Lawrence Kinnaird (ed.), Spain in the Mississippi Valley, I765-z795 (Wash-
ington, 1946-1949), Part II, xxiii; Joseph de Loyola to Antonio de Ulloa, September
. . , Archivo General de Indias (Seville), Papeles procedentes de Cuba, legajo
o9. The Archivo General de Indias, Papeles procedentes de Cuba will hereafter be
cited as AGI, PC.
8Yndice, May 26, 1774, AGI, PC, leg. 174A (the royal order is missing); "Ynstrucci6n
reservada al Coronel Bernardo de Gialvez para su direcci6n en el Gobierno de la Provincia

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/. Accessed October 2, 2014.