The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984

The Britain Incident, 1769-1770:
Anglo-Hispanic Tensions
in the Western Gulf
CARL A. BRASSEAUX AND RICHARD E. CHANDLER*
AN UNEASY TRUCE EXISTED BETWEEN SPAIN AND ENGLAND FOLLOWING
the Treaty of Paris (1763). The capture of Havana by English
forces near the end of the Seven Years' War had focused attention on
Spain's military weakness in North America. The English occupation
of East and West Florida-the price of Britain's withdrawal from
Cuba-created a permanent menace to the valuable Spanish posses-
sions ringing the Gulf of Mexico. Sensing its vulnerability in this
area, Spain worked tirelessly to upgrade its colonial defenses: Mexico's
Gulf port cities were reinforced, Cuba's militia forces were reorganized
and placed in a state of military readiness, Spanish Louisiana's border
was fortified, and Texas officials were ordered to upgrade defenses to
repel anticipated English invasions.-
Texas was clearly the weak link in Spain's defensive perimeter.
Chronically underpopulated, poorly defended, and constantly beset
by Indian raids, the province was the neglected stepchild of Mexico.
Hence, it lacked the capability of defending its extended coastline
against the expected English attack. An English invasion appeared in-
creasingly imminent in the late 1760s, as Britain and Spain parried and
*Carl A. Brasseaux is assistant director of the Center for Louisiana Studies, University
of Southwestern Louisiana. Richard E. Chandler is professor of Spanish at the same
university.
ICarlos Francisco de Croix to Hugo Oconor, Feb. 7, 1769, Bexar Archives (microfilm;
Eugene C. Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin), reel lo, frame
647; Croix to Baron de Ripperda, June 22, 1771; ibid., roll 11, frame i9; Herbert Eugene
Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century: Studies in Spanish Colonial History
and Administration (1915; reprint ed., Austin, 1970), 102-133, 340-374; Carlos E. Casta-
fieda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519-1936 (7 vols.; 1936-1958; reprint ed., New
York, 1976), IV, 27-28; John Preston Moore, Revolt in Louisiana: The Spanish Occupa-
tion, 1766-1770 (Baton Rouge, 1976), 60-83; Bibiano Torres Ramirez, Alelandro O'Reilly
en las Indias (Seville, 1969), 31-35; J. Leitch Wright, Jr., Anglo-Spanash Rivalry in North
America (Athens, Ga., 1971), 1o8-1o9.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed December 27, 2014.