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The Acadians – Arrive

How many people of your acquaintance can boast of being an Astronomer, Scientist, Author, General, Administrator, Governor, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, discoverer of the element Platinum, have a meteorological term named after you, and get kicked out of the place where you were appointed Governor? Introducing Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish Governor of Louisiana.

Antonio de Ulloa
Antonio de Ulloa

At the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, which was part of the larger World War, known as the Seven Years War, the Treaty of Fontainebleau was signed and then later The Treaty of Paris, but the one we will deal with is Fontainebleau. The treaty ceded the French colonies in Louisiana to Spain. The Spanish government could think of no greater, more ultra talented man for the job of governor than their own rock star, Antonio Ulloa.  Antonio arrived in the Port of New Orleans on March 5, 1766. Louisiana was under a French interim government until the Spanish could get someone appointed and equipped for the job of governing the colonies. Well the equipping part was quite lax on their part as we will see a little later in our story. Ulloa had brought with him 75 soldiers, did not raise a Spanish Flag over the Place d’ Arms in New Orleans, and then, taken as an insult to the inhabitants of the city, he decided to reside outside of the city in La Balize. Close to a year later, a Schooner named Virgin, arrived in the Port of New Orleans bearing 211 Acadians from Baltimore Maryland, most of the passengers were the outcast, no good Catholics from Port Tobacco we talked about earlier. Among them, my ancestors, Joseph and Alexandre Landry. Governor Ulloa had decided that a good place to send these colonist was up the Bayou Manchac to the Mississippi River, where they established a fort call St.Gabriel, as a buffer to the British fort called Butte, just up the river approx 5 miles. Here the Acadians were given plots of land, the bare necessities to farm with and a weapon to hunt with. Of course like all good Catholics, one of their first missions was to build a church. But, while they were getting settled in and planning out their community, trouble was already brewing with the new Spanish way of things. Ulloa had announced that he was cracking down on Louisiana’s smuggling operations and he was closing the Mississippi river down to one channel, at the mouth, so that they could security check all vessels. Then to make matters worse for the French merchants, he strictly forbid any trading with the other French Colonies or with France. This was unacceptable to many of the French residents and resentments set in. Remember when i mentioned that Ulloa was really ill equipped to govern successfully? Well, the Commissary that was under the French rule, had to continue as Commissary under Ulloa’s rule as well, because Ulloa didn’t bring in any administrative personnel! The Attorney General was still the same Attorney General that was under the French. So, these two guys got together and started planning to oust old Ulloa out of Louisiana. They had already sent a prominent businessman to France to plead with King Louis to rescind the ceding and take Louisiana back. They got together with other like minded citizens and a plot was hatched which became, The Louisiana Rebellion of 1768. When we continue, the rebellion starts and St. Gabriel becomes a real place!




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