Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rebellion and Acts of Treason

As I continue to delve deeper into Louisiana’s Colonial history -- as well as my ancestral connections to several important individuals and family lines -- I am finding interesting stories of rebellion and acts of treason. 

In 1768, the French Louisiana Territory was to be handed over from French to Spanish rule as was agreed to in the Treaty of Fontainbleu.  This was 11 years before Spain declared war against Great Britain, which ushered Louisiana into the American Revolution 1779. The handover was an attempt by the French to ease tensions between the two nations and to ensure that the territory would not fall into the hands of the British at the end of the French and Indian War.

The Louisiana Territory at this time was primarily inhabited by French and German settlers along with several native tribes. Most of the influential people of the area were of French descent. These inhabitants were not content to let their territory be handed over to Spain and to accept Spain's restrictions on trade. This, in combination with a fairly slow handover and a weak Spanish military presence, opened the door to the rebellion.

The rebellion itself was aimed at forcing the Spanish Governor Antonia de Ulloa to return to Spain. Ulloa was, in fact, forced to return to Spain in October of 1768. However, that did not end the rebellion. The ruler of Spain quickly dispatched Alejandro O'Reilly and a fleet of ships to end the rebellion. O'Reilly successfully put down the rebellion and executed the leaders of the rebellion. This firmly established Spanish rule of the Louisiana Territory.

As I looked closely at the names of several of the conspirators who were accused of treason and were eventually put to death as a result of their participation in the rebellion, I discovered a few interesting aspects of history and more ancestral connections. What I did discovered was at least three of the six men (Lafreniere, Villere, Noyan) who were put to death for their involvement in the rebellion, were related to Karl Frederick D’arensbourg. As I mentioned in an earlier post, D'arensbourg is my 6th generation great-grandfather. This means that those participants in the rebellion are also related to me. 

I have more research to do. However, learning about this aspect of Louisiana's history and my ancestral connection to another revolution that took place in Louisiana is fascinating.

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