La Louisiane — The Original Louisiana
Before the Treaty of Fontainebleau
Treaty of Fontainebleau 1762
This is the main article.
here for the
of the 1762 Fontainebleau Treaty.
And here for the
1807 Treaty of Fontainebleau.
Preliminary Peace Articles
signed on the same day in 1762, see further down.
Carte de la
Louisiane et du cours du Mississippi, a French
This is the link
to this marvelous map hosted by the Library of Congress.
Once there, you can enlarge it to a very high degree. The way Library
of Congress have digitized this map is
After driving south from Paris for an hour, the fabulous and
absolutely enormous Château de Fontainebleau appears, "with
over 1500 rooms at the heart of 130 acres of parkland and
gardens," so the proud tourist desk informs us.
But they needn't have bothered
trying to charm us,
they already had us with Primaticcio's
Great taming Bucephalus.
Here is the good piece:
Great Taming Bucephalus (1541-1544)
Painting and Sculpture
by Francesco Primaticcio
Fontainebleau - RMN/Jean-Pierre Lagiewski
Here is more on the famous
Back to the Treaty of
Fontainebleau of 1762.
Who Signed the
The Duke de Choiseul for France
and the Marquis de Grimaldi for Spain.
King Louis XV was the
king of France from 1715 to 1774, and
Charles III was the king of Spain from 1759 to
Both kings were members of the
House of Bourbon and
ensured each other's loyalty by means of the
Family Compact of 1761.
What Was Agreed
France gifted all of its Louisiana
colony west of the Mississippi River, including New Orleans, to Spain.
The huge amount of land that
changed hands is well illustrated on the map above which shows the total extend of Louisiana
(east and west of the Mississippi River) at
the time of this treaty.
here are three more Louisiana maps:
Map of 17th Century Louisiana
Click to see
entire map (World Map)
Map of Louisiana Before 1762
"Louisiana" is hard to read here.
Click to enlarge for a better view.
Why the Name Louisiana?
René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle,
who lived 1643-1687.
La Salle was a French explorer
who claimed the entire Mississippi Basin for his king,
Louis XIV. Hence the
Here you can
track La Salle's expeditions
on a map.
And here is La Salle's travel companion Henri Joutel's
journal of La Salle's last voyage, 1684-7,
digitized by Archive.org.
Back to the treaty.
When Was the
Treaty Signed and When Was It Ratified?
On November 3, 1762, at
On November 13, 1762, at San
Lorenzo el Real (Escurial), Spanish King
Charles III approved with his signature,
countersigned by Ricardo Wall.
On November 23, 1762, at
Versailles, French Louis XV also ratified
the treaty, countersigned by César Gabriel de Choiseul, who
was the first Duc de Praslin.
Why on Earth...
Why on earth would France give
away voluntarily and for nothing in return such an enormous
amount of land, which in fact was possibly the most fertile part of North
Why indeed, thought
and took it all back in 1800 (see
Treaty of San Ildefonso.)
But to answer the question:
same day on which France and Spain signed this treaty at
Fontainebleau, another treaty was signed in the same
building. Those were the Preliminary Articles of what would become
1763 Treaty of Paris
French and Indian War, signed by Choiseul for France, Grimaldi for Spain, and John Russell, fourth duke of
Bedford, for Britain.
Articles of Peace
Click to read entire
document on HathiTrust
to get Spain to
agree to these preliminary articles, in which France made
concessions to Britain that were not ideal from the
Spanish point of view, Spain received a gift, western Louisiana.
The treaty between France and
Spain was kept
confidential, especially from the British, who had declared
war on Spain in January 1762, and whom the French were
fighting since 1754 (see
French and Indian War.)
Or, to answer this question in other words, the French
and Indian War was mainly a war between Great Britain and
France. France dragged Spain into the war as their ally,
and just a little later France was itching to stop fighting with Britain
and had to persuade Spain again, this time to make peace.
Hence western Louisiana.
And hence an excerpt of the treaty was
worded as follows:
With this view, his Most Christian Majesty,
being fully sensible of the sacrifices made
by the Catholic King in generously uniting
with him for the restoration of peace,
desires, on this occasion, to give him a
proof of the strong interest which he takes
in satisfying him and affording advantages
to his crown.
As far as the Mississippi Basin was concerned, the 1763 Peace of Paris
(i.e. the Treaty of Paris and the Treaty of Fontainebleau) changed the map as
For more see
1763 Treaty of Paris