Los Adaes Today
Closing the Fort and Mission
The Adaeseños
Departure of the Caddo
Excavations at Los Adaes
Visiting Los Adaes
Closing the Fort and Mission
The French and Indian War—sometimes called the Seven Years War—directly affected Los Adaes. The French and their Indian allies fought the British and their Indian allies, and the Spanish sided with the French. When it became clear that the French were going to lose, France gave Spain the land west of the Mississippi River, so the British would not control the Mississippi River. This was done by secret treaty in 1762, before the end of the conflict in 1763. In 1762, then, Louisiana became Spanish. The Spanish started inspecting the presidios and missions of northern New Spain to determine which should remain open, now that the French threat was gone. Inspection of the presidio at Los Adaes was in 1767, and the mission inspection took place in 1768. Both inspections recommended closure of the facilities at Los Adaes. The governor moved his residence to San Antonio in 1768, and the capital was officially moved to San Antonio in 1770. The order was given to close Los Adaes in 1772, and in 1773 the fort and mission were abandoned.
This 1776 map shows the division of North America after the Seven Years War.
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Changing Hands
The hillside where the presidio once stood probably was not inhabited again until sometime in the late 19th century. A shotgun house was on the property in 1931 when Natchitoches Parish acquired the land for a park. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the boundary was disputed. The Americans claimed all land to the Rio Grande, based on La Salle’s claim, and the Spanish said the boundary should be between Los Adaes and Natchitoches. There were rumors in 1804 that Spain would send troops to the abandoned presidio Los Adaes. In 1805, Captain Turner and soldiers from Fort Claiborne in Natchitoches confronted a Spanish force camped just to the northeast of Los Adaes. Turner and the Americans outnumbered the Spanish, and the Spanish withdrew. Later, in 1806, another confrontation between Spanish and American troops occurred on the Sabine River. The two commanders decided to agree to disagree rather than fight. They declared that the land between the Sabine River and the Arroyo Hondo (between Los Adaes and Natchitoches) would belong to no one—it would be a neutral strip—a no-man’s-land. In 1819, the Adams-Onis Treaty, which included the United States purchase of Florida from Spain, also designated the Sabine River as the boundary between the U.S. and Spain. That’s how the former capital of Spanish Texas ended up in Louisiana.
Suggested Reading
Bolton, Herbert Eugene 1970 Athanase de Mézières and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier 1768-1780. Kraus Reprint Co., New York.