The Relations Between Spain and the United States

Lousiana and the Middle West Territory (1763 - 1795)

By Antonio R. Peña Versión en Espanól


This article analyses the political, military and social relations that were established between Spain and the United States on the middle ground territories since 1763 to 1795. A great European power and a new republic fought over those unpopulated territories and the relations between them oscillated between cooperation and confrontation. Two opposite conceptions and political and socioeconomic models clashed and crushed in the same place. Key words: middle ground territories, Continental Congress, Continental army, Western Conventions, Virginia Assembly, Louisiana, Mississippi, Spanish government, Great Britain, France, James Wilkinson, José Bernardo Gálvez, Esteban Miró, Conde de Aranda, Floridablanca, George Washington, State Board.


El presente artículo plantea las relaciones políticas, militares y sociales que se establecieron entre España y los Estados Unidos sobre unos territorios del medio-oeste o middle ground, muy poco poblados y disputados entre una gran potencia europea y una república que acababa de nacer. Entre estos dos estados se entablaron unas relaciones que oscilaron entre la cooperación y el enfrentamiento. Dos concepciones y modelos políticos y socioeconómicos opuestos coincidieron y chocaron en un mismo espacio físico. Palabras clave: territorios del middle ground, Congreso Continental, Ejército Continental, convenciones del oeste, asamblea de Virginia, Luisiana, Misisipí, gobierno español, Gran Bretaña, Francia, James Wilkinson, José Bernardo Gálvez, Esteban Miró, Conde de Aranda, Floridablanca, George Whashington.


A.G.I.: Archivo General de Indias. (General Archive of the Indies). A.H.N: Archivo Histórico Nacional. (National Historic Archive). Op. Cit: Opus citate Loc. Cit: Locum citate Leg: Legajo (file) PP: pages Ss: siguientes (following)


The Peace of Paris on the 10th February 1763 ended the Seven Years War and meant the restructuring of the northern territories of America around the Mississippi. The 7th article of the treaty established the borders between France and Spain: "(...) the borders will be irrevocably fixed with a line drawn in the middle of the Mississippi River, from its source to the Iberville River, and from there, with another line drawn in the middle of this river with the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain to the ocean (...)". The 20th article established that Great Britain would keep the territories in the east shore of the Mississippi, with Florida, the Penzacola Bay, San Agustín, Mobile and its river, and all the Spanish possessions in the east and southeast of the Mississippi. The territories of the west would be for France. The treaty also declared the free navigation through the river for all the British and French vassals [1] . This way, Northern of America was divided in two sovereignties, Great Britain and France. However, Spain and France had signed the Treaty of Fontenebleau on the 3rd of November 1762, which obliged France to concede Louisiana including New Orleans and its island to Spain [2] . In 1766, Antonio Ulloa arrived in Louisiana with 90 soldiers and 3 civil servants to take over the province as the new governor on the name of the King of Spain. He found it on a critical situation: economical and political crisis. The territory he had to govern was very vast and not very populated. The trade was interrupted and the majority of the French population was worked up on the verge of rebellion. And he only had at his disposal 100 Spanish soldiers [3] . In the meantime, the British army was getting stronger on the west shore of the Mississippi breaking the Treaty of Paris and getting ready to conquer Louisiana, which was the last obstacle to their advance towards the Pacific. The danger of the British invasion got the French Creoles to reject the revolt and to collaborate with Ulloa in return for reestablishing the trade with the French colonies in the Caribbean. In 1768 the situation was untenable, and A. Ulloa had no choice other than accepting the French collaboration and creating a government with the French Creoles. This way, the French controlled the colony again, which became ruled by a Supreme Council that set the governor's functions. In spite of all that, Ulloa continued making orders, for example he did an edict forbidding the trade with the French colonies in the Caribbean. Finally, the Council and Aubrey, the captain of the French Army, recommended the governor to leave the colony with his 90 soldiers and 3 civil servants. Doing that, Aubrey avoided a confrontation between Spanish and French that would have benefited the British [4] . In spite of this situation, the key of the control of Louisiana was in Cuba. The Spanish Council had sent Ulloa as governor under the military jurisdiction of the government in la Havana. That was one of the reasons why the French Creoles avoided an open revolt, because it would have meant a military answer from the government in La Havana. In fact, a military contingent of 2.600 soldiers had already been sent in the command of General O'Reilly with a new Governor, Luis Azanga. Then the Supreme Council sent Aubrey to go meet the Spanish troupes that were about to go up the Mississippi. When the two contingents met, Aubrey was under General O'Reilly orders. He dismissed the Supreme Council, arrested 9 of its ringleaders and executed 5.That ended the riot that had lasted a month [5] . The new government with L. Uzanga had as main aims the pacification and the control of the territory. To achieve that, Uzanga fused the French and the Spanish troupes into only one army commanded by General O'Reilly, creating an army of 5.000 soldiers. He did the same thing with the whole society: trade companies, artisan guilds and associations... This period lasted about 10 years. We can say that in 1776 the colony was pacified. Then L. Uzanga hand the government over to General Bernardo Gálvez. During that period, France had achieved important aims: to get rid off the direct financing of a territory that in 1762 cost them 800.000 pounds and to give it to Spain. This way the Catholic Monarchy was weaker and also it stopped the British advance. France was also controlling Louisiana through its companies and traders [6] . Gálvez's Government lasted only 6 years, but in my opinion, they were the most decisive ones. When he arrived, the control of Louisiana was more nominal than real. There were not enough people to colonize the territory and the British controlled the Mississippi's Valley but, prudently, they didn't intervene in Louisiana to avoid the Spanish military reaction from its colonies in Mexico and the Caribbean. Besides, in the decade of 1770, the British were confronting the revolts for independence on their own colonies. In 1765 there were 11.000 inhabitants in Louisiana. Half of them were black slaves, 2.500 Spanish and 5.000 French and Acadians. Until the arrival of B. Gálvez, Spain had not had clear colonial and immigration policies for Louisiana. In 1776, Colonel Bouligny elaborated a report about the colonization of the territory. On this report, Bouligny said that Spain would disappear from northern America: Luoisiana was a vast territory with not much population loyal to Spain, and the Anglo-Saxon colonies were bigger and continually growing. Those people would arrive soon to the Mississippi, they would cross it and colonize the whole continent to the Pacific. In this situation, the Anglo-Saxons would only have to expel the Indians to make an agreement with them [7] . From the Spanish Court, Conde de Aranda prophetically summarized the situation: "(...) Spain will remain hand in hand with another power in the whole Northern America. And what power? The power that has called itself America. It has two and a half millions of inhabitants, descendents from Europeans, and according to the rules of its propagation, will double its inhabitants every 25 or 30 years, and in 50 or 60 years the population can reach eight or ten millions. Besides, the emigration from Europe will continue because of the attractive laws that the territory offers (...)" [8] . In 1777 Bernardo Gálvez arrived to the government with the support of Conde de Aranda and with one objective: colonization. The Bouligny Report was the start of his government in Louisiana. The colonization was based in three pillars: 1) Demographic increment Policies, 2) promotion of trade, 3) creation of a stable border to control the territory. Gálvez introduced slaves, brought settlers from Spain (mainly form Canary Islands) who found villages and extended the large farm type of agriculture. He opened roads and locations to facilitate the transport and trade of products, and opened the territory to commercial companies. All those aspects helped to achieve the third point, the control of the territory, even though it was necessary to build a stable border. This colonizing project found an unexpected support in the international situation. With the third Family Pact (1779), Spain declared war against Great Britain. B. Gálvez took advantage of this situation to intensify the ties between Spanish and French. At the same time, he established contact with the Anglo-American revolutionaries to arrange military actions against the English positions. Along those lines, Juan Miralles, the negotiating representative, wrote a letter to the American Government on the 17th February 1779, asking them to attack the English positions in Georgia and Las Carolinas. At the same time, Spain would attack the positions in the Mississippi Valley and La Florida from Louisiana and Cuba. The Spanish were determined to carry out a large-scale attack against the English but General G. Washington was still indecisive which delayed his answer to Juan Miralles. In the meantime, B. Gálvez was preparing actions against the line of English fortes on the border: Baton Rouge, Natchez, Penzacola, Mobile...and La Florida [9] . To successfully achieve those operations, Gálvez sent Captain Jacinto Pamís to spy on the English positions. Pamís sent a report saying that they would need 7.000 men to achieve such operations. B. Gálvez communicated his military needs to the Government in La Havana. But they refused his plans of a large-scale attack, especially because the English rebels had not assured their help yet. In spite of this negative, Gálvez did not renounce his plan and he gathered 700 soldiers together. They successfully attacked the border between September 1779 and May 1781. He conquered the Mississippi Valley, captured 8 ships and 1.400 prisoners made up of soldiers and English settlers [10] . These military successes brought G. Washington to admit the benefits of Hispano-American military operations. In a letter dated in South Carolina on the 27th February 1780, Washington answered that " (...) if the remaining places (of La Florida) fell, it will be very important due to its influence in our zone (...)" [11] . Those actions also changed the attitude in La Havana. One year after receiving G. Washington's answer, they sent the 7.000 soldiers they had asked for. During the 3 years from February 1779 until March 1781, the military pressure against the English continued with success: Gálvez took control of La Florida and extended his territories on the Mississippi to its mouth, including the Bahamas Canal and Cape Canaveral. These actions allowed the Anglo-Saxon rebels to conquer Georgia and Las Carolinas [12] . However, since mid 1781 the political circumstances changed completely. In 1781 Spain started to obtain important interests from the collaboration with the Anglo-Saxon rebels in the international war. Great Britain realized it after its defeats in Georgia, Las Carolinas, the Mississippi and La Florida. For that reason, the British government hastened to negotiate with the rebels to avoid the British colonial collapse. To go back to Northern America, Great Britain wanted to build the following scenario: on the Atlantic coast there would be a weak but independent Anglo-Saxon government (on the north a border with Great Britain, in the East the Atlantic Ocean, and Spain on the west and South with its Caribbean colonies). This new government would have to negotiate with Great Britain or Spain to transport their goods or to trade. The British government thought that the European monarchies (especially Spain) would be reluctant to start negotiations with the rebels, afraid that the revolutionary example would spread through all America. If the American Republic didn't want to be absorbed by Spain or remain closed up, it would have no other choice but arriving to an agreement with Great Britain, that would act as a political and commercial bridge from the American Republic to Europe and would offer protection against Spain. All this would create new ties between the metropolis and its old colonies. Besides, that motley confederation, without a strong central government would break up after the war. Once the Confederation would be broken, the weakest colonies would look for Great Britain's protection. And Great Britain could use the force to get the stronger ones. To start with, on the 24th of September 1782 Great Britain signed a peace agreement and recognized the United States. These agreements were ratified with the Treaty of Paris on the 3rd of September 1783. The 2nd article of this agreement established the borders of the new state in the middle of the Mississippi River from its source to latitude 31, and in the middle of the Apalachicola River to the conjunction with the Flint River and from the Mary River to the Atlantic. The 8th article recognized the free navigation and trade in the Mississippi for all the citizens of the United States and Great Britain [13] . With these articles, Great Britain put the basis for a confrontation between the United States and Spain. In the meantime, the peace negotiations between the Spanish government and the Anglo-Saxons caused disagreements and incoherence. On one hand, Conde de Aranda and the governor Gálvez analyzed the situation in a different way than the British. They saw the strength that the new republic would have, and they thought that Spain should negotiate with the Anglo-Saxon revolutionaries rather than with Great Britain. However, Floridablanca wanted a general peace agreement with Great Britain. He believed that negotiating with the revolutionaries meant recognizing them, and that the example could spread through the Spanish America. The best thing was to ignore them and to extend the Spanish territories from La Florida towards the northwest at the confederation expenses. This confrontation between Aranda and Floridablanca seemed to be favorable to Aranda. While Great Britain was negotiating with the Confederation, Conde Aranda started negotiations with John Jay, agent of the Continental Congress. On the 3rd of August 1782, Aranda-Jay agreed on recognizing the borders established in 1763 in the English declaration and the exclusivity of the Spanish navigation in the Mississippi. Aranda also considered that a war was the only way to achieve a strong alliance between Spain and the Confederation, so their pact went for the continuation of the war until Great Britain would be expelled from North America. The negotiations between Aranda and Jay also dealt with other aspects such as the financing of the Continental Congress with subsidies [14] . In the meantime, Floridablanca was moving to boycott such negotiations and to try to change the Court's mind about the 13 colonies. The Floridablanca Instruction sent to Conde Aranda, on the 29th of May 1782 goes along those lines. It analyses the convenience of a negotiated agreement with Great Britain to share the territories without the Confederation: the Spanish border would be between the Apalachian -Alleghays mountains to the line of Mississippi — Missouri, and from La Florida to the British colonies in Canada. That includes the middle ground territories: west of Georgia and The Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee and the territories irrigated by Illinois and Ohio Rivers [15] . Floridablanca imposed these criteria on the Court and Conde de Aranda decided then to withdraw from the negotiating process. This confrontation inside the Spanish government weakened the Spanish Commission, and Great Britain showed arrogance and disdain towards Spain, keeping them away from the negotiations until they had first achieved a peace agreement with the Confederation and with France. After the agreement in September 1782 with the Confederation, Great Britain made a pact with France and after that, they opened negotiations with Spain. They arrived to an agreement on the 3rd of December of 1782. The agreement was a clear reflection of Floridablanca's ideas. The Spanish Commission achieved not to have fixed borders on the territories (they didn't even mention the matters of the frontiers in Louisiana, nor the borders in La Florida, nor the matters of the navigation and trade through the Mississippi...). The possession of the territories was mentioned on a very generic way: "(...) Their British Majesty will hand over the west Florida to Their Catholic Majesty, and Their Catholic Majesty will keep the east Florida (...)" [16] . Finally, on the 3rd and 4th of September 1783 the British signed the Treaty of Paris and Versailles that arranged peace according to the conditions negotiated between the contenders from the year before. The peace between Spain and Great Britain from 1782 to 1783 meant the political success of Floridablanca. He appointed Esteban Miró as governor of Louisiana (1783 — 1791). In spite of this Spanish internal and international situation, both Gálvez and his substitute Miró continued with the colonizing projects as the only solution to conserve Louisiana. For that reason, the government of Louisiana didn't change the existing policies. Gálvez set out to introduce 6000 settlers (Canarians, Andalusians, Philippines, Irish, catholic Germans and Acadians) in the territory, and Miró continued this project. The problem was that to settle 6000 people would cost 2 million pesos and the Royal Treasury couldn't afford such an amount [17] . In spite of all, between 1768 and 1791 few colonies were found: Concordia (1768), San Bernardo (1768), Gálveztown (1778), Nueva Iberia (1779), Valenzuela (1779), Miró (1782), Carlos Salia (1781), and San Esteban (1789). To all those we can add Natchez, Penzacola, Movile, Baton Rouge. In spite of the ambiguity of the Court in Madrid towards Louisiana and of the lake of financial and military aid, in 1790 Miró had almost made true the colonizing project of Gálvez. Louisiana had more than 35.000 inhabitants and it had a strong border with military camps all along the Mississippi and in its intersections with the tributaries (Ohio, Amiti, Bayu, Tache, Lafourche, Tombecbé, Ouachita...). The relations between The United States and Spain from 1783 went from affinity (in the last war) to confrontation. Those relations took place in the middle ground territories: territories of the Illinois, the Ohio, and the Michigan Rivers, Tennessee y Kentucky, plus de Indian territories (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek). Both Spain and the new Republic wanted to expand on these central territories, which polluted their relations.


When Spain took possession of Louisiana, they didn't have enough military capacity to control at the same time the Mississippi, the vast American coast, the Caribbean shore and the Atlantic navigation. That's the reason why the government in Louisiana and in La Havana (after the short period of bans) allowed the British colonies to provide themselves with foreign products through the territorial and maritime Spanish borders. Similarly, the middle ground settlers took out their products through the Mississippi and introduced them in Louisiana, Nueva Espaòa, and the Caribbean. This situation was soon legalized in 1767 by Order in Council, which allowed certain trading freedom, even though it was only when the Spanish colonies were short of supplies. This Order in Council was used to increase trade, intensifying the transit on goods (coffee, rum, sugar, flour, lard, pork and beef, tar, leather...). The war didn't mean an obstacle to trade either. Only at the end of the war, by 1782-1783, Great Britain opted for a commercial blockade when they were negotiating with the rebels. Then, the United States were still more interested on the Mississippi. In the peace 1782 negotiations, the Confederation demanded to Great Britain the free trade and free navigation through the river. Great Britain accepted such concessions on a zone and a river that they didn't control, which set the basis for a confrontation between Spain and the United States. The British trick worked and after the war, the Continental Congress insisted on negotiating with Spain a general agreement on borders and trade through the Mississippi based on the treaty of peace between British and North-Americans (1783). The Congress demanded the total free trade, the recognition of the border in the middle of the Mississippi and in the parallel 31. The governor E. Miró offered a limited free trade according to the 1767 Order in Council, the same way they had been doing until the British commercial blockade, and he took advantage of the situation to ask the Congress for the repression and persecution of the Anglo-American smugglers. With such different positions, the first negotiations between Spain and the American Republic to establish and arrange the territory and to confirm their good relationship failed. For Floridablanca, this negotiating failure was part of his project of territorial annexation, given the situation of dependence and weakness of the United States. The Confederation imported from Spain much more than they exported to the Spanish colonies. The business for Spain was really good. Spain could become the main provider of the new republic. Floridabalanca had good reasons to maintain that line on the Spanish government [18] :
1785 1800
The Confederation exports to the Spanish colonies 390.000 8.440.000 Dollars
The Confederation imports from the Spanish colonies 1.740.000 12.800.000 Dollars
During the war, the divisions in blocks within the Confederation were silenced, but after the war, the divisions came back to the point of putting at risk the United States. There were 4 blocks: the Northeast territories (New England) with N. Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island; the central territories with New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware; the South territories with Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina; and the middle ground territories with Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. The Northeast and Central territories had their demographic and economic strength in the urban zones, whereas the political strength was in the common people (middle class traders, artisans, and farmers). They also had powerful landowners, but they also shared the values of property, work, trade and continuos growth and social promotion. They followed the ideas of the 1688 English Revolution and the Lock doctrines. Their points of references were Europe and the Atlantic trade. Their representatives in the Congress were known as the commercial cosmopolitans. Their model was a union of federated states ruled by a strong central government that would coordinate an expansive commercial action, without borders or restrictions, and that would be the only interlocutor with Europe. Also, this area was a great cereal zone, it was known as "the American Barn". Besides, these states even being the smallest concentrated the majority of the population, 1.0302.000 inhabitants, and they contributed the most to the Confederation box. New England had 670.000 inhabitants (New Hampshire 80.000, Massachusetts 339.000, Connecticut 193.000 and Rhode Island 58.000); the central states had 632.000 inhabitants (New York 195.000, New Jersey 130.000, Pennsylvania 270.000, and Delawere 37.000) [19] . The representatives of these states dominated the Continental Congress and imposed a representation in the chamber according to the number of inhabitants and the volume of the contributions to the Confederation box. Consequently, after the war these states were the most democratic of all, and the rich and illustrated elite was giving political power to the common people. Between 1776 and 1787 the common people in the Congress coming from these states doubled its number: the small and middle farmers went from 23% to 55%, and the deputies with middle income (between 500 and 2.000 pounds) went from 17% to 62% [20] . The southern states were 5 big territories devoted to single crop farming (tobacco, rice, cotton, coffee,...) with a view to the European market. Their commercial model was the European mercantilism. What predominated were the large patrician landowners combined with the small landowners in debt that produced for the local market, known as agrarian locals. They controlled the local politics and the local institutions, while the large landowners controlled most of the seats for the south in the Congress. With a strong central government, the small landowners would loose the capacity of self-government and the local political and economic control to give it to the large landowners. That would mean the breakdown of the social status quo and the clash within the southern states. Neither of them wanted a central government that would restrict the freedom and the independence of the states. In spite of all that, the owners of large estates lost seats in the Congress to the small and middle owners. The proportion, though, was smaller than in the northeastern and central states: between 1776 and 1787 the middle and small farmers deputies went from 12 to 26% and the deputies with middle income went from 12 to 30% [21] . The territories of the Middle West or middle ground were, in a way, dependent o integrated to the southern territories. They aspired to achieve independence and to become states. They believed that they were not Europeans, they were different and they had nothing to do with Europe. They were Americans. Their way to get development and expansion wasn't in Europe, but it should be continental and looking at west. They should relate to the rest of America (especially Louisiana and Mexico). The Mississippi and its tributaries (Missouri, Illinois, Ohio...) should be their socio-economical and political axes that should give structure to the Confederation. This situation of blocks brought confrontation within the founder group of the United States, between federalists and anti-federalists. A famous confrontation was the one between Franklin (from Boston, Massachusetts, son of a candle manufacturer) and Jefferson (from Shadwell, Virginia, son of a landowner). The Articles of Confederation of the 2nd of July 1776 meant a victory of the southern states, because they declared that the colonies were free and independent states (from Great Britain and themselves), and that the changes in the articles could only be made by unanimity. The Continental Congress only functions as a referee between the states, it could declare war and peace, organize the army, issue money and determine the contribution of each state to the confederation box. Once the war finished, the states only contributed to the box with the minimum amount enough to cover the expenses of the Continental Congress. Consequently, the States couldn't meet the payment of the loans to countries as France, Spain or Holland. For example, they owned 8 million dollars to France and 397.230 pesos to Spain only in official help (to that we should add the help in kind like weapons, provisions...) [22] . In this situation of bankrupt, the Continental Army was dissolved and the Congress confiscated properties to all the people who owed to the public or private administrations and were not paying. As a consequence, a large movement of owners (traders and farmers) appeared. Then, a lot of soldiers and officials from the dissolved army joint them. In 1785 the movement had even extended through the northeast territories. In September of the same year, for example, 500 farmers from Massachusetts commanded by the old official of the army D. Shays, confronted and defeated the Massachusetts militia. In 1787 Shays had 1.200 men in his militia [23] . The opposition to a central government also grew in the northeast territories, which reinforced the political positions of the southern territories. Even the people in favour of a federation with a central government were divided. On the one hand, the ones in favour of a government depending on the Congress and a president elected by the chamber. On the other hand, the ones in favour of a strong government independent from the Congress and a president with complete power on the executive and elected by the electors' direct suffrage. The Confederation was about to disappear, and the federalists tried few coups, for example the New Burgh one, between December 1782 and March 1783 [24] . At the same time, the federalists carried out intense campaigns making clear the political, social and economical disorder and the need of a strong political center. They warned about the danger of dissolving the Confederation, and they insisted that a commercial republic could never exist without a strong central government. Some of the most important ones were A. Hamilton, J. Madison, and J. Jay, who published articles in favour of creating a federation. In 1788, they gathered all these articles together (51) and published them as The federalism: a collection of essays written in favour of the new constitution. Finally, on the 13th of September the federal constitution was approved. It seemed that the southern states and the anti-federalists were left outside the new system. The Union was about to be broken [25] . To avoid the breakdown of the Union, the new Congress adopted some of the demands of the southern states and some of the conventions of the middle ground: extension to the west, priority to trade on the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and the rest of America. So Floridablanca was right on his critics about the situation of the United States, and his project for North America was being very successful in the Court in Madrid. But Conde de Aranda still had a chance to change the direction of the politics. The governor of Louisiana was E. Miró who, contrary to what Floridablanca expected, continued with the politics of his antecessor B. Gálvez. Aranda and Miró together brought the matters of North America in a different direction, opposed to Floridablanca. For that, Aranda and Miró used Diego de Gardoqui as a mediator between the Spanish Court, the government in Louisiana and the Continental Congress. With the Order in Council of the 26th of June 1784, Conde Aranda sent to E. Miró instructions to negotiate an arrangement with the United States about borders and navigation in the Mississippi. D. Gardoqui and Francisco Rendûn were sent to negotiate with the Confederation. The Spanish proposal was based on 3 points [26] : 1) Recognition by the United States of the exclusive right of Spain to navigate and trade through the Mississippi. In return, they would have privileges to navigate and trade in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic routes. 2) Arrangement of the borders in the Mississippi and La Florida in the parallel 32. 3) Establishment of a global agreement of cooperation and friendship between the two nations, based on the concession of commercial licenses and military alliance against the British colonies in the north. As well as theses 3 points, Conde Aranda entrusted to the governor the reinforcement of the defenses on the Mississippi and Florida Valleys, as well as the establishment of an alliance with the Indian nations to create barrier state east-west and north-south. As we can see, Aranda was in favour of a Confederation controlled by the northeast states. That's why he conceded privileges of navigation and trade in the Atlantic. This should make the Americans accept the matters about the Mississippi and the borders of La Florida. In fact, the North American delegation was formed by Adams, Franklin (both from Massachussets) plus J. Jay and A. Lee in Spain [27] . In spite of all that, Aranda's proposal didn't forget the southern and the middle ground territories, since he included the matter of the American commercial privileges in the Caribbean and in the Gulf of Mexico. Aranda also accepted the American demand of not confiscating in the Mississippi while the conversations lasted [28] . In September 1784, the North American delegation accepted Aranda¥s proposal, and that provoked a reaction on the anti-federalists who introduced Jefferson in the delegation. The consequence was the hardening of the North Americans stance. They reject all but the free navigation in the Mississippi. It was the second time that the Hispano-American negotiations came to a standstill. George Washington had to intervene in his own delegation to break the blockade. In a letter that was intercepted by Gardoqui, Washington exposed to his delegation that the matter of the free navigation through the Mississippi could wait: "(...) when that country populates and extends to the west (...) there will be no power able to stop him (...) [29] . Besides, there were other reasons to give way and not fail another global agreement: the problems and the weakness within the Confederation, the debts with Spain, and the threat of the British army. On the 29th August, the Congress accepted the Spanish proposals with 7 votes for and 5 against. The northeast and central states sacrificed the matter of the Mississippi (fir a period of 20 or 30 years) and the extension to the west in return of the facilities of navigation and trade in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. The territories of the middle ground lost their chance to be recognized as states in short. The agreements were confirmed in the treaty dated on the 1st of September 1786. There were 16 articles [30] that established as border the Missouri- Mississippi mountains, and the Apalachicola-flint-Santa Maria to the ocean; They recognized as Indian territories from La Florida to Kentucky, with Georgia and Las Carolinas to the east. There was a vast territory formed by Kentucky, Tennessee and territories of the Illinois, the Ohio and the Michigan rivers, that were not officially recognized by any of the parts, leaving the matter open to discussion. It's true though, that Virginia was organizing some of those territories and that, at the same time, they wished to become states. In spite of the agreement of 1786, Francisco Rendûn informed governor Miró and the Indies Council (managed by B. Gálvez) that the United States was still considering as the border the parallel 31 according to the Treaty of Paris and the free navigation through the Mississippi. On his letter dated on the 12th of October 1784 to the Indies Council, Rendûn warned that "(...) it is necessary for the inhabitants [of the Middle West] to have a canal to extract their products (...) that trade has to be done with the Spanish or with the British (...)". The United States was very far "(...) if they started trade with Spain (...) Spain would take advantage (...) of such good trade and of winning and establish forever friendship and good harmony (...) with such territories" [31] . Colonel Boulingny also sent reports to Spain about the subject. For instance the one of the 4th of August 1785: "(...) the Americans look at this country [Ohio] as the key and the true center of their domination (...)". And not believing that "(...) America would ever give up on their pretension [to control it], and still less, the navigation in the Mississippi River (...) [32] . At this point the idea of creating barrier states against the British power and against the Confederation came up.


The middle ground territories were developing very fast and the pressure upon the Spanish border was increasing too. The Indian Nations also were pushed to a side. The Cherokees were expelled to the northeast, between the Mississippi and Kentucky. The Creek's territory was about to be absorbed by Virginia and by the new states South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. They were being pushed to the borders into West Florida and the Mississippi Valley, which were already occupied by the Chikasas and Choctaw. These ones had to go to the west, to Louisiana. The governor in Louisiana saw the situation and proposed to create alliances both with the Indian Nations and the people in the middle ground, to make some barrier states and even to joint them together. The Indian territories had a warrior population of 12.000 Indians: 6.000 Creecks, 4000 Chocktaw, 2000 cherokees and 600 Chikasas [33] , so all together with the Spanish support they could confront the Unites States. Governor E. Miró and Baron Corondelet negotiated with the Indian tribes through Natchez, Gayoso de Lemos and the Spanish agent for Indian territories, Alejandro Mac Gillibray. The matter of an agreement with the Indians was very urgent, because the Yazoo Company (through which the United States acted) was entering more and more in those territories. The Yazoo Company was even entering the Spanish territories and tried to convince the Anglo-Saxons in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio to fight against Louisiana. Provocation from the Yazoo Company was constant, and was looking for a direct answer from Spain that could get the United States to declare war [34] . The danger was so clear, that the Indian Nations accepted to make an alliance. In June 1784 they reached the first agreement in the Mobile and Penzacola Indian Congresses. But the situation didn't change, the agreements were not effective and the traditional Indian arguments upon the territory continued. Only at the beginning of the 1790 decade, when the United States were occupying the territory and storming the border of Louisiana and Florida, the Indian decided to forget their traditional conflicts and to reach an alliance between them and Spain. But then it was too late. It was impossible to stop the demographic, political and military pressure of the United States. The collapse and the disappearance of the Spanish borders were inevitable [35] . The alliance Spain-Indian nations materialized in the Treaty of Nogales in 1793. The treaty established a confederation between the Creeck, Choctaw Cherokee and Chikasa nations in the central territories to Kentucky. Also it established a federal system of state, with a joint government. The basis of this confederation was a Congress compound by 12 representatives, one of each signatory nation, which would be elected every year. The Congress would be ruled by one of the 12 representatives, and it would rotate every year. The Congress would have the executive, the judiciary and the legislative. The decisions would be approved if they got a majority of votes in favour, and all the nations would have to obey them. If one nation or tribe didn't obey the decisions of the Congress, the other signatory nations should use all their means to make them accomplish the decisions. Any action against a tribe or nations has to be approved by the Congress and all the nations would have to participate in such actions. The unilateral actions of one tribe or nation against another were not allowed. If a nation had a problem with another, it should be submitted to the Congress, where the matter would be analyzed and a decision would be taken. The tribes were subdued to their leader of nation and they couldn't act freely. Spain had a representative of the Catholic Majesty with voice, but without the right of vote. Spain would be allowed to establish some forts in the Indian Confederation territory as defensive points against the United States. The Indians were allowed to get in and out the forts freely and there is where Spain would give them the weapons to defend their territory. The Congress was the only one that could declare war and peace, and in case of war Spain had to defend the Indian confederation [36] . The Continental Congress, as an answer to the Treaty of Nogales abandoned their politics on the west (no direct intervention on those territories, inhibition of the Mississippi matter...). Also, they promoted the warlike attitude towards Spain in Kentucky and Tennessee and they supported the actions of the Yazoo Company. The Congress also promoted the conflicts within the Indian tribes and nations.


4.1. organisation of the middle west territories.

The zone situated between the Mississippi, the Ohio and Illinois Valleys and the Apallachian- Alleghanys mountains was known as "dark and bloody" because of its luxuriant vegetation, its isolation, and the belligerence of the Indians. It was no ones land disputed between Spain and the United States, but the authority of any state arrived there (neither their laws, their civil servants, their armies nor their militias). The territory was organized in small self-sufficient communities, strongly militarized and with their own laws. In front of a danger, all the community mobilized and its leaders commanded the militia. Those communities were used to live with violence, war and its consequences. This made those societies extremely violent. During the Independence War, Monarchic Anglo-Saxons colonized the zone. When the war finished, 3% of the population of the United States had immigrated to those territories [37] . Also the trade companies (like Yazoo or Transilvania) established fortified emplacements that worked as bases for exploration, hunting, trade and defense. Soldiers of the Continental Army, traders, hunters, adventurers and Anglo-Saxons, Germans, Spanish, Irish and others wandered round there. But at the end of 1780, this population started to feel the demographic pressure from east. The new settlers had opposite character to the wandering character of the first settlers. In this new migratory flow, people arrived with their families and settled to go in for farming. In 1780 only in Kentucky there was a population of 10.000 inhabitants. In 1787, Brigadier J. Wilkinson, from the Continental Army but at the Spanish service, put the number at 40.000 inhabitants with a immigration per year of 10.000 people [38] . An anonymous report talked about 30.000 inhabitants in fast growth [39] . The 1790 census gave the number of 73.677 inhabitants in Kentucky and 35.000 in Tennessee. So between Kentucky and Tennessee, without counting the black population, there was about 100.000 people in 1790 [40] . Those territories had to create their own executive, judiciary and legislature bodies, while Virginia and North Carolina were sharing Kentucky, with capital in Boonesboroug and Tennessee with capital in Nashborouh (Nashville), respectively. The two processes (demographic and institutional) gave more identity to the territory and more capacity to defend their own interests in the face of Virginia, the two Carolinas, Georgia and the Congress of the United States. Besides, these processes increased the agrarian and artisan yields. Those products only could leave by land, going through long distances and loads of dangers. When the products arrived to the Atlantic markets, the prices were too high and they weren't competitive. So the conventions of these territories only had 3 possibilities: 1) The creation of independent states incorporated to the United States Confederation; 2) The creation of states completely independent in alliance with Great Britain that annexed Louisiana by force; 3) states confederated to the Hispanic Monarchy.

4.2. the first independist movements of the middle west.

On the 15th of May 1780, the counties of Kentucky and Tennessee asked for their incorporation to the Confederation as States to the Continental Congress [41] . These conventions clearly opted for the incorporation to the Confederation and expected an affirmative answer from the Congress. But the Congress kept postponing the matter. Between 1784 and 1792, the conventions of those territories made up to 12 requests with negative results [42] . On the 28th of May 1785, Kentucky and Tennessee declared themselves independent through a declaration drawn up by Brigadier James Wilkinson, and addressed a manifesto to the inhabitants of Kentucky [43] . On the 28th of January 1786, they received a delaying answer from Virginia [44] : the act wouldn't be legal unless they celebrated new conventions consisting of a quorum of two third parts for each convention, and with a delegation of representatives of the Annual General Meeting in each chamber. They sent again their request in September 1786 and January 1787. However, Virginia avoided the matter again citing few reasons, for example the lack of quorum, and obliging to new meeting calls [45] . At the same time, on the 29th of August 1786, the Continental Congress accepted the Spanish proposals about borders, navigation and trade, but shelving the matter of the Mississippi. With this situation, the conventions were getting closer to become States separated form the Confederation. The Spanish agent D. Gardoqui echoed the situation of Kentucky and Tennessee and wrote to Floridablanca. He put pressure on the Spanish government to act in favour of the secession from these territories and of the creation of an alliance based on the concession of the free navigation through the Mississippi, since it was the only commercial exit that they wouldn't reject. Spain could benefit from the trade deregulation and that would join both sides of the Mississippi. Gardoqui pointed out that "(...) it's time to treat seriously the separation of the new district of Kentucky (...)" [46] . On the 17th of September 1787, the conventions of Kentucky and Tennessee met again to ratify the independence and to put J. Wilkinson in charge of the secessionist movement. They proposed as well the election of a constituent assembly that would draw up a constitution [47] . J. Wilkinson was like the new "G. Washington" from the west. After that, Virginia and the Carolinas had two open fronts. On the one hand, to stop the secession, with the military help of the Continental Congress that was controlled by the northeast territories. On the other hand, to arrive to an agreement with the conventions of Kentucky and Tennessee. The south maneuvered very well. They encouraged the attack of Louisiana, as a way of calming down the independent airs in the middle ground. On the other hand, this was used to set out a new defiance of the Continental Congress, because it would have to declare war against Spain and open the west. The conventions of the middle ground joint the project of "assault" against the Louisiana, thinking that the Congress would offer them the independence in return of not fighting against Louisiana and undoing their alliance with the south. The newspapers and gazettes are a good evidence of the tensions that there were in the Confederation, for example the Richmond one, or the series of publications "News of the United States" (Philadelphia, 8th of May 1787) that called to revolts and to war against Spain [48] . The Congress of the United States decided to act. First of all, it acted in favour of Virginia, denying the pretensions of the conventions of the middle ground. The Congress was not going to dissolve the Confederation because of the "west matters". Secondly, it rejected any type of attack against Louisiana. The Congress was not going to declare war against Spain just one year after they signed the treaty of friendship and cooperation in 1786. This decision disappointed the middle ground territories, and they thought about a new strategy as regards the Confederation of the United States. Since mid 1787, the options of creating an Independent State in alliance with Great Britain or France or even the one of creating states confederated to the Hispanic Monarchy got stronger.

4.3. the project of british "assault" against louisiana.

The first agreements between Kentucky and Tennessee with Great Britain go back to 1783, when a joint commission and Count Shelburne dealt with the matter of the aid that those territories would receive from Great Britain. The aid would be sent through Canada, for their independence and for their revolt against the United States, as well as to attack Louisiana. The territories around the Mississippi would remain under British control that would guarantee their independence and free navigation and trade. A second commission from the Middle West met with Lord Buckingham in 1786 to elaborate a project that was concretized on the 22nd of August 1787. In this frame, the agreement between Great Britain and the United States (24th of September 1782) concerning the matter of the Mississippi and FLorida starts making sense [49] . According to the agreement of the 22nd of August 1787, the British government committed itself to sent 100.000 pounds to the Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee conventions, to create a militia of 10.000 men commanded by the generals Clark, Tate and Green. Businessmen form the Middle West, as for example Thomas Powell, would contribute with the remaining necessary amounts. Every man would get 15 pesos a month plus land in property. This army would attack Louisiana on the north and the south, and at the same time Britain would come from the high courses of the Mississippi-Missouri to join the American militias. They also would stir the revolts up of the French and English people in Louisiana. In the meantime, the English fleet and the American boats commanded by the Spanish (Majorcan) Farragut would divide in two: one part would lay siege to New Orleans, and a group would break away to the Mississippi; and the other part would go to Mexico and South America, promoting revolts in the Creole communities [50] . This British complot failed, some of the conspirators were arrested and others escaped to the British or Spanish colonies to be at those powers service.

4.4 the spanish answer in the middle west.

In 1787, the first two options that the middle ground territories had failed. It was necessary to go for the third one: the creation of states confederated to the Hispanic Monarchy. On the 20th of December 1786, Brigadier J. Wilkinson sent a letter to Francisco Crozat, governor of the establishment in Illinois, requesting an interview with D. Gardoqui. Since that moment, Wilkinson became an agent of Spain. On the 15th of May 1787, Wilkinson informed the government in Louisiana about the plans of the middle ground territories and Great Britain to assault Louisiana, about the repression of the independent movements by Virginia and about his contacts with the Congress of the United States [51] . J. Wilkinson gave one more step and, between June and September 1787, he had a personal interview with Governor E. Miró. Wilkinson hand him over a declaration where he stated to be determined to "(...) change my loyalty to the United States for Your Catholic Majesty (...)", due to "the circumstances and the politics of the United States (...)" [52] . After fighting against Great Britain for the Independence, now the British wanted to annex American territories, whereas the emancipation war didn't mean the independence of the middle territories, but the substitution of one subjection for another. The result of the interview between J. Wilkinson and E. Miró was the political and military decision from both parts, to transform the political map in North America. For that, Wilkinson elaborated a report where he exposed the reasons that forced him to go in favour of Spain [53] : 1. Spain had the effective control of the Mississippi, whereas the Confederation had renounced to defend the Middle West rights on the navigation through the Mississippi because the most populated and powerful states were against it. When the Congress recognized the exclusive right of Spain on the river in 1786, it was the consequence of the internal estate of the Confederation, where the interests of the Atlantic states predominated. The laws were made for them. However, the west territories had to pay important tributes to the Confederation box. 2. The Independence War didn't change anything: the British menace continued in the North, the Indians were doing looter incursions, and at the same time, the Unites States were "divided in politics, in interests, disconcerted with their advises, full of debts, and without credit" Given this situation, these territories had requested their independence as States within the Union, to be able to defend themselves, have their own laws and self-government, but Virginia and the Congress didn't want to recognize their rights. 3. For all that, the Middle West conventions considered that "their loyalty links were dissolved and they were free to do the most convenient for themselves". J. Wilkinson also set out the following project: the independence of those territories and an alliance with Spain or even a Confederation, where the territories would have a large autonomy and capacity of government. The people would be admitted as "vassals with certain privileges in religious and political matters". They would also have freedom of language and trade, and the Mississippi would be open for them. They would be able to settle on the valley of the river and even in Louisiana, and they would have to swear allegiance to the Catholic King. This would solve the problem of the lack of population, its main weakness. Spain should help military the revolts and to extend the agreements with the Indian nations to these territories, stopping the Indian aggressions. If Spain accepted this proposal, they could "drive the United States mad and destroy the British insidious plans". Finally Wilkinson stated that " the notable people of the new establishments consider (...) a friendly composition with Spain, or hostilities with British aid (...) these establishments will do a first proposal to Spain, and if the Spanish refuse it, they would embrace the British politics" [54] . To make this project progress, Spain would have to advance its military posts, entering in the middle regions and sending agents to go through them to seduce the indecisive ones. In fact, this is what Great Britain and the United States were doing. In 1785, the Spanish agent Mac Gillibray informed E. Miró [55] about the ways of getting new supporters used by the British and North American agents. Great Britain got as supporters the Generals Clarck and Mongomery among others (in fact, they are the ones who pact with Great Britain the 1787 agreement to assault Louisiana) [56] . The Wilkinson Project wasn't the only proposal that Sapin received. The captain of the Frech Army, P. Wouves d¥Arges, like other French officials, worked with Spain at the end of the Independence War. Wouves proposed to organize, with support from Paris, all the territory at the east of the Alleghanys between Spain and France (in the frame of the Family Pacts). He thought that only with a combined action of the two powers they would be able to populate the territory, control it and hold it under the Spanish sovereignty. The project emphasized the colonizing aspect as an essential part. At the beginning of 1787, Wouves sent his answer to Conde Aranda. He agreed with it [57] , but his expectations clashed again with the negative position of Floridablanca, suspicious of the French proposal. Other similar projects that the Spanish government received were: the one of Colonel Morgan, from the Continental Army (September 1788); the one of the congressman John Brown, the solicitor Harry Inns and Major Isaac Dunn (January of 1789); the one of the General Baron Steuben;etc. The plan of James White, representative of North Carolina in the Congress, was very important. On the 28th of September 1787, he proposed to G. Gardoqui the separation of the counties of Cumberland and Franklin and put them under the Spanish sovereignty [58] . J. White pointed out that if Spain offered the free navigation and trade "Their Catholic Majesty would have their will forever they would be linked to Their Catholic Majesty as an independent state (...) and would work as a barrier (...). He added: "(...) I am sure that Your Majesty will triumph and than the United States will transfer to Spain more than they ever believed (...)", if you accept this requests. However, White finished warning that "(...) no-one can doubt that those establishment will be very important to Spain, but they will create a lot of enemies as well. I would like that Your Majesty knew the seriousness of this truth (...)". All those proposals were focused on D. Gardoqui, who sent them to governor Miró with his advice. Gardoqui and Miró agreed on that such proposals were just small parts of a global plan that Wilkinson had. They all finished with menaces in the case that Spain didn't want to accept the free navigation [59] . E. Miró sent to the Court information about the Wilkinson plan on the 25th of September 1787 [60] asking the government a favorable answer. Miró estimated that the United States had discharged the Army and had important internal problems (both political and economical) with a risk of disintegration. The leaders of the West wanted to become independent states joint to Spain if they were allowed the free navigation and trade. That was an opportunity that Spain couldn't miss. While they were waiting for the answer from Madrid, J. Wilkinson was playing with two side