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Title page for ETD etd-07162014-131340

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kolb, Frances Bailey
URN etd-07162014-131340
Title Contesting Borderlands: Policy and Practice in Spanish Louisiana, 1765-1800
Degree PhD
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Daniel H. Usner Committee Member
  • Empire
  • Migration
  • Slavery
  • Old Southwest
  • Trans-Appalachian West
  • Age of Revolutions
  • American Revolution
  • Southeastern Indians
  • Borderlands
  • Spanish Louisiana
Date of Defense 2014-04-01
Availability restricted
This dissertation explores the contest for the Lower Mississippi Valley from 1765 to 1800. During this era, Spain held Louisiana. Conflict over the Lower Mississippi Valley has been characterized as a competition among empires for territory. Close scrutiny, however, reveals a far more complicated and contingent story about a region significantly contested by multiple empires and occupied by a dynamic and diverse population. “Borderlanders,” that diversity of indigenous, colonial, and immigrant groups actually occupying the contested space in and around Spanish Louisiana, in fact, played an instrumental role in the competition between empires for territory, alliance, and commerce in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Once we examine the Lower Mississippi River Valley as a space of competition between border designers and borderlanders, it becomes clear that Spain did attempt to incorporate Louisiana into its empire, specifically as a border colony. When the fluidity that had long characterized life in the Lower Mississippi Valley became threatened by new imperial policies, Indians, settlers, and slaves responded with a mix of adaptive and resistant practices. Particularly they employed networks of trade, alliance, and kinship that facilitated the crossing of imperial borders or resistance to the dictates of imperial policies.
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